No Bread? Have a Banana.

Given where we live, online grocery shopping makes a lot of sense.

The nearest decent supermarket is a fair old drive away. At least two hours out of the day then to do even a simple shop. And there’s the cost of the petrol on top of that. So if you can find a company that will deliver all this way out to the sticks for no cost at all it’s a no brainer. Isn’t it?

I’ve been ordering groceries online for a good many years, long before we moved down here. It started out with the well known store that proudly boasts the Clubcard. Love them or hate them has there been a supermarket, then or since, which manages data quite as well as Tesco? Everything I’d ever bought, either online or in a shop, was logged on my Clubcard and automatically appeared on a ‘Favourites’ list. It made shopping so easy. Just scroll down the list and tick off the items I needed each week.

But then strange things started to appear on my ‘Favourites’. Most of them made of chocolate. We were both on a diet, so when would I have ordered any of those? It took me a while to figure it out. But figure it out I did. Clubcard worked in petrol (gas) stations too. Those same petrol stations where Mike would stop to fill up on his way home from work. Those same petrol stations that have a sweetie bar next to the checkout. Peccadilloes laid bare.

Down here it’s a different retailer and a bit more forward planning is required. I compete for slots not only with the locals but the holiday cottage crowd too. From bitter experience I’ve learned to play safe and pre-book some deliveries weeks, if not months, in advance. The trick is then to remember when the slots are coming up. Yet again this morning I’ve only made it by a whisker. A last minute scramble to update the ‘holding’ list and hit the order button by the mid morning deadline, avoiding the need for yet another grovelling call to the store.

The regular delivery drivers respect the challenges imposed by our terrain. So it’s easy to tell when a new one turns up. The rookie will bring the van all the way down the hill, necessitating a 27-point turn and then a full throttle ascent with foot to the floor up the 1 in 3 slope and around the right angled bend. It’s a feat that your average white Sprinter was never designed to pull off. Some drivers never come back.

But what I really love about online grocery shopping is the stimulus to be inventive. 1 kilogram of fennel is an awful lot of fennel and I just know I only ordered one bulb. We lived off the stuff for weeks. 26 shallots is a goodly number too, especially when the recipe only calls for one. A dozen red onions, a crisper full of leeks and a slab side of gorgonzola, I’ve had to deal with them all. But someone, please, help me to understand. Or at least reassure me that I am not going completely round the bend..

If the shop has run out of my favoured brand of bread, what possible reason could there be to substitute it with bananas?