Thursday, October 12, 2006

Let Your Fingers do the Grocery Shopping

Yes, online shopping has definitely become part of the mainstream - people spend billions of dollars without batting an eyelash on books, music, travel, clothing, toys, and other stuff, but how about this one? Groceries!! Pointing and clicking for fresh produce, meat, seafood, and dairy products sound unthinkable?! Not to me!

Lest I be accused of extreme sloth, let me point out that lugging grocery bags from the parking garage to the 33rd floor ain't my idea of a picnic. And there has been many a time when I wanted to clear out entire sections of Whole Foods, but alas, the prospect of carrying my purchases while walking to the PATH station and then up and down the stairs has been too daunting, thus I have to practice self-control and keep it to twelve or so items at a time. This in turn leads to more time and effort spent schlepping to Whole Foods or ShopRite, which gets annoying really fast especially when the lines at the checkout counters resemble that of popular rides at Six Flags.

There MUST be a better way. Thankfully enough, someone actually did something about it - in the from of Fresh Direct. This is the new way to shop for food - just point and click, and voila, it's delivered right to your door the next day! Isn't this the greatest thing since sliced bread? :-) The website itself is very conducive to shopping, with vivid pictures that are guaranteed to make you drool and detailed descriptions of the wide array of specialty foodstuffs available. Moreover, I love the wide selection of organic foods (trying to eat healthier) and some hard-to-find favorites, like fruit yogurt drinks in different flavors and super yummy coffee creamline milk (no bovine growth hormones!) from Ronnybrook Farm, and bottled peach oolong (Fair Trade certified, to boot) and mint tea (ah, nostalgic for the good ol' days in Morocco) offered by Honest Tea.

Not only that, Fresh Direct has enlisted Chef Terrance Brennan of the renowned Manhattan restaurants Picholine and Artisan to come up with ready-to-eat meals, some of which look quite mouth-watering. Surely my next order will include some of them, probably the shrimp romesco with paella rice and chorizo. Hmm...or make that the equally tempting but quite pricey boneless rack of lamb with goat cheese orzo and ratatouille...oh, life is full of tough decisions. Sorry, was that your stomach growling in hunger? ;-P

Ok, back to my initial Fresh Direct experience. The delivery person arrived at 8:15pm, way earlier than the designated delivery time frame of 10:30pm to midnight and wheeled in three huge boxes which I unpacked excitedly. In a few minutes, I became delirious at the sight of all the food, helped along by the sweet aroma of the organic Fair Trade Nicaraguan Segovia coffee (double certification, hooray) which I can't wait to try tomorrow morning. Been quite a while since I've been this excited to wake up on a workday. The only minor quibble I have are the cracked eggs (only one of the half-dozen survived intact), but serves me right for including them in the order at the last minute. Now, excuse me while I get started on these organic zero-trans fat guacamole chips and garlic cilantro salsa.

UPDATE: After completing the Fresh Direct first-order feedback survey, they gave me a $25 off coupon code on my next order, if placed within the next 2 weeks. FREE FOOD GALORE!!!