Unlike the rest of you—who are running willy-nilly around the country, no matter which one you’re in—I am on lockdown due to this one virus. As a result, I have been eating all my meals at home, and again I realize I’m the only person doing this.
Last week, I ordered $141 worth of groceries: mostly cheese, yogurt and frozen food. In fact, last time we spoke here, the shopper had been alerting me as to her progress and asking me about making substitutions. I was vv excited to get my extra-crispy taquitos.
And then once you and I were done talking, I got the text saying my shopper was done and on her way. I readied myself emotionally for groceries on my porch.
They never came.
“Maybe she had other deliveries,” I told myself, while the first hour ticked by.
“Hmmm. Maybe someone ELSE has to deliver them and she’s just the shopper.”
I had these and other optimistic thoughts, until, like, three hours went by, and all I could think of was my frozen avocados getting warm in her car, not to mention my extra-crispy taquitos.
First I tried to contact my shopper, but once your shopping case is closed, you can’t talk to that person anymore. I guess this cuts down on hitting on your shopper, which hadn’t occurred to me until later in the day when I literally wanted to hit her.
So then I tried Instacart themselves, my hosts of shopping for groceries from home. Keep in mind this was all during a normal workday, and I had a poopy ton to get finished, and really had no time to gab.
“Thanks for calling Instacart,” Instacart said. “Due to high volume, we aren’t taking calls right now.”
You’re…now, what now? You’re just not taking calls? At ALL?
So I opted for their chat feature, wherein I was given an auto reply saying I was 3677th in line, and that is not one of my exaggerations. 3677th in line. As I sat in chat (I was the sat in the chat), I did some research on Instacart. Turns out ER’BODY was having a problem getting their groceries, and getting in touch with anyone, and there was even a USA Today piece on shoppers “stealing” your groceries.
Stealing? My groceries? For WHAT? Was there a huge market for Fancy Feast and frozen avocado?
As the day ticked by I felt worse and worse. First of all, I was panicked. They’d taken $141 of my money and I had little more than that in checking. And also I was really low on food. I wasn’t shopping for fun. I was low on frozen stuff, and had zero canned cat food. Everyone was gonna be living on a prayer and crunchies from that day forward.
Also, I was pissed off. How dare anyone STEAL groceries at a time like this?
So, after my workday, I got busy. I called the police nonemergency number. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I wrote to my local TV station, telling them what had happened. I got full Grammy on everyone’s ass. I was in my backyard, typing furiously into my laptop, when my neighbor appeared in the yard next door. “Everything okay with you?” he asked. He doesn’t live next door, he lives across the street. He cuts the next-door neighbor’s lawn, though.
Oh, he picked a bad day to ask that question. I got what my high school best friend calls my hawk look, pursing my brow (can you purse your brow?) and waving my hands about, telling him how I’d been wronged. I was angry anew each time I looked at the Instacart chat feature, where I’d sat motionless, for hours and hours.
Don’t even ask how I responded when they finally just clicked “end chat” on me.
A few hours later, I had a knock at the door, which was weird because who knocks on doors anymore? That neighbor? The one mowing the lawn? Brought me frozen chicken, frozen pork chops, frozen ground beef, cans of vegetables and even tubs of dried mac and cheese. How nice is that?
Then a bit later my coworker and pal The Poet came by with frozen pizza, cookies, chips and seltzer drinks.
And finally, my neighbor on the next block who’s redoing her millhouse? Brought me 400 pounds of sweet potatoes.
I got on Reddit, because you know how Reddit has a subgroup for ANYTHING EVER, including what a terrible person I am? There was one for people who work as Instacart shoppers, and it turns out they’re having all kinds of trouble with the site crashing. They usually are NOT “stealing” your groceries, they’re just unable to finish the transaction and come to your house.
The next day, after MANY MORE HOURS, I finally reached Instacart. They did, allegedly, give me my money back, though it will take 5 to 7 business days, which is rich because they can take it OUT tout suite.
That second day there was another knock on my door.
“WHAT WIF NOKS AT DOR?” barked Edsel, who had to dust off his old knock-at-door bark. “I found your groceries,” said my neighbor who’d brought me the pork chops.
Turns out? My shopper had taken my avocados and Fancy Feast to my street number, but not my street. And she’d delivered them to my neighbor, R, with whom I’m friends. However, I’d not told R my tale of woe, and she’d been gone at work all day, anyway. She got home to bags of mysterious melted groceries.
The only salvageable things were the cat food, my toilet cleaner and some sponges. And I had a gathering of neighbors on my porch and front lawn, as we all told the story from six feet apart.
Truthfully, I’m glad my shopper only messed up the address and didn’t do anything dishonest. Makes me feel less terrible about people now.
Anyway, I still need to get groceries, eventually, and shudder to think of how. And that is my latest drama from over here in this tiny part of the world where there is a virus going around.
June. Of the Missing Groceries Junes