Who knew groceries could be dramatic?

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.

And then?

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.

Wut.

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.

Contagiously,
June. Of the Missing Groceries Junes

45 Comments

  1. Man, I would have been so ANGRY if this happened to me, too! I am glad it was just delivered to the wrong place, but still. I also think that it is weird that it was delivered to the wrong place. Fishy.

    You have great neighbors and friends, June–I am looking at you Poet.

    Lovely post, lovely June!

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  2. Pamela, I’m truly sorry you’re having such a horrible, stressful, unfair time. It’s one of the things everyone is afraid of. For what it’s worth, I think you must be very strong to be dealing with your situation all this time and I hope you have some local resources to help you through this and bring you some comfort.

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  3. Your neighbors were so nice! And The Poet, she’s great. I’m really glad you finally got your order. That sounds like they are using postal workers from my area to deliver your order. I’ve decided the mail carriers in my area can’t read numbers. My one and only experience ordering groceries on line wasn’t the nightmare you had, but it wasn’t good enough for me to do it again. I’ll just wear my mask and gloves and shop during the senior citizens hours. Last time I shopped most of the customers were wearing masks as well as the store employees. I went with my husband to pick up some lumber in a small town about an hour south of us and was so excited they had a Post Office, I was able to get a roll of stamps and I was the only person in the building, except for the postal clerk. Yes, I use stamps, mostly to send cards.
    Tee

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  4. Sooo, I head to the store in my mask and get what I need and stay away from others. My new entertainment is counting the instacart people standing around in the parking lot smoking and gabbing with the other instacarters. Mask pulled down sucking on the camels. Sigh… no way to win.

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  5. This sounds terrible… I’m glad I just go to the WalMarts myself and buy my groceries early in the morning and don’t have to deal with this. I’m not THAT old so this isn’t really freaking me out.

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    1. I’m not either, but once I reminded my cousin Katie that I have no spleen, she and her nurse self freaked me the LIVING FUCK out.

      >

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      1. Oh, I missed the whole spleen removal… not sure what that organ does but I’m sure it’s important. I hope you have better luck on your next Insta Cart order.

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  6. I went to the grocery store this morning for the first time in four weeks and there weren’t very many people there. I got tired of sending my husband although he has done a great job. He has been going because it’s harder for him to sit still than it is for me and that is really saying something. Well, I filled the cart to the top! I haven’t done that in a decade, I’m sure. It was nice to be in the store myself, though. I felt like a grown-ass woman. I wore my mask and I was surprised how many of the older people weren’t wearing masks. Also, and I thought this was odd, there a was a man there who bought nothing but a huge grab of asparagus.

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    1. What’s with older people and the cavalier attitude? Ned told me his dad, a Boomer, part of the Boomer Remover at-risk crowd, just knocked on his door the other day (Edz would’ve barked) and then was appalled when Ned wasn’t all, Come on in!!

      By the way, his dad lives 60 miles away. He’d just been out jaunting around. During a pandemic.

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  7. I’ve been home so long (32 days), that my butt has grown into the chair.
    Such nice neighbors you have!

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    1. Girl. Or boy. Whichever you are, but mostly girls are here, so girl. I’ve been here since FEBRUARY 18!! I just want to see something ELSE. This must be how Lily feels.

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  8. Have you tried Shipt? I’ve never tried Instacart so I don’t know exactly how it compares, but I’ve had a great success with Shipt, whereas all my friends using instacart are having similar issues.

    I always get same day delivery, or next day if I submit my order at night (even though it’s slower than normal), and the shopper contacts me personally for any substitutions, as well as when they start and end shopping. It shows up in my text messages, but it’s through the app on their side, so they don’t actually have my number.

    Also, Shipt actually places a hold for the amount you submit on your card before they shop, but then it updates after they pay for your order and submit the receipt, so it will reflect the correct total on your receipt/bank statement (I guess they pay with their own card??).

    Anyway, I can tell you more, if you’re interested, and I have a link for a discount on the annual subscription.

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    1. I have not had a good experience with Shipt. They gave me a total and then added almost $100.00 for no discernible reason. They would/could not respond to me despite being on hold for over an hour. I could not cancel nor could I get a response from them. I have already called my credit union in case I have already been charged by Shipt. I know all these services are overwhelmed, but some regulation regarding response to customers seems necessary. It would be a great way to employ people who could work from home to straighten out these issues. They were totally unable to even give me a hint about delivery. No times/days were available. Glad you’ve had good experience with them. I really did not.

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      1. Also, if it shows no delivery time options, I just keep checking back. It’s only happened once, but in the morning there weren’t any, but after lunch there were several.

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  9. As I read your post, I thought “Oh please God don’t let this happen to my mother,” who LOVES Instacart. But then, I realized that she would react EXACTLY as you did and would not rest until she had the president of Instacart on the phone apologizing to her.

    Fortunately, their residential facility is under lock down and they cannot get deliveries of any kind. Thus sparing the family of the tale of how she kicked Instacart’s ass. She really gets riled up at times.

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  10. I don’t know where the Walmart(s?) is/are located over there, nor if there are other reasons you would not shop at a Walmart. But I’ve had to give up all my anti-Walmart liberal cred lately because they are keeping us in groceries with their pickup service.

    Here’s how Walmart works for anyone interested… It’s not easy to get a pickup time, but there’s a trick to it. There probably won’t be any pickup times available when you sign up. But go ahead and shop for some things and put them in your cart so you have them ready to go. Then you get up in the morning (crazy early hasn’t worked for me, I’m talking more like 9 or 10) and go online with Walmart to see what they’re showing for pickups and snag one.

    I’m usually having to grab a time that’s two or three days later. Then you do your order checkout and give them your credit card info and all that. That locks in your pickup time. Then you have until whatever time they tell you (I think it’s about 12 hours before your pickup time) to make changes or additions to your order. Just make sure to click the button each time telling them to add those items to your order. They will send you a new order confirmation each time.

    And that’s how I get the groceries ordered that I actually need. Otherwise I’d be frantically adding things to a shopping cart and the website would be saying “Oops, no more pickup times, so sorry!”

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  11. This story is crazy! We have been doing our own groceries and begging kids not to eat everything or drink 8 glasses of milk per kid a day. I still cannot find disinfecting windex. I am not washing every surface in our house hourly, because we are mostly staying home and washing hands after being out. I wonder why people are over-buying the disinfecting stuff. Unless they are healthcare workers, but that is not EVERYONE. Coach is a PT but I am not hosing him down before he comes in the door. He is also not in a hospital setting. At some point we are going to run out of stuff to clean with which is annoying.

    You have some rock star neighbors!

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  12. I’m glad that worked out for you minus the thawed food. Just that the person was honest is good to hear plus how kind your neighbors are. Thanks for that post.

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  13. It is next to impossible to shop these days. Everyone in the grocery store looks terrified. I saw a man with a red kerchief over his face…lol and later that day he fit the description of a robber! eek. Saturday I had to pick up a prescription from Walmart so I ventured out after 16 days in seclusion. I found 4 packs of TP there – at 11 AM. Good grief. It was only because they were at the very back of the high wire shelf. Sigh. But a really nice guy came over with his cute little boy and asked if I would like him to get me a pack? I probably looked like a deer in the headlights as I said yes – yes! So the little guy just walked over there and handed me a pack! So sweet! I wore a mask and carried my hand sanitizers… Since I live in the toolies, delivery is out and store pickup – well that is a crap shoot with one store available! Looking forward to whatever the new-normal will look like!

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  14. I’m glad you finally received at least some of your groceries, and what a kind neighbor to help you out. But frozen avocados?? I never.

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  15. Thank you for posting, Jooooon. Thanks for all that stay home and keep our healthcare workers safe. My niece is the Chief Nursing Officer at a huge nursing home and my sister-in-law (You met her and my brother July 9, 2012 in Michigan at the memorial for Steve’s dad – she’s Steve’s cousin) has sewn many, many masks to keep everyone healthy.

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  16. I’m too picky about my groceries to try grocery delivery in normal times. I won’t even send my husband out in the early senior times. I’m starting to see why my husband thinks that I may have control issues.

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    1. Me too, I just can’t see how they would be able to pick out the produce or not get me something that had some strange sticky substance or dent or cut on a box, etc. I’m sure we speak the same language. Also? I have a daughter with food allergies so the whole “substitution” idea can’t work. Because believe it or not, some brands of canned vegetables have a “may contain peanuts “ warning when a peanut is not remotely associated with what’s in the can.

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  17. Is anyone else just ready to start living life again? I mean, I gotta get off social media because all my #saferathome #makingmasksmakesmehappy #ibetternotcatchyoustandingfivefeetaway Facebook friends were all either REALLY QUIET about their Easter or they were posting photos of lovely family gatherings. While I’m over here crying because I still haven’t been able to hold my brand new grand baby and I miss the rest of my kids and grandkids SO MUCH. Ugh. I just feel like everyone is “you all need to follow the rules so I CAN DO WHATEVER I PLEASE WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT YOUR GERMS”.

    AM I WRONG??

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    1. I am just putting this out there.
      More people are killed by flu every year than this.
      98 % of people are recovering that get it.
      Yes, I have stayed home so far.
      The more I learn about it the more I am ready to get out as well and get America moving again. So everything doesn’t go down the tubes.

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      1. Thank you Beth. I am willing to stand at the wall with you. I get that this has been devastating in certain parts of the country and the world. Reading about New York City makes me weep. But I live in Nowhere, Illinois where my chances of getting one of those probe jobs by an alien being appears to be greater than my chances of encountering anyone who is infected. And right now I would welcome the abduction just for a change of pace. We had one “presumptive” case in our entire town which they later said “oops. Never mind.”

        Please understand – my husband is among those who could be in a bad way if he got this. But we have learned to deal with that since he got sick in 2007. We treat every flu season (I KNOW. IT’S NOT THE FLU. But the flu could kill him, too) like he’s being stalked by The Grim Reaper. I just don’t expect the whole world to stop spinning to keep him alive.

        Yesterday someone posted this thing on FB that sent me through the roof. It said something like “Don’t expect things to go back to normal. Normal wasn’t working. If we just go back to doing what we were doing, we haven’t learned our lesson”. WHAT THE EFF WERE WE DOING WRONG?? Am I supposed to assume that somehow I CAUSED this?

        And all the #saferathome stuff sends me around the bend. I work with high schoolers and I’m here to tell you LOTS of them are NOT safer at home. We have teachers who are beside themselves with worry because kids are telling them of horrible home situations due to parents losing jobs, staying home drinking and drugging all day, angry encounters with mom’s drunk boyfriend or what have you. We see all these happy posts about all the fun things parents are doing with their kids and all I can think about is the parents who are worried that they won’t be able to make the mortgage and whether they’ll take it out on their kid.

        And I’ve shared my struggles with my own 81 year old mother who WILL NOT stay home. She appreciates all y’all hanging out at home though so she can zip through the stores. So when they tell us “social distancing WORKED” you’ll hear me yelling BULLSHIT. And when I hear them suggesting we may need to do this again in the fall? No. Not happening

        Sorry for the rant. I really am a perfectly normal, sane person. Well, usually.

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        1. I have that same mom and live in Nowhere, Indiana. So you’re the one who lives in Illinois.
          I’ll meet you in the fall , out and about somewhere. dittos on all of it.

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  18. I think I’d rather just put on my mask and go do my own shopping and meal pick up my ownself than risk snafus with all of those delivery services. Heck, 9 out of 10 times, Amazon doesn’t even bother to knock on my door to let me know they delivered my package and oftentimes I don’t get the delivery text until the next day. Plus having to get in my car and drive somewhere is a highlight these days.

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  19. We have a woman in instacart limbo in my neighborhood group right now. She was asking if anyone got her $300 worth of groceries because it said they were delivered. No recourse from instacart. She paid via PayPal and PayPal won’t return her money for 30 days. And so on, etc. Interestingly a woman who delivers for instacart hopped in and said that the company’s gps is seriously messed up and often takes them to the wrong address. She herself opens google maps or whatever to find the right place. It all makes me reluctant to try that particular company, but appointments for curbside pickup through grocery stores is so backed up right now. My immune compromised parents have to wait two weeks sometimes to get their pickup, and then half the items aren’t there. It’s awful. But I wanted to say how kind your neighbors and friends are- stories like that make me happy. Good luck in your future grocery endeavors!

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    1. Yes! My credit union told me they couldn’t help me till I talked to Instacart. And I was all NO ONE CAN TALK TO INSTACART, you damp hams. Oh, I was livid last week.

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  20. At one of the grocery stores in our little town we can place an online order for groceries, choose a time to pick up, and then drive to the grocery store to pick up the groceries. We pop our trunk, the order filler drops the groceries in and we wave goodbye.

    Works great – except now we need to plan ahead as pick up times have pushed out a week. You know, with this virus that is going around.

    Laurie in NB, Canada

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  21. My oldest said he has ordered from Door Dash three times and they’ve never delivered any food. He laughed that he let them steal from him three times. He’s trying to learn to be optimistic, bless him. But a lot people are dishonest and that’s the truth.

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  22. I’m not laughing at your trials and tribulations, honest, but the fact that you had to clarify that the 3677th wasn’t you exaggerating, that just hit my funny bone! I’ve heard a lot about folks not getting their groceries, but more often it’s their delivery times getting cancelled half an hour before they were due to be delivered. It’s why I’m still putting on my mask and venturing forth to the store myself.

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  23. I love how the Poet knows your dietary needs! Do we need to tip you so you can order something to eat and more importantly, something for the furries?

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  24. Now I’m afraid to try to order groceries (never have) so may have to get up at dawn and shop during senior hours.wearing my mask.

    What nice neighbors and Poet making sure you don’t starve.

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