Fighting the Hunting/Gathering Instinct with a Peapod Click

by Barrett

Is Peapod’s $10 delivery fee worth the convenience of preventing Empty Cupboard Syndrome? It is, if you can get over your DNA-induced guilt trip to go out there and hunt down the five food groups yourself!

Is Peapod’s $10 delivery fee worth the convenience of preventing Empty Cupboard Syndrome? It is, if you can get over your DNA-induced guilt trip to go out there and hunt down the five food groups yourself!

Let’s face it.
We’re hardwired to be hunters and gatherers.
Without it, our species wouldn’t have survived in the early years.

And even today, you’ve got to put something on the dinner table most nights.
Otherwise, you’ll probably have a hard time continuing the family lineage.

Combine that with our commercialized culture of acquiring ‘stuff,’ and you’ve created a pretty powerful universal impulse in our society to go out there and get it!

Slowly but surely, technology has been chipping away at the need to physically do all that.
Once upon a time, a few simple phone calls to The Home Shopping Network could fill up your house.
Now the purchasing power of the click is well known.
Who really needs to leave the comfort of home anymore to buy what you need?

All this said, it’s still difficult to entirely rewire your shopping habits in the space of a few short years.

The Serengeti in Aisle 6
One holdout for me has been visiting the grocery store.
At a primordial level, it just feels right to venture out to get your food yourself.
Plus, there is some definite skill required to get exactly what you need in the perishables department.

Case in point: Here’s a clip from the hidden microphone on me last week in the supermarket:

“No, not that piece of sad-looking salmon!
The other piece next to it that looks fresher.
To the left…
No, down…
Yes, that one!”

Plus, I like my oranges to sport a skin that’s not too thin and not too thick.
I’m looking for that perfect ‘peel.’
Because as much as I love my oranges, trying to eat the wrong one can result in a juicy mess with more of the fruit on the floor than in your mouth.

So sure, there are some foods you need to go out there and get yourself. But I think the reality is most of what you need to keep your kitchen going can be acquired with a click.

I’ve already crossed that line with non-food supplies like paper towels and
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soap (98% naturally derived).

But my wife and I have really been having a hard time clicking for our food.

Peapod Redux
I got an email the other day from Peapod, Stop & Shop’s online shopping interface
inviting us back.
I had given the website a try when our son was first born, because…well…
you know, things get a little crazy right after the stork arrives.
(To date, Peapod has delivered 23 million orders across 24 U.S. markets.
So we’re clearly not alone.)

And honestly, Peapod was just fine.
Our food was delivered to our front door, and the Lester family thrived.
The introductory offer gave us free shipping. So there was really no down side.

A month later though, my latent Neanderthal genes started guilt tripping me.
(grunt…”Must go into wilderness and find food”…grunt)
Plus, I started thinking about the lazy ‘wastefulness’ of future home delivery charges.

So I let the whole thing lapse.

Fast forward to the present…almost four years into parenthood.
And as all you parents know, the ‘schedule’ doesn’t get any easier.
(In fact, I hear it gets worse!)

I ran into the kitchen and took a peek in the cupboard.
It looked like we could hunker down and survive a short apocalypse or zombie attack. (no brains here)
But there were definitely a few ‘ECS’ gaps on the shelves.
(Empty Cupboard Syndrome)

It was time to ask myself the question again.
Is the extra $7 or $10 Peapod delivery charge (depending on how much you spend) plus a $1 fuel surcharge really that onerous a fee to simplify the supermarket experience?

And is there really so much food that can’t be remotely selected without a major sacrifice in quality?

It was time to find out…

Hello, Again
To no surprise, the whole experience was almost easier than buying
my favorite brown rice snaps on Amazon:

  • Boneless chicken breasts… check
  • Green bananas… well at least they won’t be overripe
  • Bread…No worries as long as they’re not buried on the bottom of the packaging
  • Red grapes….on sale… sweet!
  • Onions… how bad could they be?
  • Yukon potatoes….same risk as the onions
  • Yogurt…always good to have a few more on hand
  • Eggs…. Well at least the brand isn’t ‘Humpty Dumpty’
  • Ice Cream…Hey, shouldn’t there be a reward for all this (non) effort?

Faster Than Being in the Express Line
I found myself quickly at the end of my virtual grocery-shopping excursion, and I looked up…
The sun had not yet woken up.
I felt so industrious. I hurried onto the page to schedule my delivery.

But I had done all this on Saturday morning.
I quickly realized I couldn’t schedule a delivery until Monday.
(I was hoping for next day delivery.)

So being somewhat impatient, (and wanting to reach the finish line so I could complete this post) I decided on a slightly different route.

I scheduled the free ‘pick up’ option for Sunday.
(Free is always good, right?)

It wasn’t really that big a deal.
I had some errands to run near the market in the morning anyway.
(Not to mention my DNA was pleased I still had to venture out into the ‘wilderness.’)


And after the deal had been completed, a message popped up informing me that Peapod could add to my order all the way up to 4:01pm that afternoon.
(Now, isn’t that convenient?!)

The Hunt Succeeds
The next morning, I eagerly jumped in the car and headed over to Stop & Shop.
(When was the last time you heard yourself thinking that?!)

I drove up to the Peapod pick-up ‘zone’ and found a Stop & Shop greeter.
She said, “Are you the 8-9am pick up?”
It was 9:30.

“I am.”

I was just going to give you a call to make sure you didn’t forget.
(Isn’t that nice?)

So we loaded up my car, and I drove off.

When I got home, everything looked great.
The chicken was fresh.
The bread was in it’s original shape, and yes the eggs were still intact.

Based on my happy experience, I’ve updated my internal preferences database:
The next time when I have to spend an extra sawbuck for Peapod home delivery, the convenience will indeed be worth it…

Today… Peapod. Tomorrow…Barrett-bot!
Now, I know this all isn’t rocket science.
People have been to the moon and back on this one many times.
I bet many of you keep the Peapod link high up in your URL bookmark’s folder, right?

Last year, a friend of mine demonstrated how to use Peapod as a real time saver on the first day of a beach vacation.
(Who wants to stop and shop when you could be soaking up some rays?)

Maybe sometimes it just takes a bit more time to get comfortable with technology taking over yet another life task we grew up thinking we were supposed to handle.

Yes, technically, you’re still doing the shopping with Peapod.
You’re just not bringing home the bacon anymore.

Wait a minute…
If technology could actually pull that trick off for me,
I bet I’d really be one happy camper!