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Tag: coronavirus

Seven Tips for Online Food Shopping during COVID-19

The coronavirus has affected how we need to shop. I’ve got a few suggestions on how to get what you want delivered to your doorstep as quickly as possible.

I think it’s clear that if you’re able to stay at home during this COVID-19 pandemic, then you absolutely should. And for me, that includes an ongoing attempt NOT to go to the supermarket to buy food and supplies. I know you could debate whether my choice is too extreme, but it certainly isn’t hurting the larger problem. In fact, in my small way, I’m happy that I’m doing my part to help flatten the curve.

My wife and I successfully stocked up on our essential needs three weeks back before the coronavirus in the U.S. changed life as we knew it. And I felt great that we had enough food and toilet paper to keep us comfortable for over a month.

You may recall the original social distancing recommendation was for a two-week window. In hindsight, of course that was way too short.

Navigating the New Uncertainty of Online Shopping
Over the past days, I’ve come to the realization that since our new reality is going to last some number of months, the only way to access ongoing essential supplies without visiting brick-and-mortar stores is to buy your food online.

But I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that finding an open home delivery slot is really difficult and a lot of perishable inventory is sold out. I’ve also found this to be true for important non-perishable items that can simply be shipped out.

The other variable when shopping online is whether the items you’ve successfully ordered are still going to be available when it’s time to deliver them.

There are many unknowns, and the situation is likely to remain extremely fluid.

Extend your Supply Chain
So, it’s clear me after considering all of this, that you’ve really got to plan ahead! And that means rethinking how you’ll go about buying your food.

I’ve quickly come to the realization that this challenge is similar to how a company might source and manage its own supply chain. In fact, I think that’s exactly what it all boils down to… how to extend and maintain your own personal supply chain.

So, if you’re using online ordering as your primary method to bring in your home supplies, here are seven tips to help improve your haul.

Set Up Several Home Delivery Choices for your Perishable Foods
I’ve put in place:

  • Peapod
  • FreshDirect
  • Instacart (a couple of markets I use rely on this service)
  • Whole Foods Market (Amazon)

Maintain Multiple Website Vendors to Ship Non-Perishable Items
I’ve got:

  • Amazon
  • Jet
  • Costco
  • Boxed

Snag Your Delivery Timeslot!
Finding an open delivery slot is the most important piece of the equation. You can usually adjust your order up until the day before your delivery. But if you can’t claim a specific day, your food will just sit in your cart.

Expect Inventory to Vanish at the Last Minute
So, to avoid disappointment, you should order the same items across your different supply chains. The worst that can happen is you’ll receive more than you need. If it’s perishable and you can freeze your extra inventory, great. If not, then you’ll just need to figure it out. It’s a better problem to handle than not having enough food, right?

Plan Out 2-4 Weeks
I’ve found that delivery windows are usually booked solid and only show availability 1-2 weeks out. So, to keep your supplies stocked, you’ve got to think further into the future than that. For me, it’s an entirely new way to ‘hunt and gather.’
(Yes, what’s old is new again.)

Check Available Delivery Slots Several Times a Day
You’ve got to catch new slots shortly after they become available and before they’re scooped up. Keep trying!

Remain Flexible and Tenacious
Today, I happen to be a bit annoyed with Fresh Direct, because I’ve not been able to find a delivery slot for two days. And I’m also pleasantly surprised that I was able to catch a same-day delivery opportunity from Whole Foods Market via Amazon. That said, I couldn’t find most of the produce I wanted. Still, I received part of what we needed in three hours, not two weeks.

It’s all relative. We’ve simply got to apply a different mindset to shopping now. Forget about ‘one-stop-shopping’ convenience. That’s so 2019.

When I was a kid, my mom would proudly talk about visiting several supermarkets in our New York City neighborhood until she was able to find everything she was looking for… exactly the way she liked it. I’m not sure I’m going to be getting anything exactly the way I like it, but applying my mother’s mindset of ‘tenacious search’ should serve me and my family well in the months to come.

Specialty Food Companies
Another supply-chain option is identifying online businesses that specialize in sourcing and selling specific foods direct to you.
(Think seafood or fresh produce.)

I’m still exploring this. More thoughts soon…

So, I know there’s a ‘slight’ ethical snag to this whole system. It’s all based on someone else going shopping for me or working onsite at a company that’s shipping me my supplies. And that means they’re not at home protecting themselves and their families like I’m trying to do. By taking less risk, I’m necessarily transferring some of that to someone else.

It opens up huge economic and social questions. I’m doing my part to flatten the curve, but I know my actions will still create ripples into a much larger pond with endless repercussions I will never know about.

What’s for Dinner?
These are scary times, and there are few easy answers. Considering everything we’re dealing with, if we can take advantage of technology to help us put food on the table while keeping us and our loved ones away from the coronavirus, I think that’s essentially a good practice.

You’ve just got to put together a dependable supply chain online with multiple sources and keep track of it all!

And then stay tenacious… like my mom.

Now, it’s time to get to work.

One Way to Handle the Isolation

It’s time to take a breath and focus on staying centered while we travel through these uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic. A good step is simply to look up. Here’s why…

This existence is hard to imagine. You’re supposed to stay at home. Everything is shut down. Don’t touch anything. If you’re outside, don’t get near anyone. And never touch your face. This all sounds like a premise for a sci-fi flick.

It’s barely more than a week since COVID-19 has radically changed life in the greater New York City area. Even a trip to the grocery store feels like you’re taking a risk.

And I know that we’re just getting started.

Maintain Virtual Connections
Our sudden new norm is extreme physical isolation. And except for the truly dedicated introverts amongst us, that’s hardly a normal state.

The good news is there are still lots of ways to stay connected… virtually. Even if you can’t reach out and touch someone, you can still pick up the phone. (That old AT&T marketing campaign now feels so prescient.) And for those today who despise old-school phone use, video chats are great. Suddenly, I’ve seen Zoom become a common household tool for group video calls with family and friends.

It’s bad out there, but technology has certainly cushioned the blow from necessary social distancing. I can’t fathom what true isolation really felt like back in 1918 without smartphones and web connectivity.

Find the Beauty That’s Still There
As I write this, it’s still okay to go outside for a walk, as long as you avoid others. If you’re close enough to nature, that’s always a great destination to visit. Beyond the obvious physical and emotional benefits of hiking in a park or walking on a beach, these locations can offer other opportunities.

I’ve brought along my tiny DJI Osmo Pocket camera to shoot time-lapse videos of some of the beautiful environments I’ve passed through recently during my walks. I’ve found it to be an especially calming practice.

Take a look at these nature shots with three sunrises…

Stay Centered
Nature doesn’t skip a beat. Time flows. And if you look closely, people are still around. Many patterns continue as before.

Our daily routines have been shattered. No doubt. But I find it nourishing to observe some of the larger norms of existence still firmly in place.

So, If you can, it’s time to go out and take a walk.

20 Movies to Stream with your Kids while Practicing Social Distancing

Watching a movie at home with your children can be a great way to forget about the coronavirus for a while. Here are some choices you may not have thought about lately.

On any normal weekend, I often find it difficult to find an age-appropriate movie to stream with my nine-year-old son in our family room. He’s generally graduated from G-rated content, but PG movies aren’t always right for him. That said, having read the Harry Potter series, he handled the PG-13 movies just fine.

Everyone’s kid is different. So a simple rating shouldn’t really do more than act as a general guide. You’ve really got to figure it out on your own before you press play.

But if you’re like me, you don’t always have the chance to preview the entire movie ahead of time. So, you’ve got to rely on other opinions to help guide your own choices.

Use Common Sense?
My wife and I often go to Common Sense Media to find out other parents’ thoughts on the appropriate age group for movies we’re considering. I’ve generally found them to be pretty strict about what kids should and shouldn’t watch, which isn’t a bad thing. That said, I tend to subtract a year or two from the recommended age for a particular flick. And that’s because of what I know is appropriate for my own boy. So, you should calibrate accordingly.

Time to Stream a Movie
These are not normal times. As I write this, everything around me and my family has generally shut down for the next two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. And of course, we’re practicing social distancing.

So, one likely result from all of this is the pressure to serve up more movies at home to your kids. Where you might have had to identify only one new family-friendly movie a week to watch, now you may need a whole bunch more.

I know there are countless activities parents can do with their kids other than simply adding screen time to their day. Even so, I feel it couldn’t hurt to put together a deeper bench of movies choices to serve up as needed during these uncertain weeks ahead.

20 Movies to Watch at Home with your Kids

If you want to expand your own cue of movie choices, please consider these flicks that my son and I have enjoyed together on the couch. You might have missed some of them. Please note that I’ve excluded the usual popular animated choices. (I’m sure you’re well aware of those options already!)

The Adventures of Tintin, PG (2011)
Starring: Jamie Bell, Any Serkis, Daniel Craig (animated)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this has a wonderful “Raiders of the Lost Ark” energy to it.

Bridge to Terabithia, PG (2007)
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb
Really sweet, although it doesn’t have your typical happy ending.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, PG (2005)
Starring: Johnny Depp
Warped like only Tim Burton can do… but still lots of fun.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, PG (1982)
Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore
Of course, right?!

The House with a Clock in Its Walls, PG (2018)
Starring: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett
A little creepy, but Jack and Cate are so enjoyable to watch.

Hugo, PG (2011)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Christopher Lee
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s a classic that you may have missed.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, (2017)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart
Solid entertainment.

National Treasure series, PG (2004, 2007)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger
Really clever.

The NeverEnding Story, PG (1984)
Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver
Yes, it’s dated, but it still connects to kids.

Night at the Museum series, PG (2006, 2009, 2014)
Starring: Ben Stiller
What’s not to love? LOL fun.

Race to Witch Mountain, PG (2009)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino
Action-packed and suspenseful, but still plenty silly.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, PG (2018)
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld (animated)
This is a great movie for children of all ages.

The Spiderwick Chronicles, PG (2008)
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, David Strathairn
More creepy fun.

Spy Kids series, PG (2001, 2002, 2003)
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, it’s an over-the-top spoof of adult spy flicks.

A Wrinkle in Time, PG (2018)
Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon
Visually stunning.

Don’t Forget the Popcorn
If you have other suggestions to add to this list, I’d love to hear them! I’ve got my own expanded movie playlist to put together.

Good luck and be safe.

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