Friday, February 23, 2018

My Lazily Delivered World

I have my groceries delivered to our house once, sometimes twice, a week. I realize not everyone has this option, but it's become a very integral part of making our life less hectic as we take on more and more projects/workloads/etc. My husband and I have worked hard to provide a comfortable life for ourselves, but in doing so, have created numerous avenues of work for each of us.

In addition to my always busy and demanding daycare business and website, I am also heavily involved in the Des Moines Children's Museum, writing articles for other websites, and lately, tax season. All of this extra "work," would typically equate to less time with our kids, our family, and each other. However, my husband and I have always prioritized our kids and family time above all else. That means some things have to take a back seat to accomplish goals. Like errand running.

Nearly 99% of all of our shopping is now done online. Toiletries, presents, gadgets, etc. are all bought on Amazon (for the most part). All craft supplies and other daycare needs are bought from Oriental Trading or Lakeshore Learning. All of our groceries are bought at a local grocery store and delivered right to my kitchen counters. All we have to do is put it away. This is a luxury; I realize not everyone has these options or abilities to make these options happen. The relatively low delivery fee for groceries has more than made up in quality family time.

As much as this is a luxury for us, it's also been a huge time saver for us. I didn't realize how life-changing these few things have been until a couple of weeks ago. I failed to place a grocery order in time for Monday morning. Well, for food that was needed by Monday morning for lunches to be packed for school and breakfast for daycare. I decided I could just do the grocery shopping myself for the week. You know, like how I used to do in the olden days (as my daughter calls any time before she was in the picture). I braved the outside world and went to Walmart Sunday night. I might have run to Walmart quickly during the holidays for something or other, but otherwise, I have not been to Walmart since August. That's over six months since I had done a large grocery store run.

First, let's focus on how I'm sure I looked like a deer in headlights when I walked in. The lights were bright! The store was so big! Do I start with toiletries and medicines at one end or groceries? And do I start toward the back of groceries and make my way to the front or vice versa? How is their banana display that huge? And those beeping noises?!!? Dear lord, just make that noise stop! Even though I get out of the house quite often in the evenings, I've never felt more like a shut-in as I did as I was shopping that night.

Secondly, let's focus on the fact that these little errands (a trip to Walmart and a trip to a local grocery store for produce) took me TWO HOURS! Shopping that takes me twenty, thirty minutes tops, from my computer at home (ok, truth be told: from my laptop while I lay in bed) took away two hours of my time. And this wasn't even everything we needed for the week! Mid-week we had to do a run to a couple of other stores for various things. Long story short: I will continue to have our world delivered to us.

Delivery services saves me/us an incredible amount of time and patience that I no longer have for (some) public places. However, it also made me see how lazy my world has become. If I need anything, anything at all, it's a click away and will be here in 24-48 hours (or within a time frame of my choosing). I have to wonder, is my lack of patience due to this delivered world I've become accustomed to and depend on? While it saves me precious time and maybe even a little money (impulse buys are nearly nonexistent when shopping for groceries online), I do believe it has tampered my social interactions with others. As in, I have lost all filter when it comes to dealing with people, I say exactly what I'm thinking (this could also be a result of spending my days with kids, I'm not really sure), and my ability to wait in a line or sift through a crowd of people have gone out the window.

I had almost forgotten what it felt like to physically do the shopping that goes into us getting the things we need in our corner of the world. I'll be honest, while I continue to have things delivered directly to us, I can't help but feel that for all of the ways it helps us, it also hurts us. It's not beyond me that my kids won't know the joys of Saturday morning grocery shopping or the utter disappointment when the store is out of what you want (thus, they won't know "store hopping"). Maybe at some point in the future, we will change our habits or life won't be as crazy or the people in Walmart won't be so scary. In the meantime, I'm spending my Friday night on the couch streaming a movie on Amazon that I rented from my phone, buying a new bathing suit that will be here by Tuesday morning, and ordering fresh fruit that will be sitting on my cupboard by Sunday morning brunch.