Let me preface this by saying I hate grocery shopping.

I generally get overwhelmed and even with a list, I still feel as if I have to deviate from it which in turn ends up costing me more than what I budgeted. I spend more time calculating the price of all my items before purchasing and a short, 10 minute trip can easily turn into over an hour. By the time I’ve gotten everything into my cart and into the line, my anxiety is through the roof and all I want to do is get home.

Last week, in an effort to combat these feels, I decided to buy my groceries online.

I was hesitant at first, but after reading a few reviews here and there, I figured I’d give it a shot. I opted to use the Walmart Neighborhood Market (but there are other options out there, including Kroger Marketplace) because it was near me. I spent about 20 minutes shopping for my items, mainly because I could just type in “baby carrots” instead of having to shuffle through each aisle to find it.

Here are the things I learned:

  1. Shop strategically. This specific shopping service does not offer same day pick-up, which isn’t a problem for me. You just select the time frame you plan to pick up for the next day (or up to a week).
  2. Beware of substitutions. When you go to select the items for your cart, there’s an option to “substitute” any items the store may not have. I did this for all of my items just to see what could happen (even though all the items I purchased were said to be at that location). Of course, I had one substitution out of my 17 items — and it wasn’t even comparable. I ordered split top potato rolls and was given dinner rolls. No comparison. At all.
  3. There are no real specifics. If you order a pound of turkey, you get a pound of turkey — or maybe a little more. You can’t say you want it “thin sliced,” you just get it how it is. Prefer green bananas because you won’t be using them for a few more days? Not an option. Everything comes “as is,” and for the most part, that’s OK.
  4. You never know what you might get. My order was pretty basic, so I wasn’t expecting them to completely flub it up. In fact, everything was actually pretty good — and I got an extra 1/2 pound of ham I hadn’t purchased. Where did it come from? I have no idea.
  5. Pick-up is a breeze. After ordering, I didn’t really know what I needed to do. I got a confirmation code and skimmed the email. It said to give my store location a call 10 minutes prior to picking up, and I did. I was told to pull into one of the open parking spaces for online pick-up and my groceries would be delivered. A few minutes later, my groceries were carted out, I was greeted and signed for them, and they were placed in my car.

I will definitely be trying this service again. It makes shopping completely hassle free and I can do it on my phone if need be. I can even download the app, “check-in” when I arrive and I never ever have to speak to an employee. Plus there’s no extra charge (if you buy over $30). It’s not limited to groceries, either. You can pick up dog food, beauty products and select electronics, too.

Another fun fact I learned while shopping online was that this specific retailer offers “Easy Meal Solutions,” a one-stop fill up of your shopping cart with all the things for an entire family meal. Don’t have time to think about what you need? Just select that option and you’re good to go.