29 July 2010

the perils of grocery shopping online

One would think that shopping for groceries from the comfort of your home (translation: online shopping) could be the safest or most convenient way to shop. It could be because we are at home, without carrying a heavy basket or pushing a heavy cart, away from the crowd, and just be comfortable. However, it is not that great. Especially when you could not really choose the items in relation to their shelf-life and quality, first and foremost. It happened to me just this week. I ordered some groceries and had them delivered. The service was fast, and payment was convenient.

When the stuff arrived, I checked them against my list. Everything was accounted for. As they are foodstuff, I had to check the expiration dates. One of the items (bread cheese spread) will expire next month! It is good that it was just a small bottle but still, I would have preferred to have it for a few months. This means I have to eat it more often than I would normally do. I wonder whether the seller intentionally chose that bottle over another so to dispose of it quickly.

Another thing I noticed was the packaging of the instant noodles. I noticed that some of the sides are already open or torn. No wonder there were some noodle bits on the bottom of the box when I opened it. I am concerned that maybe some ants or other creatures have gone in and contaminated the food. Maybe the noodles are not that crispy anymore. Again I wonder whether the seller intentionally chose them over the others to dispose of them quickly. 

I think that I will not be buying groceries this way anymore, particularly from this seller. Some would say to just overlook it, at least it is still within the "Use By" date (for the cheese spread). Hmmm for me not really. When I buy food stuff in supermarkets I would usually choose the ones which will expire at a much later date than the others. It just means that I can store them longer and I don't have to force myself to eat or cook all at once. As for the torn noodle bags, I also would not choose them if I were buying them myself directly in the supermarket.

I remember that this also happened the few times I ordered some foodstuff for my parents. They also got some not so pleasant items such as canned goods with rust, or old stock stuff. And this from well-known online shopping sites.

I think that online sellers should be more careful with the quality of the goods they send. Or else, they will lose customers this way.

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