Friday, April 08, 2005

Hey, you wanna order some Cheerios?

I thought this was an only-in-New-York story: Yesterday's New York Times had an article about the growing popularity of a service called FreshDirect. Customers just log on, order what they want from the site, and voila - groceries are delivered right to their doorstep in cardboard box. Last year, the service generated $100 million in sales - which actually isn't that hard to believe. On my several visits to New York, I sometimes wondered where the hell people get their groceries. In Brooklyn, my friend's apartment is surrounded largely by bodegas, butcher shops, bars, and pizzerias. There are places where you can pick up, say, some apples. But the selection isn't exactly fresh off the tree. After coming home, I never appreciated my neighborhood grocery store more. But maybe I'm just a guy who couldn't hack the big city.

However, online grocery shopping is becoming popular in other cities around the country. The article also cites which serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, in the Northeast, and in California.

But here's the thing that made me wonder if I live in a different world from other people:

"Few people anywhere seem to enjoy grocery shopping. In a 2004 national survey of happiness among women published in Science magazine, grocery shopping ranked 27th of 28 daily activities, beating out only cleaning."

Apparently, I'm a freak. I actually like grocery shopping. I like cruising up and down brightly lit aisles and buying food for my apartment while listening to bad pop music piped through loudspeakers (and interrupted by the occasional "Hey, Campbell's Soup is 2 for $3.00 this week!" promotions). Maybe it's just that I enjoy sniffing and squeezing fruit. Am I the only one? (And I mean grocery shopping, not molesting oranges and mangoes.)

Okay, one thing I don't like about grocery shopping: when the hell did someone decide that sitting in that basket at the back of a cart wasn't enough for kids? Now, a bunch of carts have those stupid, giant red toy cars attached to the front and take up the entire #$@%ing aisle. This leads brats to yell "HONK! HONK!" at me while I'm looking at salad dressings and crying at their mommies because the cart's not moving when they want it to. It's not cute, parents. If your little $#!+cakes want to pretend they're driving, I should be able to give them the total experience and flip them off.

Maybe the online shoppers have the right idea. Two or three encounters with hyperactive brats with Hot Wheels carts, and I'm ready to order my $#!+ from a computer too. Just make sure those apples aren't bruised, man.