Ordering Groceries Online with Peapod

I have reached a new level of urban laziness. Each Saturday or Sunday, Brandon and I drudge off to the grocery store to pickup our stuff for the week. Since we eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, we can’t get away with going to the store every other week or less. The food spoils and we’ve wasted money. Oh, and we hate going to the store.

Initially, we went to Kroger. But the prices kept going up. Then we went to Meijer and recently we just started going to Wal-Mart. I certainly have no problem with Wal-Mart’s business or successes, I do have a problem with the people that go to Wal-Mart. Seriously, have you seen those people?

We both try going on Sunday mornings to avoid the rush, but it doesn’t always work out well. Our Beech Grove store, while a nice Wal-Mart by Wal-Mart standards, is crowded and I for the life of me can’t stand the kids that go with their parents to Wal-Mart.

On average, we’re thrifty and we only spend about $30 a piece each week individually. We know what we want, where it is and how to get it. It still takes us over an hour to drive the three miles to the store, get in, find the food and checkout.

When it comes to checking out, being in our 20’s, we have a propensity for going to the self-checkout scanners. Except, older people seem to like them, too. They have no idea what a PLU code is, how to scan a head of lettuce and seem to follow the voice commands of the stupid box to a T. Scan the item. Wait. Put item in bag. Wait. Scan next item. Unexpected item in bagging area. Wait…wait…wait…

Since I’ve become a recent member of Amazon Prime (free for students, by the way, a $79 value), I’ve been using Amazon more because the shipping is two days and free for Amazon-direct items. I’m home most all the time anyway, so it’s easy. Naturally, I wanted to know if I could get groceries online, too. Enter, Peapod.com.

Peapod is based in Chicago, but serves a large portion of the eastern US, including Indianapolis. The website is ugly, but it’s usable, like Craigslist. I can browse through virtual aisles, do product searches, etc. Since I keep a running list of things I need on my iPhone all week, I just search for things in Peapod and chuck it in my cart.

The prices of things are a little more expensive. For example, a loaf of bread at Wal-Mart that I like is Aunt Millie’s 5-grain wheat. It’s $1.88. On Peapod, they have comparable brands for about $2.29. .41 cents higher. Things like lettuce at Wal-Mart is exactly a $1. It’s a $1.99 on Peapod. French’s Fried Onions at Wal-Mart is about $2.79. On Peapod, it’s about a $1.20 more at $3.99. Those were the most expensive-in-comparrison items I found.

Using the site I chucked things into my cart that I needed. It came out like this:

Some of these items are Brandon’s, most are mine (we had a weird week because of Thanksgiving). Most everything is about .20 to $1.20 higher than Wal-Mart. However, some things were cheaper or don’t exist at Wal-Mart. Those baked BBQ potato chips aren’t at my Wal-Mart. That Paprika and bananas are cheaper on Peapod. The Artisan bread isn’t at Wal-Mart (it is at Meijer). The yogurt, pepper and tomatoes are the same price. The tuna, broth and taco shells are virtually the same price. After having received my order already, I can tell you that the produce and fruits look and smell fresher than Wal-Mart’s. The price difference on fresh stuff may be worth it. Canned goods, which I admitedly don’t buy much of, are considerably higher than Wal-Mart. The Manwich is almost double, the fried onions are a $1.20 higher. The taco seasoning mix is higher by about $.40, too.

In the end, I think it’s a wash. I get better quality fruits and veggies and pay about the same for the same kinds of produce. I get screwed on canned stuff, but remember, I’m grocery shopping in my pajamas.

On your first order you get $15 in free groceries. My final order was about $70. That included $7.95 for delivery, but after my discounts and online coupons they had, I paid just under $60. It was a great deal. They even accept manufacturer’s coupons, if you clip them out of the paper or fliers. Just hand them to the delivery driver and they take care of it.

The best part? I was shopping online at 5 pm Saturday. They delivered at 1:15 pm Sunday. I saved a couple bucks on shipping by choosing a larger window for delivery (12:30-5:30), but you can choose a two hour window up until 7 at night. They deliver everyday but Tuesday and Thursday.

The truck rolled up in front of the house, the man offered to bring the food to the counter, but we had him set it by the door (we didn’t know he’d come in the house if we wanted). All the frozen stuff was packed on ice. The cold stuff was chilled, too. They had all the dry goods and veggies in plastic bags. They even gave us half a dozen pieces of fruit like oranges, apples and a kiwi for free.

When the guy left, we started sorting through things. Everything was darn near perfect. I was worried we’d get whatever tomatoes they picked at random. They were good lookin’ tomatoes, better than Wal-Mart’s for sure. We got good looking meats, too. We were both impressed. The bananas were a little brown in places. I’m picky about bananas and like them pristine yellow, but I know they’re ok and that most people like them with a few brown spots.

On the next order, they come and take the old plastic bags to recycle them (I have a small mountain of Wal-Mart bags due for recycling that I keep forgetting about) and they gave us a book of coupons. With all the specials I see floating around, I stand to save quite a bit of money and a heck of a lot of time. They save all previous orders, so my next shopping “trip” will likely take just minutes.

A few drawbacks, though. They pick your produce and fruit from their organic growers around the Midwest, so they could pick out crap on your behalf. However, they offer a satisfaction guarantee. You have to order at least $60 worth of food and shipping is $9.95 ($7.95 with a big delivery window). If you order $100 or more, it’s just $6.95 for delivery and $5.95 with a bigger window. That’s respectable, but still an added cost. They also allow you to put a partner’s email address, so Brandon and I both get confirmation when the order is done.

Another nice feature is they give you a cutoff for order changes. For example, I shopped yesterday at 5, but forgot bread. I went back and so long as I change my order, even my delivery time, before my cutoff point (7:01 pm), there’s no problem or charges. I just add it in and close my browser. The order gets sent to them automatically at 7:01 pm.

I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of shopping with Peapod. Save a few larger items, like Kitty Litter, they do great. With the litter, I can get a 20lb bag at Sam’s Club for $9. Peapod doesn’t haul around bags that large, but you can get smaller 10lb bags for a respectable amount. But, it’s cheaper in bulk. If you drink soda, they had 48 cans of Coke for $9. That’s a great deal, although I don’t drink soda.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I urge you to do so, especially if you’re at home most all the time like me. It’s way, way, easier than going to the store. Especially when it’s cold (or hot) outside.

This Week’s Tweets

  • Someone point me to a great hair salon, guy-friendly, on the east or south sides of Indy. Kthx! #
  • Just finished leftover tacos for lunch. Waiting for Goldfinger on SyFy. #
  • Thankful everyone is stuffing their face full of food so I can get some work done. #
  • The house across the street where Wayne lived before he died is on sale for $55,000 (the loan difference). Does wonders for my home value. #
  • It's around this time of year that I recall being told what my first words were as a baby: "Gobble Gobble". #
  • Not only is Comcast going to noodle with my service rate, the envelope explaining as much gave me a paper cut. #
  • Thanksgiving. 8am. SyFy. Bond Marathon for 43 hours. I'm there! #
  • 4.2 just arrived 11 minutes late. Get on it, Apple! #
  • It's a nice spring day outside. #
  • RT @SirAryMegaLot: Who said there's no "i" in TEAM? http://twitpic.com/38zso4 (via @jwelshiv) #
  • Remember the US Solider carrying a rifle in an airport back from Afghanistan? The TSA made him surrender nail clippers. That was in Indy. #

iOS – Memory Management

The Big Nerd Ranch Guide book takes all of chapter three to discuss memory management in iOS.

The chapter, while I read all of it, was over my head. I certainly understand the point of memory management — but not from reading this text. Memory management in an application has pretty simple ramifications: use more memory than the space allows for and you’re over capacity and you crash. Just like shoving a bunch of people into a small room.

Reading this text to bring me to a point of understanding about how one could make life easier on new programmers and designers-gone-rogue: explain what all the doo dads are first.

Think about it this way: if you wanted to learn English for the first time, wouldn’t it be handy to know that periods always go at the end of sentences? That commas are used to separate clauses and are generally placed where you’d take a breath if you were speaking what you were writing. Why doesn’t someone explain that to people from the get-go with programming languages. Everyone knows that the majority of mistakes are made with syntax, mostly because no one knows where the frack they go or what they do. What does a square bracket ([) do that a curly bracket ({)doesn’t? How does one know when to use a two brackets instead of just one set?

Knowing HTML, one could explain some things like this:

Use a “<” when you open a tag and “/>” when you close it. Everything is encapsulated in an opening and closing bracket.

Is that not helpful or is it just me?

This Week’s Tweets

  • If I could live anywhere in the US, it'd probably be Manchester, New Hampshire. #
  • The thing I hate most? Billing clients. While I enjoy eating and running water, I always worry "what if they have a hard time paying?" #
  • Just heard a guy pronounce "URL" as "Earl". *shivers* #
  • I've never had Four Loko & don't intend to. That's because I'm a human being with a brain and control. We don't need a law from everything. #
  • Practicing my talk for Fri. before some of Indiana's business and IT teachers by staring at myself in the mirror. I hate this part the most. #
  • The Onion says we'd all get free wireless Internet if Canada would just remove their network password. #
  • How do websites "just break"? Defies all logic when one day, everything works. The next day, nothin'. #
  • I don't really want iTunes to stream. It really doesn't benefit me since I never leave my own computer. I want something for ME ME ME! #
  • A couple young boys are going door-to-door to rake leaves. Good for them. Hope the government doesn't require them to get some $700 permit. #
  • Oh oh! I know! Apple spent a bit of their cash and bought ALL the major TV networks and is taking over Comcast. *crosses fingers* #
  • "Just Another Day" is a Paul McCartney song. I bet Apple will have Sir Paul on stage, live, tomorrow and will stream it worldwide. #
  • Resume tip #81 What you've made, created and accomplished is far more interesting then your school, your gpa or your major. (via @graiz) #
  • Ping just became useful to me. I can follow the Rolling Stones now. #

Paycheck Fairness Act

Good grief:

Let’s assume that John and Jane have identical characteristics (education, work experience, etc.) except for gender. ABC Company makes offers of employment to John and Jane on the same day, for the same position, for the same starting salary: $45,000. Jane accepts the offer, but John negotiates the salary, and ends up with $50,000. Under the current equal pay laws, there’s no problem; John is earning more because he negotiated and Jane did not. Makes sense, right? Under the Paycheck Fairness Act, ABC Company would be guilty of gender discrimination.

Here’s another example. Assume that Sam and Sally have the same education, work experience, etc., and are both hired by WidgetCo on the same day. WidgetCo sets Sam and Sally’s starting salary at $2,500 more than they were making at their previous job. Sam was earning $37,500 at his previous job, and Sally was earning $36,000; their starting salaries at WidgetCo are $40,000 and $38,500. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Under the Paycheck Fairness Act, WidgetCo would be guilty of gender discrimination.

One final example. Assume that Brad and Bridget both work for Alpha Inc., have the same job title, same level of responsibility, etc., and they are both earning $100,000 per year. Brad asks for a 5% raise, but Bridget doesn’t ask for a raise. Brad gets the raise and ends up earning more than Bridget. Again, no problems here, right? Wrong – under the Paycheck Fairness Act, Alpha Inc. would be guilty of gender discrimination.

When I worked for the State, there were plenty of people who came in with starting salaries higher than me for relatively similar work and responsibilities. In some cases, I had more responsibilities or experience. Irritating, for sure, but enough to complain to the government for a law about? Those other employees negotiated and made their values known to the bosses and the organization and they were rewarded for their work — good for them.

Me? I acquired some raises here and there, too. But, I finally left to pursue my own dreams of running a business and when I left, I was still making less than some others equal to me in education, experience and responsibilities.

Maybe I should have asked for an act of Congress instead.