On the list of things the pandemic accelerated, right along with my newfound relationship with anxiety, were services that brought things we like and need directly to our homes. Amazon, Peloton, Uber Eats, tele-health, streaming services… the list is long. One service that I’ve always appreciated, long before COVID-19 blew up our lives, was online grocery shopping and delivery.
I’ve been a fan and customer of FreshDirect, an online grocery service here in NYC, since its beginning in 2002. The physical grocery shopping experience has never been my jam. Grocery stores themselves always struck me as these uninspired spaces that have essentially offered the same uninspired experience for decades.
Don’t get me wrong… I understand the charm of that familiar kinship one can have with the guy at the deli counter, the cheese monger or the cashier you’ve known for years. I can also appreciate the fruit stands outside the store, making it easy to pick up an unplanned bunch of grapes, a pint of blueberries or a couple of oranges, apples or bananas. And inside the store, there’s the added thrill of running into a neighbor or someone you’d like to have an affair with. I really get that, and there’s a beautiful community aspect happening there. But the act of pulling out a cart, wandering up and down aisles, standing in line, carrying the bags… I’ve never had any love for the mechanics of the grocery store experience.
That said, it would probably be good for me go to the grocery store more often. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I developed a relationship with anxiety in the wake of the shit show. Making a more concerted effort to re-engage with polite society might be in my best interest. Kind of like going to the gym – something I don’t necessarily love doing but something ultimately good for me.
So, as much as I appreciate and happily subscribe to many of the ways and means hastened by the pandemic, it’s not good for me to go full home delivery. Another point of concern with these advances in tech and the convenience they bring is the anti-social aspect. They seem to inadvertently discourage meaningful connections with others in real space and time. It’s definitely better for my mental health (and social skills) to maintain a balance and keep at least one foot in the physical universe.
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