Friday, April 22, 2011

Harris Teeter Online Shopping

At my mommy's group on Thursday we had a chat about shopping with kids. And given our conversation, it occurs to me that if you don't know about the Harris Teeter Online Shopping option, then I am not being useful to you.

Now you may know from reading our little blog that I was very anti-drive thru. Until I had a child. And he would do stuff like fall asleep in the car, or get sick, or need to go down for a nap, or be screaming, and so on. So I still love the environment. But I also love ease. (see our list of coffee drive thrus)

On that note, I gave the Harris Teeter Online Shopping a trial run recently. And I loved it.

To get started, head to www.harristeeter.com. You need to log on, create an account (be sure to link your VIC account to it), and then you can get to clicking. Everything you need is on here, just as it is in your store. And yes, you can even pick your diapers. By clicking drop-down menus or by searching by key word, you get pictures and a lists of things you are looking for. The process looks something like this:
Now, of course, this is online shopping. There can be a lot of options that pop up if you search, so it can be overwhelming. And you can't touch things or see things so picking your produce might worry you. Also, you can make mistakes and won't know it until you get home. And then minor details that you never noticed before (was that 'Jello instant pudding and pie mix' or just 'Jello instant pudding mix') suddenly become important. You can't browse. That can be good or bad. Good if you are prone to buying things that you don't really need (like those super-cute Easter decorations) and bad if you aren't list-oriented and focused.

After you complete your order, you get offered a time slot for pick up. Here's the catch: you must give them about a 4 hour lead time. So don't go expecting to put in your order during nap time at 1 and pick it up when your child wakes up (assuming yours doesn't nap for 4 hours! if so, count your blessings).

You get a call when it is done, and you can go pick it up. I was pleasantly surprised when they called to tell me they finished my order before my window, and I could go early.

You show up, head to the Express Lane, and hit the call button. Then they bring you your groceries. All you have to do is pop your trunk, and hand them your credit card or check. They swipe your credit card right there at your car, and zoom, off you go.

If there are items that you have purchased and they aren't available, Harris Teeter will try to make a reasonable substitution. I was all worried about that (I have control issues), until I realized that the issue was the said Jello I mentioned above. And they called me to confirm before substituting.

Again, since it gets packed in your car and you head out you can't really look it over before you leave. You kind of paid for it the minute you put it in your online shopping cart.

If you are a coupon user, they will take your coupons and apply your savings amount to your next online order (so it works more like a credit).

Your online orders are saved in your account, thus you can repeat items and entire carts if you wish.

This service costs a fee: $4.95 per order or $16.95 unlimited online shopping for the month. I paid to do this once so far and, especially with a sick child, it seems worth it. This service is not available at all Harris Teeter locations, but many do have this option now. You can check online (of course).

Despite my guilt over feeling like I 'gave in,' it made life so lovely for the day, so much easier. And I did turn my car off completely while I waited, got my groceries loaded, and paid. So I'd like to think my environmental footprint was the same as a regular ole grocery store trip. I just didn't have to get out and push a cranky toddler around!

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