Editor's note: Tom Karst is the editor-in-chief of The Packer newspaper, a sister publication of Produce Retailer.
It was a dark and stormy night.
Well, it was dark and snowy, at least.
Earlier in the week, I had created an online order for groceries from Aldi, to be delivered by an Instacart shopper on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.
We had one car at the mechanic that day, so my wife had to wait at the school for me to pick her up.
We both had worked later that day — Thursday is The Packer’s press day — so the seemingly safe scheduled delivery time of 7 p.m. was in jeopardy.
While I was driving home during what would be Kansas City’s first measurable snowfall this year, I received notice by text that Sheryl, our Instacart personal shopper, was at the store, presumably thrilled to fill our order. I worried that she would beat us home.
It was the first time we had ordered groceries online, click-creating our shopping list of items on the Instacart website that would be magically delivered to our doorstep. I was somehow screwing it up by being late.
Sheryl first texted me. “Hi Tom, this is Sheryl your Instacart shopper. I am at your home and have rang the bell. Are you home?”
Before I could respond, she called me. I explained we were nearly to the house but not to wait. Just leave the groceries on the front porch, I advised. As we were pulling into the driveway, Sheryl was pulling out, and we exchanged friendly waves.
It was Sheryl who went to Aldi that snowy night for us, picking up milk, bread, apples, oranges, potatoes, eggs, and other staples. She put the food in paper sacks from Aldi and brought the order to our house.
Was it worth it? Instacart prices for Aldi items seemed a touch higher than in-store prices, though I couldn’t swear to it.
For a $43 order, The delivery charge was $5.99, plus a prescribed $2.11 tip and $2.11 service charge.
How was the produce, you might ask? Well, I have to say it was pretty good.
The new crop galas were tasty, the oranges tasted like navel oranges should and the 10-pound bag of russets contained sound potatoes even if some of them were strikingly oddly shaped.
Who was this “personal shopper” that braved the elements to shop our list of items at Aldi on a snowy night? Sheryl, you were worth every cent of that $5.99 delivery charge, $2.11 tip and $2.11 service fee — and then some. You saved us the hassle of parking in a forlorn parking lot, traipsing through the snow, finding a grocery cart and roaming the aisles, going through checkout, putting the grocery bags in the car and driving home.
Even without the dark and snowy night, the convenience of a personal shopper is a luxury that this Aldi shopper might indulge again.