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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Column: I’ll take grocery shopping in person over Instacart, any day

How the grocery store is my personal oasis

By NADIA ANEES — nsanees@ucdavis.edu 

One of my favorite activities is taking a trip to the grocery store. It’s a place where I feel safe and content. A place where being alone doesn’t feel strange. A place where asking for help is normal. A place where striking up mundane conversations is commonplace.   

I think the grocery store is one of the best ways for people to unplug in their daily lives. Why? Well, having food is a necessity for us to survive, so making the trip to get your fuel for the week becomes a mini-escape from your everyday tasks. 

When we’re not eating, we’re probably at work, studying, staring at screens or stressing over something. The grocery store is the one place that we can be doing something other than attending meetings and staring at multiple screens. There, we can tune out the world and tune into our senses. You can smell the fresh flowers as soon as you walk in, the scent of coffee roasting at the coffee shop inside; you can feel the produce to pick the best-looking ones and absorb the bright colors and patterns of the produce and products lining the tall aisles. 

I fully understand the convenience and ease of ordering groceries online, and admittedly, I’ve benefited from these services myself. Instacart is extremely convenient. Instacart was also especially helpful when I was living with immunocompromised people while COVID-19 cases were soaring since it meant avoiding the anxiety-inducing grocery store trip. Many people have health concerns that lower their incentive to go grocery shopping in person, and so they will most likely continue to prefer using online grocery services.

Although online grocery shopping is convenient, the satisfaction of having crossed items off your checklist when ordering groceries online isn’t there. Oftentimes, there’s uncertainty over whether you’ll even receive the items you had selected, or if they will look like they’re in a usable condition. 

Grocery shopping in the physical supermarket can prompt inspiration and ideas for someone, while grocery shopping online can start and end within five minutes, which usually doesn’t provide the same outlet for creativity and time to be present. In an already stressful environment between work and school, for me, the grocery store is a safe place for me to slow myself down, even for the short duration of the trip.  

Written by: Nadia Anees — nsanees@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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