Instacart Confessions

October 4, 2023

I was never an enthusiastic shopper (except during my Year of Mania in 2006, when I single handedly kept Bloomingdale’s shoe department afloat). But groceries were another ball game. I had my favorite store (George’s Shop N Bag in Dresher) with Diane the checker and Frank the fish counter guy—but even then, I made sure to be there as they opened the doors at 7 AM so I could race down the aisles and be finished, home and unpacked by 7:45.

During the pandemic I became an Instacart shopper, and came to not only appreciate, but to rely on, the convenience. Sure, I was no longer selecting each avocado and peach, but being able to order my groceries at 4 AM, sitting up in bed, made up for that.

As those of you following the news closely know, the world eventually opened back up. There was now no compelling reason to stay out of stores, and I did venture forth once again.

So why do I still (often!) place Instacart orders?

It’s all Amazon’s fault. I have become so accustomed to speedy orders and even speedier deliveries, that skipping the drive to the supermarket in favor of online shopping is my natural inclination. I don’t even mind added the delivery charges and tipping (and I am a very generous tipper). I rationalize: I’d be spending $$ on gas, right? And this way I can peruse the offerings of several different stores, and choose the best bargains. This is why I get my yogurt from Acme, where it is a solid 60 cents cheaper than elsewhere, and my special cheese (Robiola Bosina) from Wegman’s, and my ground lamb from Giant, all without scurrying around town.

I remember the Cunningham Grocery Odysseys in years gone by. Mom didn’t drive, and Dad was on the road all week, so Saturday was Food Shopping Day. Joanie, like her daughter, loved a good deal, and thought nothing of having Dad drive her from Ogletree’s to Big Apple, just to save a dime on a carton of eggs. I recall a good amount of spoiled meat, especially chicken (did they have sell-by dates on the packaging back then? Maybe not!) arriving home, only to be returned to the offending store for a refund (yet another schlep for my father).

2023 Elise gets crazy-impatient even typing their routine.

I wish I could tell you how much productivity I pack into the hours I am NOT in the store, how many novels written and essays submitted. But honestly? I am getting the exact same amount of work accomplished as if I were also going to the mall on the regular.

It could be worse. I could be ordering from restaurants, and spending kaboodles more than I do. Patrick drives for Door Dash now and then, and can attest to the vast numbers of people expecting their burritos and cheesesteaks to magically appear on their doorsteps.

How lazy can you get? At least I COOK my hand-delivered food!


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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