I was born and raised in Kansas City, moved to Chicago for a spell, then moved back. KC will always be my one true love, but there are a LOT of things I miss about Chicago. I miss the Brown Line. (And the public transportation in general. I didn’t own a car in Chicago, and honestly, I didn’t need one.) I miss being able to step outside of my door and walk to anything I need. I miss the hustle and bustle of downtown, and working on the 34th floor of a giant building one block down from Sears Tower. (It will always be Sears, no matter what they think they want to call it.) I miss all of the crazy languages you can hear in a one block radius, the weird characters lurking in the shadows, the art, the culture, the seedy bar that was open until 4am just steps from my crummy apartment.
There’s a lot to miss about a place like Chicago.
But most of all, I miss two websites. I miss Grubhub and I miss Peapod.
You’ve probably seen commercials for Grubhub and thought nothing of it; to me, those commercials are little daggers in my soul. They do nothing but serve as a reminder of something I’ll probably never have again: a website that will deliver me any kind of food I want at almost any hour of the day.
The premise is simple, really—you plug in your address, and they aggregate a list of every restaurant that will deliver to you at that very moment. You place your order through the site, and the next thing you know, you’re eating Indian food at 3am wearing nothing but socks and a sleeveless Def Leppard t-shirt. (You’re regretting it mightily the next day as you shit pure bowelfire into the toilet, but for those thirty magical minutes where you were drunkenly inhaling Lamb Vindaloo, it was totally worth it.)
Grubhub was magical.
Peapod was just as amazing. See, Peapod was like Grubhub, but for groceries. You’d log on, fill your virtual grocery cart with bison meat and carrots and Laffy Taffy and grape juice, you’d set a delivery time (I think you gave them a two hour window, if I recall), and at that prearranged time, a friendly Ukrainian man would cart his hard-working ass up to your floor and drop off your food, usually with a smile. It was absolutely perfect for a) someone who absolutely despises grocery trips, and b) someone who enjoyed avoiding weekly treks through waist-deep snow to acquire sustenance.
In case you missed it, our favorite Iowegian grocery chain recently unveiled online ordering in select areas. HALLELUJAH.
It works just like Peapod, really. (Well, better, perhaps. I’ll explain.) You log on, fill your grocery cart with all of the same bison meat and stew fixings and whatever else you can imagine, and then you set a delivery (or pickup) time. The delivery charge is $4.95, and it’s $2.95 for pickup. These fees ONLY apply if you spend less than $100, in which case you pay nothing. Since I honestly can’t remember the last time I made it out of the supermarket under $100, the fee is a non-issue, at least to me.
So this is one way that Hy-Vee trumps Peapod, who used a sliding scale delivery fee—the more you bought, the lower the fee. (I think you always at least paid SOMETHING, though, no matter how much you spent.)
The other plus for Hy-Vee? Selection. You can order nearly anything they have in their terrestrial location, although I don’t think their store-made stuff (pizza, soups, Chinese) is available, and I don’t think you can have any booze delivered, because the government is full of assholes.
So does it work? You bet your sweet bippy it does.
I tried it for the first time this week and was thrilled with how easy the whole process was. The site itself is pretty user-friendly and simple to navigate. (I actually did it from my phone, which means that, even bereft of flying cars and robot maids, the future isn’t a complete wash: you can now poop and grocery shop simultaneously.)
I placed my order on Thursday night, requesting a delivery between 5 and 6pm on Friday. At around 6:10, a nervous teen showed up at my door in a giant Hy-Vee delivery van. He apologized for his tardiness, explaining that they’d been very busy.
I told him to shove his apology up his ass, and round-house kicked him in the throat. I told him it was no big deal. He unloaded everything and was gone within five minutes.
From soup-to-nuts (neither were things I ordered, interestingly enough), this was a pleasant experience, so essentially, I am never setting foot in a grocery store again. (You know, unless they do away with this service. So ensure this doesn’t happen by also participating in grocery delivery. Thanks in advance.)