The Daily Ping

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August 28th, 2000

WebVan’s cool!

Friends, are you tired of going to the grocery store, waiting in lines, and getting really cruddy produce?

I can’t say that I have been – I don’t do the bulk of the shopping in my house – but I do believe that WebVan will be the future of grocery shopping for most cases. WebVan is, essentially, an online version of your local store. You check out the site, you browse or search, and add items to your cart. Then, you schedule a 30-minute delivery window and you get your groceries delivered to you. Just like that.

So what’s the catch? Prices aren’t better than the stores; they’re pretty much the same. There are always sale items, but not as consistently as the grocery stores. And, there are no house brands – which is okay with me, but heck, I like President’s Choice cookies.

I needed soda this weekend, and decided to give WebVan a shot. Delivery right now is free on any order (through the end of September) and if you order $50 or more – easy to do with weekly groceries – you get $15 off. I wanted just two 24-packs of soda along with a book of stamps and some bar soap. I registered, which was painless and simple. Then, I scheduled a delivery time. I got a grid for the whole week that showed me open delivery windows, closed ones, and when WebVan was going to be in the area. I set it for 9:30am Sunday morning, sent it off, and crossed my fingers. (WebVan offers delivery from around 7am to 10pm every weekday, and around 8am to 3pm on Sundays.)

The fellow actually arrived about 5 minutes early. He was ultra friendly (!) and started out by handing me a bag of fruits and veggies – free. I’m special. (Of course this is probably done for first-time orders.) I also got a few brochures, a WebVan clip, and – the best thing – a WebVan pencil. The delivery person brought the tote with my goods into the kitchen and set everything up neatly. I signed the PDA he had with him, got an instant receipt, and that was that.

As a bonus, the produce included was excellent – beautiful peppers, a lemon, apple, and red onion! The apple was 100% fresh and ready-to-eat. And I plan on imitating the intro to Iron Chef with the bell pepper I’ve got.

Of course you can’t browse through a physical store, but heck, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t enjoy going to the supermarket that much. WebVan is perfect for people living alone, invalids, or those who want to save time. Imagine doing your grocery shopping from work, and coming home to have your groceries ready to go!

What a great idea. -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

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