Magically delicious

Published July 14, 2010

I recently discovered the new Groceries section on Amazon. It’s in Beta and it sells, well, groceries, obviously.

Amazon groceries

I find this idea so weird, and I’ve been struggling to put my finger on why. I’ve narrowed it down to two things. Firstly, I never really got on board with the third party aspect of Amazon. I’ve actually only used it to buy books from - both physical and now in Kindle form - and they’ve always come direct from Amazon, rather than any third party sellers. I’m sure it works perfectly well, but adding another merchant into the mix confuses me.

With that in mind, the second thing is that I just picture Amazon as a fabulous and enormous warehouse, stacked with paper goods, and Kindles. This does not sound conducive to a good food environment - particularly for fresh foods.

I posted a message on Twitter about my concerns, and Lisa replied pointing out that it would be weird not knowing when your shopping was going to turn up. I hadn’t even considered the delivery aspect of it.

The only thing that makes it remotely appealing to me is that they sell Lucky Charms. They’re dispatched from American Soda, though, who I’ve been keeping an eye on anyway. I’d be tempted if it wasn’t £5 for one box. Stupid leprechaun not selling it in this country anymore.

I’m getting off the point. Amazon. Groceries. Good idea or no?

Update: My dad sent me a link to this interesting article about the Amazon shopping experience from someone who actually had a go. Far from being simple, finding what you actually want to buy appears to be a problem, and the costs add up quicker then you think. And then:

Yet my problems have still barely begun. My inbox is soon heaving with emails from Amazon with endless updates on my individual consignments.

It’s like being an air traffic controller as I try to track what is arriving, and when, so I can plan meals.

Online shopping should be liberating — it’s ideal for busy people with busy lives. But waiting for the next delivery, I hardly dare pick up the phone in case the doorbell rings.

And I’m too scared to go out. On one day alone, I receive five packages, all from different couriers. My home is turned into a waste disposal site, as I’m knee-deep in cardboard and bubblewrap.

Ohhhh dear.

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