Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Vivi goes to the drive-thru grocery

I know I promised an update on the kitchen today, but this morning I tried a new service that's becoming quite popular in France and I want to share it with you.

In most large cities, grocery delivery has already existed for years (and when I say large, I know of at least one store in Troyes (pop. 60k) that offers this service, so we're talking from small to major cities). In most cases, you can either do your groceries like normal, but at the check out your groceries are boxed up and delivered to your home at the hour of your convenience, or you can order online and your order arrives at a predetermined time. This is especially helpful if you live in an apartment and dread the idea of dragging bag after bag of groceries up the stairs.

Of course this doesn't exist in Tiny Town, and I'm hardly going to complain about bringing the groceries up to the first floor when I can park directly in front of our apartment building. But, the latest craze here is a combination order online and drive through service. There are several independent companies popping up around France and now the major grande surface supermarkets are throwing their hats into the ring. When I saw that they were building an E.LECLERC Drive (link in French) in Troyes I thought I might check it out.

Last night I made my order online. Since the kitchen isn't really done I can't cook at 100% so I didn't come to the order with a menu set in my mind like I normally would, and that's a good thing because they don't have every thing available through this service. I had to change a couple of ideas on the fly and that would kind of annoy me on a regular basis. Still, it was easy to search for what I wanted and the overall experience was alright. At the end, I paid with my card and printed out my order and set my time for the order to be ready at 10:00 this morning.

The universe was with me this morning and we managed to pull up at exactly 10:02. The pick up area reminds me of a drive-in, with angled parking spots and a kiosk at each space. I scanned in the bar code from my order and was told that my order was ready and soon it told me who was in charge of my order. Meanwhile, I opened up the trunk and made space for the groceries and chatted with Fry. Soon, a door opened and a lady with a shopping cart came out to the car. She loaded my groceries, already packed in plastic bags, into my car, handed me the eggs so they wouldn't be crushed, and we were on our way at exactly 10:06.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the quality of items such as fruits and meat to be just what I would have picked. The bananas aren't too ripe and the clementines look fine. I got everything on my order and there were no surprises, since the website offers 3-D close ups of all things you buy, so I knew which brands and how much of everything I was getting.

This isn't a service I would use every week right now, but when I start working full time again next April this will be super handy since it's on my way home from work. Definitely a good experience so if you're in the French countryside and don't have the luxury of time or just don't like grocery shopping, I definitely recommend it!

10 comments:

ashleyenfrance said...

Ooohh, our Leclerc is building a drive right now. I can't wait to try it out! Somedays I just hate going to the store... Thanks for the explaination on how it works!

Amber said...

Up here in the north we've got Chronodrive and Auchan Drive. since i'm 8 mos. pregnant and therefore not very patient and easily tired, i've been using it every week. I tell ya what else is great about it -- no impulse buying. You make your list, you order the things you need, and that's it. No getting suckered into buying that cute top or those shoes that are on sale or the buy two candybars get the third free. I think we probably end up saving money by buying like this.

laura said...

Yeah like Amber said in the North we've got Chronodrive. My French boyfriend worked there last year while he was going to university. It's super convenient. I've been really curious as to why it hasn't made it's way across the Atlantic as Americans love to drive through everything. There was a drive through pharmacy across the street from my house in California.

Vivi said...

@Ashely You're welcome! :)

@Amber You bring up an excellent point I meant to include in the post and forgot. I'm a terrible impulse shopper, that's true that this is a great solution for that!

@laura You've reminded me of the drive thru liquor store (!!) we had in Florida when I was growing up!

kim said...

The Auchan Drive just opened in LH less than a month ago. Haven't tried it yet, but we're going to get to it soon.

SSP said...

very cool. as i was moving from NYC, this was really taking hold, ordering on line and having your items delivered. It really is different shopping when you can wheel a loaded down cart out to your car, load down your car, and drive to your own front door. :-)

Ms Mac said...

Sounds brilliant! I'm quite impressed. I absolutely hate grocery shopping so it would be ideal for me.

Jennifer said...

I can't wait to try it out! Somedays I just hate going to the store... Thanks for the explaination on how it works!

danielle said...

Maybe the fact that you hate shopping comes from going to the hypermarkets. Smaller local shops are more friendly. I stopped hyper shopping about 5 years ago and only shop locally and it is not a chore any more. I meet friends in the street, read the posters in the shops and the street so don't miss any local events, can do my shopping on foot so only buy what I can carry. Yes I work full time and sometimes stop at a shop on my way home. If goods are not up to standard I can take them back without any hassle since they know me. I go to the markets for fruit and vegetables, etc. I probably spend less money than I did in the big stores since I can buy smaller quantites.

Anonymous said...

I so envy you this service. Esp with a little one. I buy almost the very same things every week.