Update: Central Fresh now has an online store you can use to do your shopping rather than sending in a list. You can try it out at Shop.CentralFreshMarket.com.
In spite of a couple of hiccups in the early going, it works pretty well for your screen reader using friend here. You also may find the occasional strange item coming up in your search results, but over all it’s a good experience that hasn’t let us down yet.
Selfishly I’m a little worried about posting this for fear of messing up the speed aspect of it, but sharing is caring and we could all use a little caring, especially these days.
Until a few weeks ago, online grocery delivery was one of those luxury convenience things. A nice to have, but not a need for most of us. But that was a few weeks ago. This is a few weeks from then and everything is different now. We’re supposed to be inside our houses as much as we can so we can try not to die or kill anyone else, which means that grocery delivery is quite a bit more important than it used to be.
Unfortunately, the services that provide those deliveries weren’t built for their sudden level of importance, which means that unless you’re good with getting the stuff you need today in a week and a half or so, they just aren’t going to work for you. This has definitely been our experience in Kitchener, at least until today.
I recall hearing a while back that Central Fresh Market had an online shopping and delivery service, but because Carin’s office is just a few blocks from the place and because we have approximately a zillion grocery stores close to our house, we hadn’t ever tried it out. But now being now, we decided that this might be a good time to change that.
Information on it was hard to find. There’s nothing on their website or Twitter about how it works. Even Googling was pretty useless. It took a phone call to sort it out.
As it turns out, the reason you can’t find out anything about it is that it no longer exists. They handle all of that stuff themselves now rather than dealing with a third party company. We didn’t ask any questions about why, but there was something about the tone of the explanation that made it clear enough if you were paying attention that it wasn’t worth the hassle. But you can still order groceries from them over the internet and have them brought to your house, so that was good enough for us.
The process, technologically speaking, is rather quaint. All you have to do is send an email to orders at centralfreshmarket.com (you can piece that together on your own because I don’t want these poor people getting spammed to death) with your name, address, a contact phone number, what day you would like things to be delivered, and of course your shopping list. You’ll first get an automated response letting you know that your message was received, followed soon thereafter by an email from a human confirming that you’re good to go for the day you asked for. Once your order is put together, they’ll call you to arrange payment. Their preferred method is credit cards over the phone, but they’re super nice people so they might be able to work with you if credit cards aren’t an option for you.
They charge $5 for the shopping and packing and between $10 and $20 for the home delivery. How much you pay for that depends on how far they have to go to find you. In our case we’re totally fine eating whatever they ask us for because a taxi from there to here is around $20 anyway. And 5 bucks for full service shopping? That’s nothing when the alternative is hoping that my blind arse can find a frazzled employee nice enough to drag it around the store for an hour.
So we sent our list in yesterday, and this afternoon we were rewarded with a big pile of groceries. The whole thing could not have gone more smoothly. We’ll definitely be doing it again. it was fast, it was convenient, and it came with the nice feeling of having supported an independent local business that’s been good to us since we moved here.