I've completely had to change the way I shop here. Everything here is done online. Even my groceries.
In the states, I rarely ordered online because I didn't want to pay for shipping. Plus, I'd rather go to the store and see for myself.
Here, shipping rates are so low and almost always free because it is easy to reach the required amount to have it delivered for free.
I believe the reason for all the shopping online here is because it is just flat out easier to shop that way. Parking and traffic is a nightmare here. Narrow roads, very limited parking, limited free parking that is, it's crazy. You can't just drive up to a store, expect a huge parking lot like the U.S, push a shopping cart the size of a golf cart to shop, and load up your groceries in you car trunk. That doesn't really exist here. It is SO common, I mean, I see it on a daily basis, to see people with personal trolleys, or even buggies if you're a mum with young children, with groceries in it, and even people carrying bags on each arm and hand to carry them home via walking, bus, train, etc. If you live close by to a grocery store like I did in Canary Wharf I noticed people went to the store every other day or so to pick up items because you can't do it all at once and expect to carry it somewhere.
To be honest though, I think this is the one thing London does right. Online grocery shopping.
Some of the most common or popular grocery stores here are Waitrose/Ocado, Sainsbury, Tesco, or ASDA. I like Waitrose the best.
This is what I do:
I go online and the website is set up to be so easily navigated. Since I'm new, I at first just typed the item I was looking for and up pops rows and rows of what I am looking for.
On each item there is a box that tells you the price, the weight/quantity, expiration date, even a tab for nutritional information. Literally everything you need to know about purchasing an item just like you were in the actual store.
Side note: Food here does not last long. For example, bread usually lasts just a few days. Shannon said that at first it was annoying, but then you realize how much food additives and perservatives and crap the U.S. puts in their food to make it last longer. So disgusting. So the items online will have a little box on the side that tells you the shelf life of the items. Almost always just 3 days. Can you see it in the picture above?
I actually love that the food here is soo fresh. It doesn't bother me a bit. Right up my alley. Plus, you don't have room to fit a lot of food anyways so you have to shop often.
Anyways, once I fill my trolley with my items I am ready to check out. This is the cool part. I pick the day and time I want my groceries delivered to my door, essentially free.
The girls' favourite thing about this new way to shop is when the delivery man rings my flat. They scream with excitement as I buzz him in and a minute later he is knocking at our door. The delivery man can barely get through my door with two girls so anxiously staring at him. I'm handed my receipt, Marisa shows him to the kitchen, and then he takes my bags to my kitchen counter.
Yes, you read that right.
Right to my kitchen counter. See!
And voila! Done.
After a couple more shopping "trips" online the website is soon customizable to my liking. I have a favourties tab which keeps track of what I order often. It makes it easier for me to shop the next time around because I just look here and click what I normally get instead of having to search for it all over again. There is a tab for offers (sale items), tab to make the same exact purchase as my last, tab for recipes, tab to set up delivery on the same day and time every week so I don't have to do it manually everytime, I mean the options seems endless.
Best. thing. ever. Oh yeah, no tipping is involved in this either. And no more dragging kids to store.
And it is always fun to receive packages at your door and now I get it at least once a week!
It is has taken me awhile to get used to grocery shopping online mainly because measurements here are in grams, liters, mililiters, etc. Also, things come in small packages. No super size in anything here! For example...I ordered flour, sugar, and orange juice and this is what I got.
(I used Pocahontas to give you a frame of reference. And the sugar is a little inaccurate because the flap is totally open.)
I went back and ordered a bigger size of flour, but trust me when I say that big here is considered pretty small in the states. And you will never see milk by the gallons here. This is how big the biggest size of milk you can buy.
(Thank you, Snow White.)
Fridges here are so small so that is why things are so small. They won't fit if they aren't! My fridge is actually considered big here.
Seems big, right? Guess again.
Top half fridge, bottom freezer.
To give you a frame of reference. Notice my water picture I brought from the U.S. on the top shelf? It is slightly at an angle because the fridge door won't shut if I have put it straight in. In the states, my fridge can hold my water pitcher and two gallons of milk plus some juice cartons easily.
Notice that my bottom shelf of the fridge only holds my fruit. An entire shelf, not a drawer like my fridge in the states.
Notice my drawer on the bottom left hand side? Only cheese and sandwich meat fits there.
Notice the shelves on the side?
Only ketchup and jam and 3 bottles of salad dressings.
It is a very good thing that I have a small family and that the portion sizes are kinda perfect. I just have to shop often which I don't mind because of the freshness of the food.
And to my OC friends: The organic sections here are unreal. Every item, literally, has an organic version. There is no organic section like the stores we are used to. Every item has their organic version right next to it. Name it, it comes organic.
Few fun facts:
ice lollies = popsicles
biscuit = cookie
chips = fries
crisps = chips
bangers and mash = sausage and mashed potatoes
sweets = candy
porridge = oatmeal
I know there are plenty more, but I can't remember them right now...