Amazon? For Groceries?

Amazon Fresh?Apparently Amazon didn’t get the memo and is planning to start grocery delivery in San Francisco this fall. With one exception every company that’s tried to do this before has failed. Something tells me that for San Francisco Amazon will fail like the others, but at least it has a another side of it’s business to fall back on.

Few people remember back in the 90’s when there was a company called PeaPod that operated in San Francisco delivering groceries. They actually were buying their groceries from Andronico’s which meant you were getting top shelf fresh produce and meats, but it was a bit higher. Granted if you wanted top quality food delivered to your house it would cost you a bit more, but overall it really was maybe around $5 on a $100 order of groceries. Wife and I used to use them a lot because my family stopped going grocery shopping and just told us to pick it up for them when we went shopping.

This caused a few problems as we would now have to lug around two shopping carts and confuse the checkers as to why we would be paying for two carts separately which for some reason seemed strange to them. PeaPod changed this since we could order my family’s food online and have it delivered to them all paid in full. This worked out fine until one of the deliveries refused to bring the delivery up the stairs so my Mother assumed that they would never do this again which led us to have to go back to shopping for them.

It wasn’t too bad since PeaPod decided to close up shop around the same time, but a new company called Webvan had started up just a little before. Webvan wasn’t as good as PeaPod. I don’t know where they were getting their groceries from, but the couple of times we used them they would substitute something we ordered that they didn’t have with something that wasn’t even close to the same. Like you order six apples, but they’re out so they send over a watermelon. I’m not sure who did the thinking on the substitutions there, but they also didn’t last long.

Safeway is the only store that delivers groceries for a flat fee, but at this point it’s just as easy to go to the store for them since both of us aren’t working 40 hour weeks anymore. There’s no word yet on where Amazon is getting their supplies of groceries from or where they’re planning on stockpiling them, but the idea of bring back a Web 1.0 concept that didn’t work figuring you’re so big that you won’t have a problem is, well, a problem. I have a love for some of the old Web 1.0 companies. I used to use Kozmo all the time to rent DVD’s and then started added other stuff like ice cream and snacks in with the DVD. I especially loved that all I had to do was walk down to the corner from my house to return the DVD. That’s kind of like what Amazon is planning on doing, but with groceries as the main item and then you can supposedly add in some of their other products as well. Keep in mind that Amazon invested over $60 million dollars that it lost in Kozmo.

Good luck to you Amazon. No wait, not good luck to you. Amazon makes it’s employees wear ankle monitors like prisoners released to house arrest so that they can track them and data mine their workers to make them more efficient and fire them if they aren’t. That is not the kind of thinking that San Francisco has ever liked unless your home was Alcatraz.

Super Bowl Madness @ the Grocery Store

Beer, Booze, Beef and Chips. That’s pretty much what I found missing yesterday at my local Safeway grocery store. Now I don’t know why we would have thought it would better to go during the beginning of the Superbowl pre-game show, but I’ve now learned why the grocery stores are so crowded on Super Bowl Sundays. The shoppers are of three types of people.

  1. The die-hard Super Bowl fan: They’re up and out early in the morning to get all the supplies for the day’s festivities early so they can go home relax and probably be drunk and passed out  into the first half hour of the game.
  2. The “intellectually challenged” Super Bowl fan: THey probably figure they can rush out right before the game because no one will be there because they’re all home watching the game or maybe they forgot something or just wanted their fried chicken hot out of the fryer.
  3. The “I don’t care about the Super Bowl” types: I have to admit, I fall into this group except when the niners are playing it. I could give a rat’s ass who wins because if it ain’t going to be us then it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately all of us think  that everyone will be watching the game so they decide to go shopping at the same time as the #2’s.

Well, it was packed and the aisles of alcohol, chips and meat looked like they had been picked over like some of the photo’s I’ve seen of back east during the blizzard. Empty shelves everywhere and the people were lined up down the aisles. People were complaining about all the people there yet these were the people with a six pack of beer in their hand or a loaf of bread. If you didn’t like all the people did you really need to go shopping on one of the worst days to go grocery shopping? If you need a six pack of beer why not walk down the street to the liquor store and pick it up and pay an extra buck for the convenience?

Well that wasn’t the worst of it. My wife when to pick up a box of rice and beans only find it all spilled out of the back of the box through a hole that had been chewed there. She grabbed another than hadn’t had been rat-shackled and continued shopping. Then as we’re standing in line my wife made a comment to the guy standing behind her. I didn’t know what they were talking about at first, but then realized that along with his groceries he had brought up a bag of hot dog buns that had cleared suffered from rat infestation.

Great, San Francisco has rat infested grocery stores?!?!? Well I guess so since I’ve begun to notice that Safeway stores [who are based in the Bay Area where they started] have started to have a rat trap need their elevator entrances [the rats take the elevator?] on the roofs or their front doors. Now there are sometimes two or three rat traps there. I don’t see them at any other grocery store I’ve been to in San Francisco, only Safeway. I dropped the two words “Safeway” and “Rats” into google and look what it gave me back. Not exactly giving me much reason to go back to shop there. The cashier even admitted to man with the rat chewed bag that they had been having a hard problem with the rat infestations. I really felt like telling her that it wasn’t just her, but every Safeway in the city that you’ll find rat traps outside, but she’s nice and knows me so I’d rather say it to her in a place not as open and public since saying something like, “Your Safeway is infested with rats” in a crowded Safeway may not be good for business and I wouldn’t want to get trampled by everyone running out the door.

This is a sign though that the Board of Health needs to be notified. I know I’ve got a lot of readers in San Francisco so I’m hoping at least one of the 5000+ readers in SF works for the Board of Health or hopefully one of the 50,000+ readers in California works for the state Board of Health and give someone a kick int he butt. When I purchase food I want to be non-rat involved. I know there’s all these weird government guidelines about how many rodent hairs can be allowed into certain food produces, but still when you’ve got obvious evidence a rat problem that you and the guy behind you in line discovered, more people are going to find out about it.