Weekday mornings are hectic at my house. Without fail, my daughter and I find ourselves rushing to make it to her school drop-off.
On the way to school, we drive past our local Chicago grocery store, Albertsons Cos. Inc.’s Jewel-Osco. Over the years, I’ve noticed marked changes at the store—many of which stem from the retailer’s push to embrace omnichannel retailing. As shoppers, we have come to know the convenience of choosing between picking up in store or taking advantage of same-day delivery from many of the retailers we frequent. For example, most mornings several delivery trucks are lined up outside the store. And they’re often looking to make a turn at a busy corner in between school buses and anxious parents. Inside, the aisles are often clogged with pickers gathering online shoppers’ orders.
As I navigate past the store, I pull onto a main street that’s cluttered with cars driving for ride-sharing services. Over the past decade, I’ve observed a growing number of Lyft and Uber cars, many of which appear to have driven in from out-of-state in hopes of making a quick buck. While they offer consumers the convenience of using their smartphone apps to book and pay for a ride, they’ve also added delays to what used to be a 10-minute commute.
On my way home, my neighborhood streets are taken over by delivery trucks that are dropping off shoppers’ online orders and food delivery cars filled with my neighbors’ dinners. I’m happy to see them when I know they are delivering my daughter’s rush Halloween order but, much of the time, they are a traffic challenge.
As a culture, we are in a race for speed. We seek convenience at every turn, but at what cost? That’s why I took a quick look at three scenarios at grocery retailers to evaluate whether the convenience offered by online ordering was worth the costs to the neighborhood and to my wallet.
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