Serving Supper From 4,000 Miles Away – A Different Kind Of Cultural Orientation

By Lakshmi:

This past weekend I decided to play the role of a “super” supportive wife and order groceries online to deliver to my husband who  happened to be several thousand miles away in the UK.  “Oh, don’t worry, it’s no big deal I said to him as he struggled with his internet connectivity.  Just let me know what you need and in a few minutes, I will call you back confirming your delivery time.”

Those few minutes turned to hours and an interesting introduction to how the online world of shopping is not as simple as point, click and buy.

Here’s how a simple online trip to get under ten items ended up being a multi-hour shopping trip.

TESCO.  A quick online search revealed that TESCO stocked one of our favorite ready meal brands and better yet they delivered to the zipcode where my husband was.  Excitedly, I started signing up for an account.  I was even more thrilled when the bargain addict in me saw a promotional offer for home delivery.  Once I signed up, I started a search for the food items to put in my cart.  Would you believe it?  Each item I wanted was out of stock.  Not one to be discouraged easily, I made up a basket of alternate items.  The next step was to select the street address associated with the zipcode.  Voila!  The street and house number came up.  We were in business.  Well almost.  Because when I glanced at the city name it was spelt differently than what I had.  Could it just be a local way of spelling things differently? Surely there could not be an issue since the street, house and zip matched.

Off I went on a google search to see if the two cities were the same.  After a few searches came the dissapointing discovery, no they were not the same and more importantly now the little sign seemed to indicate that they did not offer home delivery in the area.

An hour later, I had abandoned my cart and virtually walked out of the world of TESCO.

ASDA:  This time, I started with a zipcode search and yes, they stated they delivered in the area.  Upon looking into the groceries needed, I found the selection limited and left ASDA shortly thereafter.

Sainsbury:  Sainsbury met three key criteria – they delivered to the correct address, they offered weekend delivery and they had a good selection of products needed.  So, off I went on my 10 item quest, finding items and substitutes and filling my cart.  And then the site froze!  I sat there looking at my screen in a state of disbelief and tears.  Could a basic need for food turn into something this painful? Aahhhhh.  But all was not lost.  When I signed into our account, greeting me was my shopping cart with all the items in there.  I clicked on the delivery time and checked out.

The best part of this story?  Sainsbury delivered a few minutes ahead of time and I felt tremendously gratified having served supper to my husband from 4,000 miles away.  And unknowingly I had lived out Saisnbury’s tag line – “Try Something New Today”

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