“No Travel” Tales #3: The Food Delivery

Days have seemingly merged into one, with the prefix no longer necessary – FriDay conjures up aromas of a greasy fry-up, SaturDay describes our couch potato lifestyle, and SunDay signals anytime there’s cloudless weather. Yet a new day has entered lockdown lingo: Delivery Day.

DeliDay is akin to the feeling of Santa delivering the goods on Christmas day, the supermarket van arrival just as momentous as that of the twinkling Coca Cola truck. As with the run-up to the festive day, you’ll need to modify your behaviour to reach this point although it’s not about whether you’ve been naughty or nice, but rather patient and persistent.

While Brits have an innate predisposition to queuing, the virtual version is harder to master. Gone are the days when we could complain about people invading our personal space or passive aggressively roll our eyes at (but dare not confront) queue-jumpers. Instead we’ve become screen-bound, the refresh button providing a satisfying periodic thrill.

Some digital-savvy people have unknowingly trained for this period, experts at finding loopholes, refreshing web browsers, and enduring lengthy waiting times thanks to frantic annual attempts to grasp Glastonbury tickets. There’s also something positive to be said about insomnia – it’s about bloody time too – as sufferers can use restless time quite wisely, unintentionally awake at the ungodly time of newly released delivery slots.

Once you’ve secured a precious slot – “queue” a sigh of relief – comes the easier task of filling the basket with essential items. That is products classed within the Waitrose Essential range, right? What began as a way to market the supermarket’s cheaper range, equivalent to the likes of Sainsbury’s Basics and Tesco Everyday, surely now excuses purchases of ‘essential’ conference pears – ideal for zoom meetings with peers.

While the legitimately essential toilet roll is back in stock, some buying caps remain. BOGOF has dropped its final letter while you’ll occasionally be greeted by a message that you’ve “exceeded your limit” – a virtual personal trainer policing your all-time high biscuit consumption. Then there’s the rather comedic substitutes, some of which are welcome upgrades. A chocolate easter egg instead of a punnet of eggs will do just fine.

Products that once seemed ordinary have also gained a new following. Step aside quinoa and avocado, flour and yeast are trending. You’ll still struggle to get your hands on pine nuts though – guess we’re all attempting to be grown ups.

While this stop is one of many for the heroic drivers, it’s the highlight of most of our weeks – both an opportunity to sate food cravings and practise social skills with someone other than yourself. Brace yourself for a whole lot of blabbing. At least Overheard at Waitrose is on a break.  

Once you’ve got the goods, the factory swings into action, with division of labour in the house: someone wipes the food, another drops an egg, and the final member tackles fridge jenga. This morning’s order didn’t quite go to plan though. Turns out we hastily filled the basket with expensive placeholder items and predictably forgot to edit it within the allotted cut-off time…

Guess we’ll be following a liquid alcohol diet this week. 

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