Driver’s Side Impulse Buys

If there is one new habit that I don’t mind, it would be curb side pick up for our groceries.  We have used Instacart delivery in the past, but the pandemic has turned curb side pick up from a random occasion into a common occurrence.  From a financial standpoint, it costs a little bit more per item to shop this way.  I haven’t had the time to itemize and total up the cost differential, although that does sound like a pretty fun way to spend a Friday night.  I estimate that we pay about 5% to 10% more per grocery order than if we were shopping in store and getting the coveted “in store” prices.  On a $200 order, this is a fair amount of money, but is it more than what we would impulse buy as we roam the aisles?

In a previous post about Instacart I wrote:

“For today though, I would simply argue if YOU are not physically in the store, you are not likely to buy $36 worth of sh*^ you don’t need.  There’s no child grabbing a $7 three-pound bag of cheese puffs, no impulse buys, no filet switcharoo instead of the ground beef, no “let’s do organic” on the 4 oz blueberries this week.  I would argue you don’t spend that $36 on additional items and more importantly those purchases are probably items you didn’t need in the first place.”

I still think this is true, but I am not sure for how long.  My prediction for the future is that the app on your phone will soon become more like a video game where you’ll earn two extra points for “buying organic” and win a “healthy shopper discount” for spending more than $25 on fresh produce.  The grand finale will be the driver’s side impulse buy stand.  It may just be a digital screen with colorful items displayed out your car window.  If you want to add any of them to your order someone will shuffle them right out.  It may be a physical stand, where you roll down your window and let the attendant know exactly what you desire.  When I envision myself, I am in the car alone asking for “four of the family size snickers please” and for whatever reason I have a 1920’s gangster accent…

As you enter the holiday season, please enjoy every new and safe convenience available as you’ve surely earned it this year.  As we enter 2021, keep your guard and your window up for the next round of consumerism shenanigans.

Happy Friday!