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Wondering where and how can you get the food you need without venturing out and taking some risk? You probably weren’t doing much thinking about that before a pandemic had you staying inside most all of the time, were you? But the answer was and still is to order online and have things delivered. I know you know that lots of supermarkets are offering these services as well as retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others who also sell food and beverage, but what about buying grocery delivery from your local office supply store?
The New World
Ever since the world has been standing on its head after being struck by COVID-19, I have been sheltering in place almost all the time. Yes, I know that many of you are now under the impression that “it’s over” and we are getting “back to normal” as some of our politicians are touting and trying hard to ignite. But when you are older or have underlying health conditions, you are less likely to just hop on board the party train and think that the risks are all gone. Every day I continue to see spikes in the cases and deaths from the disease and for me the risks continue to be just too great. At least that’s how my wife and I both feel about it.
But, and it’s a pretty big but, where and how can you get the food you need without venturing out and taking some risk? It’s not easy, and using online services like Instacart and Peapod when ordering online and having them delivered for a fee have been a big deal. But there has been a fairly large problem over the past few months that has occurred.
Delivery times have been limited by the huge demand and the discounts and special offers have almost disappeared at the same time when you do try to order online. It got so bad around here that I had to resort to being really creative when attempting to order anything online, but I stumbled upon something that you may have never even thought of doing. I tried ordering from an office supply store and their “breakroom” inventories!
Why Office Supply Stores?
The answer to that question is more like “why not?”. Office supply stores are all in the delivery business and have been for a long time. Yes, you think of them for copy paper and pens and the ink for your computer printer, but guess what? They also have lots of stuff you like and they sell it for the “office”, things like snacks and drinks for their employees. Many of these items are the very things you love and buy all the time. The one major difference is this: you buy somewhat in bulk instead of single items like at the supermarket.
But before you panic and say “Gary, I really don’t want or need 144 Hershey bars”, it’s not all like that and you won’t need to do just that. It involves shopping wisely and “cherry picking” the bargains offered to get what you really want just like every other way to shop does.
Which Stores Have Deals?
All of them have a section on their websites that offer breakroom supplies and all of them offer various discounts, coupons, sale items, and free deliveries if you can figure out the trifecta of buying and getting all of those at the same time. In fact, Staples has been offering free next day delivery on any purchase for weeks now. I did it several times over the past few months and it was really convenient and cost effective. Oh and by the way, safe for my health, too.
Just as an example, I was able to order a 24-pack of canned soda (name brands all) delivered right to my door (contactless of course) for under $12.00 a case. That’s less than 50 cents a can and it did arrive the next day and without me having to lug it home and mingle in the crowds. I thought it was well worth it. Typically, a 24-pack of canned brand name soda cost about 38 cents a can at Walmart, but with the free next day delivery and convenience I thought it was fine.
Here’s another example: A box of 400 Sweet’N Low packets at Walmart is selling currently online now at $12.84 and was listed today on W.B. Mason’s site for $9.89 a box.
But there are other deals out there and those three biggies are not the only stores offering such deals.
There are some office supply providers that exist solely online and I stumbled upon OfficeSupply.com and have been delighted with its products, prices, and delivery. In fact, they have many of the products we buy regularly at good prices and we don’t have to overbuy to get a “wholesale type” discount. Yes, I did buy a box of snack crackers that I normally purchased at my supermarket in 8 packages of 6 each. I got a box of 24 packages of 6 crackers each from OfficeSupply.com, but it wasn’t a stretch and the cost was very effective. The difference in price was only 4 cents per package or just 9% more which included free delivery.
It’s important to remember: Cherry pick the prices and items and look at all the coupon codes and discounts that are available every time you shop! And if you’re shopping at one of the bigger sites, go to Rakuten first to get your cash back.
Other Online Finds
There are many other household items you can check out here that are deals and even some of the hard-to-find items that you can get at a competitive price and quickly. I am talking about cleaning supplies, paper products, and basics like food storage bags, paper towels, and even trash bags.
When many items are in short supply, I found it worthwhile to pay a small premium and get what I needed when I needed it. I know that may fly in the face of “super savings”, but a worldwide pandemic was not in the original plan and staying safe and healthy always was and still is!
Being creative is a requirement today when basic shopping is such a challenge. Six months ago, I would have never even thought about buying grocery delivery from a place like Staples even though they have been in the business of that for years. I’d just walked past their displays hundreds of times, but today it’s a new world and it requires another look.
I understand if you are not able to even consider spending a penny more for anything that you can search and find elsewhere. I get it. But if you are in position where you have always saved and searched out the best money saving deals around, then I would consider spending a few pennies more for safety and convenience already paid for by your good behavior of your past.
This need will change and things eventually will be “back to normal”, but for me that time hasn’t arrived as of yet so I am exploring every opportunity out there. Maybe you will, too?
Have you ever purchased groceries from office supply stores? Did you know that they have such things at competitive prices if you are a good shopper? Would you consider shopping there now?