Well it has been one hell of a challenge getting food during this COVID-19 pandemic in my neighbourhood. It is amazing for friends and family to help me out (you rock!) but I need to be able to figure out how to do this myself to help with my anxiety and peace of mind.
I have had zero luck with InstaCart but I have had many people tell me that they were able to get food via PC Express. I tried for weeks with no luck but Loblaws seems to have sprung into action with hiring because I finally could order food!!!
I wish I could say that it was plug and play to order online but I had so many technical problems with my order. Blank pages, having to re-sign in over and over, asked to pick my time slot many times and then having everything crash when I tried to put my order through but! Persistence paid off.
The best part about making the order is that when you do so your slot is held for you and you can edit your order until 48 hours before the time for pick up.
Please note the following is my personal experience using my particular PC Express at my personal location. I am writing this to help other people when they make their orders so that they optimize their experience. I adore Loblaws but I am loyal TO YOU!!! My readers. You know I always share my foodie truth. I am not stopping now.
I was waiting in line at the LCBO around the corner so I could pick up some booze for a Blender Boyz product test and photoshoot when I discovered the above list was all the food that I had ordered that would NOT be included in my groceries. It must have been at least a quarter of my order. The hardest part for me is that ALL of my sources of protein other than cheese (sorry Logan 5!) and hummus could not be substituted.
Remember, to comply with the rules here in Ontario we are only supposed to go out for groceries once a week. My whole life I have been a rebel so this is a new muscle for me. Rules?! OK, I can do this! It feels weird but I am going to follow the rules because my country is asking me to but, um, you dumped so much of my order. No meat? No fish? No legumes? I can’t even make smoothies without my frozen fruit.
I was there early because my shop at the LCBO did not take very long. I showed up at the door and told them I had received the notice my order was ready but I was early. She went and got my food in 15 minutes. I was so grateful!!! I was all ready to go around the corner in the back alley and practice physical distancing for half an hour but I did not have to.
I took at Uber home and the driver was so wonderful! He told me all about my new neighbourhood and was an absolute sweetheart. I still can not believe I have been here six weeks and do not know my new neighbourhood.
Due to my fibromyalgia I am supposed to exercise every day. As a result, I usually go for groceries several times a week. I get my walk in and carry groceries home usually on my back because I have severe hand pain. I actually have a lot of pain which I do not talk about because, to be honest, I don’t want to. I try not to put energy into the monster that tortures my body but this day? This day it was screaming at me.
I worked in stages. First to the front door. Then inside the hall. Then the end of the staircase which tortured my hips from doing laundry the day before. Up the stairs. Other side of the door. Down the long hallways. Inside the apartment…
Cleaning & Intel
Then the cleaning began. For details on how I do have been doing grocery food cleaning check out this post. You will notice that several of the items that I was told would NOT be included in my order, were in fact included. Yay!!!
See all those bananas? One big issue with order produce via PC Express is I could only order a bunch of various things: bananas, grapes, radishes… I had no idea what size they would be and ended up with around 10 bananas! Just for me!
I had so many grapes, they would not fit into my container and I ended up eating at least a third that day and night because I could not fit them on my shelf in the fridge. I did not even look at the receipt, I did not want to know how much that cost me. I have been eating grapes and bananas for days.
Overall, the produce selection was very good but this, this almost made me cry. I wanted to make a small batch of sweet potato soup so I asked for one sweet potato. And it pretty rotten. I would have let that go but some of the other potatoes I also ordered were also rotten. Sigh…
This is the view from a shelf in my bedroom! Where I sleep and live has officially become a pantry. Which I think kind of rocks. Seeing all this food makes me feel safe and happy.
As I mentioned I have one shelf in the fridge for all my food and what did not fit I either ate or am storing at room temperature. I also share the freezer with two other people but I have pierogies and chocolate ice cream now!!!
Oh Joy! Oh Bliss!
Fresh vegetables!!! Oh how happy these made me. That night I got some out and made a very low-end version of my nourish bowl for dinner.
With one big ass salad of course! Gotta eat up those veggies ASAP! Fruit was dessert and we had some sausage leftover which worked amazingly well with my nourish bowl.
Emotionally I was all over the map from this experience. Elated I could finally do the order but frustrated it took me hours (and I mean hours) to finish my order, then crushed as I saw a huge portion of my food disappear from order only to find out that I did in fact get some of the food that I asked for. Then, what am I going to do with no protein and how on earth did someone not see those rotten spots on my potatoes and choose them for me?
But, I have food. This cost me nothing extra. People behind the scenes did all of this work for me at their own risk and it did not cost me a dime. I shared a lot of the challenges I had on my Facebook Page and Twitter. I wanted people to know what my experience was like and my amazing foodie friends also shared their stories too. You can read their stories here. As usual they had excellent advice and this is what I gleaned from them and my own experience.
I will use PC Express for everything but produce and not count on them for protein. Technically speaking I did not go into the store to shop so I think it does not really count as going out for groceries. I will get the fresh food and meat from a local market in my neighbourhood and actually go in the store myself to purchase the food. I will do so a few days AFTER I pick up my order at Loblaws so I can assess what I did not actually end up getting so that I can supplement the food at the market instead and hope that I can get it there.
There is no doubt that PC Express came to my foodie rescue and helped me out so much. They are doing their best to keep up with the demands of the public and help us get fed without putting ourselves at risk while their employees do the work and take the risks for us for free. In my book that makes them foodie heroes. Thank you for your service!
Life is so emotional right now and being able to eat is such a core issue for our sense of safety. I had no idea what to expect and had major ups and downs as a result, especially physically, but I have food again. I am grateful and will use that sweet potato to either make a small batch of gnocchi of shred it and fry it up as a potato pancake. The time to get creative with the food we have is nigh. We can do this foodies and PC Express is helping make that happen.