Today’s article is from Kosmo. My answer to his question in the title is yes and as Lazy Man, that should carry some weight. Can he convince you otherwise? Read on to find out.
A while ago, there was an article on my local news station’s Facebook page about the trend toward stores providing drive-up service. One person commented that the people who took advantage of this service were lazy unless they were disabled or elderly.
I’ll admit that we use this service pretty regularly. We really hadn’t before COVID, but when we went into lockdown mode, we started using drive-up and delivery services regularly. For a period of a few months, we almost never set foot in an actual store.
We’ve backed off from the level we were at, but we still use the drive-up services a lot. If we need laundry detergent, toilet paper, and paper towels, we just place the order in the Target app. A couple of hours later, we pull into a designated spot, click a few buttons, and someone loads the items into the trunk.
Every week, we place a grocery order with the local Hy-Vee (midwestern chain). We pull into a spot, they load the loot, and we race home to unload.- This has made life a lot easier.
This means that other people take my lists and do actual shopping – cruising the aisles and collecting the items. Am I being lazy?
Harm to others?
The first question I ask myself is whether we’re taking opportunities away from the disabled or elderly. This would be unethical if the service was restricted to those groups and we were somehow circumventing the rules. That’s not the case in this situation.
I’d also feel bad if this service had limited capacity and we were squeezing other people out. That’s also not the case. The stores are openly advertising the service, and it’s clear (from my observations) that they still have some excess capacity for this service.
Better experience for others?
In fact, I believe that taking advantage of this service actually makes the experience better for other customers. I am not an efficient grocery shopper. I often struggle to figure out where the hell certain items are. Fresh fruit, canned fruit, and fruit in plastic cups are in three completely different areas of the store, despite the fact that they’re all fruit.
Typically, I find myself backtracking multiple times and taking forever to get through the store. Although I try not to be an obstacle for others, I’m sure I am quite often.
Conversely, the store’s shoppers know the store layout like the back of their hand and can zip through an order in a fraction of the time it takes me.
Competitive advantage to the store?
Although there is sometimes a charge for the service if the order is for a minimal amount, it’s typically free if your purchase exceeds a fairly low threshold. Naturally, the stores aren’t doing this just to be nice – they do it because it gives them competitive advantages.
By eliminating inefficient shoppers like me, the store can provide a less crowded experience for other shoppers, which helps the store’s image. Not only are the store’s shoppers more efficient, but the store can schedule their shopping to occur at less crowded times – especially for items that don’t need to be kept cold.
Providing the service also gives them a competitive advantage over other grocery stores in the area, which boosts their revenue. I don’t have a particular preference, but my wife prefers a competing store (Fareway). Prior to COVID, we usually shopped at Fareway. During COVID, we pivoted to Hy-Vee entirely because of their drive-up service, boosting their revenue. The competing store noticed, and Fareway now has a similar service. I still prefer Hy-Vee, because the app’s search function is quite a bit better.
I wonder if the drive-up service, and the accompanying decrease in foot traffic in stores, makes it easier to spot shoplifters. I don’t have any actual data on this, but it seems logical that if there are fewer people in a store, it would be less work to keep eyes on everybody.
You can probably tell by the slant of the article, but I don’t consider the use of drive-up services to be lazy. I don’t see how it’s harming anyone, and it might actually benefit the store and other customers.
In fact, I’m puzzled regarding why anyone would consider it to be lazy. We live in a world where we pay for a lot of different services.
- I pay someone at Subway to throw some meat, cheese, and mayo onto some bread. I’m capable of making a sandwich, but it’s convenient. Most of us could cook the items that appear on many restaurant menus, from places as basic as McDonald’s to as fancy as Pizza Hut. Yet, restaurants are bustling with business, and nobody considers the customers to be lazy.
- I can, in theory, change the oil in my car. I’ve actually done it before. Like many people, I pay someone else to do it. It’s just not worth the time and effort to do it myself, and there’s a benefit in having a professional take a look at my car every few months.
- I’m capable of entertaining myself with my writing. I can write fiction that amuses me, and the cost of creating this content is minimal. Yet, year after year, I pay Lawrence Block, John Grisham, Nelson DeMille, and others to provide this service to me – to say nothing to the fine folks at DirecTV and NetFlix.
- All it takes to sew clothes is a needle, thread, and some cloth. Most people choose to buy their clothes from a store, already assembled.
- I could take my garbage to the city dump by myself. I don’t do this, nor do any of my neighbors. As crazy as it sounds, there’s actually a truck that comes by once per week and hauls away all the crap!
- I cut my own hair, but there are millions of slackers out there who pay someone to do it!
We all use services
Aside from people who are completely off the grid, all of us use various types of services. Everyone uses a different set. I have no need for Geek Squad since I can handle any computer issues on my own. On the other hand, I’m happy to pay someone else to fix a problem with my car’s emission system.
Where do you fall in the spectrum – are you mostly self-sufficient, or do you rely on others for a lot of services?