Clean-Up on Aisle 8: How Online Grocery Shopping Unburdened my Life

Online shopping has been around for a while. I’m a big fan of it myself and will routinely whip out my phone and check prices online while in a physical store to make sure I’m getting a good deal. Now grocery shopping online … I feel like that’s newer. Amazon has their Pantry but you need to “fill” a virtual box before it can be delivered. I tried that once and gave up after five minutes. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming. Recently local grocers have hopped on the online ordering bandwagon and we decided to give it a shot.

We normally go shopping for our weekly food on Friday or Saturday. However one week we just didn’t so Saturday afternoon I suggested we try Harris Teeter’s Express Lane. It didn’t even take me ten minutes to complete the order and we would be able to pick it up the following day between 11:30 and noon. The next day came, we picked up our groceries, and decided to try it for a month.

Feedback for the Hungry

After that first Express Lane experience we pulled away feeling very bourgeois. Paying someone else to do your shopping for you? Gosh, how posh. Our month subscription is almost up and I feel like I’ve gathered enough notes about this program to give a review for anyone interested in the program.


  • Like I mentioned above, it saves time. Grocery shopping is not something that I look forward to. It’s boring and can sometimes involve multiple stores. Although Express Lane doesn’t necessarily avoid the multiple stores, it allows me to not spend my time doing something I don’t like. Plus it’s basically shopping online which is something I do enjoy.Bran
  • No searching for those odd items. The second week of our subscription I had “bran” on my list. I was thankful that someone else would have to find it because I had no idea where I would even look.
  • It helps you stick to your list. You can read about how my husband and I plan our meals in another post but I know not everyone plans like we do. Whether or not you go to the store armed with, there is still the possibility of leaving the store with more than you wanted. There isn’t any browsing the aisles when you shop online. At least not for me. I search for my item, add it to my cart, and move on.
  • It’s significantly easier to compare prices. Online items are right next to each other so you compare this information much easier. My favorite thing is the produce. Most of the time the organic version is cheaper or the same price as the non-organic. I didn’t know this in the store because the organic and non are separated. I’ve been buying organic produce online because of this price revelation.

    Boomer playing on a bag.
  • Express Lane puts my groceries in paper bags. When I go in the store I either bring my own reusable bags or ask for paper. This pleased me greatly that they automatically used paper. We use the extra bags to line our mini recycle bin in the kitchen so it’s easier to take it out and the cats like to play with them.
  • They offer a subscription service! Normally it’s $4.95 per shopping trip. That is waived for the first trip but you have the option of signing up for monthly or yearly service. The monthly is $16.95 and yearly is $99.95 for unlimited trips. We go grocery shopping once per week so when you run the numbers that works out to $4.24/week on the monthly subscription and $1.92/week on the yearly.


  • Sometimes a recipe calls for a certain amount of ginger or a small/large onion. When ordering online you can add notes to specify things like this. I’ve done this a few times and noticed that the notes are either not read or not properly interpreted. For example, I asked for two inches of ginger and received the whole stick/stalk/hand/whatever of ginger. I usually just break off the amount I need and move on so either I’m not supposed to do this or they didn’t read the note. Same with the onion. I noted I needed a small onion. I received one the size of my face.
  • One thing I miss from doing my own shopping is picking out my own produce. I like small onions, firm tomatoes, and a particular shade of green broccoli.
  • Going off of the produce topic, I don’t like that they put our produce in those thin plastic bags. When I go shopping I just put our produce in the basket and then they go in the reusable bag upon checkout. Can you tell I don’t like plastic bags?
  • When placing your order online you can choose the date and time frame that you want to pick up your groceries. It’s very convenient for when I’m at work and I want to pick up groceries after my shift. Literally, every time we’ve ordered it’s been early. The first time it was about 20 – 30 minutes early but the rest of the time it’s been two hours early! I know they keep the groceries in a fridge while they wait to be picked up but what’s the point of a window? This is probably borderline pro-con because I can see how this can be a “pro” maybe more than a “con”.

Wrap it Up

We’re definitely going to do the yearly subscription. It’s worked out in our favor and I love the amount of time it saves us. I know longer dread grocery shopping. In fact, I look forward to ordering my groceries and picking them. Now if only they delivered!