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Grocery shopping during the pandemic is… interesting to say the least.  There is good news & bad news, but today we’re sharing tips to help you get the groceries that you need without going into the store… to help you stay away from unnecessary exposure to more germs. 

Shopping guide for pandemic.
The good news is that I have several options for you, so you aren’t stuck going into the store.   We’ve found sources for online shopping with either pick-up or delivery options that we have been able to use often.   

The bad news is that online grocery orders seem to be harder and harder to secure every day.   Not only that but when you see things that say “Must Pick Up In-Store” or “Out of Stock,” it makes it even harder.   

That’s ok!  We have ideas!   I spent time over the weekend searching for options to find the best ways to get your groceries.  Many of these can even be delivered to you during the outbreak. 

If you are worried about the transfer of the virus from delivery items to your home and family…me too. We have learned over the last couple of days that the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic up to two or three days. 

A variety of food on a white background.

“Scientists discovered the virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

“This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain,” said James Lloyd-Smith, a co-author of the study and a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “If you’re touching items that someone else has recently handled, be aware they could be contaminated and wash your hands.” (source)

Should you take food out of the packaging before it comes into your house?

You may choose to take the food out of its bags and packaging before bringing them into the house. 

  • A good suggestion is to wash your fruits and vegetables immediately. Wash your fruit (ex: each apple) for 20 seconds. 
  • Dispose of all cardboard and plastic that you can immediately.
  • Avoid using too many surfaces, and wash all surfaces and hands after you have finished putting away your groceries.

Since it can live on surfaces, it is better to take extra productions, even if the odds of getting the illness this way is less than other ways.  A little over-precaution is never wasted.  (source: Heath.Harvard)

This Doctor’s Grocery Shopping Tips are helpful:  


Walmart & Sam’s Club Pick Up and Delivery

In my zip code, getting a Walmart delivery or pick up was not easy at first, but it is getting better.   I placed a curbside pickup order three days ago and I picked it up today.  The best part is that they had about 98% of the products that we ordered in stock.   

TIP: Choose your location.  In our town, we have several Walmarts within a few miles driving-distance and I have found that one has consistently more pick up times than the others.   If you know that one is consistently busier than another, go for the less-busy option for a better chance at having the items that you are looking for. 

Plus, you can order things that are not groceries.  I ordered sidewalk chalk, nail polish, shampoo, etc… and it was all placed into the trunk when we arrived.  We didn’t have to get out of the car and we didn’t have to sign anything (we pre-paid online when we placed the order.)  

We do know that Walmart is planning to hire 150,000 additional employees, mostly in distribution centers. With added employees and hopefully this surge of shopping eventually slowing, I am hoping my orders for Walmart will be easier and more regular soon.

We have had some luck with Sam’s Club, although some items (like bread & milk) need to be picked-up in the store, so 

Local Grocery Store Pick Up

We have several smaller grocery stores in our area that also offer pick-up.   I haven’t had the best success yet, but it is only because many items are out-of-stock at these stores, just like they are at the bigger chains. 

A tray of food, with Delivery and Online grocer

Prime Now Whole Foods Delivery

On Prime Now’s main page is the announcement “Inventory and delivery may be temporarily unavailable due to increased demand.”   I have been unable to find a delivery time for a Whole Foods order.

In writing this post I tried to make an order and received the notice “All remaining delivery windows for today and tomorrow are currently unavailable.”

Prime Now Whole Foods Delivery TIP: I have heard a tip to shop first thing in the morning to secure a delivery time for the following day. This may be different by location, but in our town, Whole Foods through Prime Now hasn’t been an option.


With this option, an Instacart or Shipt ‘Shopper’ will pick up your items and deliver them to your house.  You just choose the store & you make your list.  

I had never tried Instacart or Shipt for online grocery shopping before, but my neighbor uses it and said that it has been great.  It seems to be the safest bet.   So… I tried it tonight.  Through Instacart I was able to secure a delivery time for tomorrow.  I was even given the option for pick-up within the hour.

I tried several different stores to see what was stocked and even managed to find toilet paper at several places. You may have to switch brands or be ok with substitutions but at least personal shoppers verify each substitution.

This seems like the best option for getting all of your needs on your list without having to leave your house. 

Thrive Market

I had hoped that this would remain a great option for online groceries but they seem to be taking the hit as hard as most others. While perusing their website a pop-up announced they are experiencing unusually high order volumes resulting in shipping delays of 10+ days and many out of stock products. 

Local Retailers, Farmers, etc…

I have heard many people are having luck with local retailers, farms, and services.  In our town, a local farm is delivering their fresh produce, dairy, and meat for their co-op at no additional fee.   I’ve heard that several farmer’s markets have opened early for the season, as well.   

A bowl of fruit on a table.While this isn’t online ordering, it is an alternative to shopping in a grocery store. With reduced packaging, open-air shopping that allows you to be outdoors and away from others, and with very limited shoppers,  it seems like a safer option.

Checking out local services in your area is a great option right now. 

Grocery apps see record downloads as shoppers move online

According to, Grocery retailers are reporting huge increases in the download of their apps. 
Instacart, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt have seen daily download increases of 218%, 160%, and 124%. Target also an increase of 98% in daily downloads. 
However, while grocery apps are increasing, food delivery apps, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, have seen a decline. 

It’s no wonder with such a large demand that it has been increasingly difficult to get online grocery orders placed. Through practice, I have learned it is not impossible but it is certainly more difficult than in pre-pandemic times. I am learning it is important to stay flexible and patient, tip well, and lower my expectations.

I hope these tips will help you avoid the need to go into grocery stores.   Stay Safe! 


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Can any online grocer pick up or delivery use coupons? I am not sure. I heard Aldi stores may have pick up or delivery. I haven’t tried it.

    1. I’ve heard that some (Instacart, Amazon) let you use digital coupons, but not paper coupons (well- not that I know of). I don’t think that most grocery stores will accept them for delivery or pick-up, either, since you have to pre-pay.
      I hope that helps.

  2. I’ve subscribed to a local CSA, which has reduced my shopping needs. Since they grow their own and partner with local farmers and have pickup locations each week, it’s very easy for me. Plus, I get to try produce I might not have ever tried. They often include bakery bread, local eggs, and Amish butter and cheese. I’ve bought large packages of meat from a local butcher, which had reduced my need to shop for that (I’m toying with the idea of getting a quarter cow from a local farm, too). Now if I could just find a local dairy farmer, I’d be in clover. 😁