Monday, April 6, 2020

Winning The Online Shopping (and Delivery!) Game In The Time Of Covid-19: Hunting Down Essentials During Quarantine (Part II)

Believe it or not, we went five days without bread in our household. I was about to bake one but my daughter asked me to make pizza instead. Then one night as I was checking my IG I saw Prologue.ph's post for pre-orders! I had my order picked via Lalamove.

Two weeks into the ECQ, we were running low on butter and cheese. I was desperate. Someone in my Viber group shared a link to Gourmet Direct where I found some cheese, plain cheddar for my daughter and some fancy ones for me and my husband. 

I also found some canned crab meat to add to my pantry and more whole milk. Later in the day, after I had already checked out, they posted that they have Kerrygold butter on hand. It was an easy decision. I ordered a couple.

To my surprise, Gourmet Direct delivered two days after my purchase, even ahead of Feta, which delivered the next day. I was so happy with my Feta purchase though because of the variety of items. I bought several cartons of Emborg full cream milk (my first time to try this brand since we usually buy Organic Valley), cooking cream, cooking wine, pasta, canned tomatoes, chicken breast, and Guimaras mangoes! I also got a copper cup for myself because I read somewhere that copper has anti-microbial properties. 

I and my friends were ecstatic when Healthy Options launched their online store. I filled up my cart right away but items were in such high demand that I was losing items from my cart (two jars of Cadia mayonnaise, different types of flour) during checkout because people were beating me to the payment queue! I only managed to buy a few pantry items, my favorite macaroons, and the organic cocoa sticks that Jennie Epperson has got me craving. I went back to the online store the next day but the site was down, probably due to high traffic. I checked it out again the next day and managed to buy my supplements and the mayo that I wanted. 

My husband has been reminding me to buy ice cream since we're almost out and the ones he bought from 7-11 were stopgap. I was overjoyed when my friend Kat launched Growcery, which carries the Arce brand. The site also carries Saranggani Bay frozen seafood where I bought seabass. My items were delivered in two days. 

Since we won't be receiving binalay from my mom's family in Isabela this Holy Week, I wanted to make chicken macaroni salad instead. I make macaroni salad whenever the craving arises, but it also reminds me of Christmas, and a taste of normal if you will. I saw a Viber post from Platinum Food Service (09656052840) saying they were selling mayonnaise, Eden cheese, Coke Zero, peanut butter, and other grocery items. I filled up a form. They got back to me two days later with instructions on how to pay. Another two days after payment, my items were delivered. A caveat here though. Their products are packed in big tubs, probably for restaurant use. 

Understandably, drugstore deliveries these days are highly unreliable. I've tried both Watsons and Mercury even before the quarantine was formalized. I haven't received anything so far. But I've managed to address the problem through Grab and Lalamove Pabili. Even those are hard to book but tipping generously has worked for me.

For small items, I've also purchased from Grab Mart and Laz Mart. Grab Mart delivers right away but the items available are very limited and not replenished quickly enough. Laz Mart, meanwhile, takes weeks to ship so it's a good idea to already anticipate what you'll be needing a month from now and order ahead. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Winning The Online Shopping (and Delivery!) Game In The Time Of Covid-19: Hunting Down Essentials During Quarantine (Part I)

My old reliables--Metromart app and Landers--have failed me. I've managed (with great difficulty) to put my orders through but deliveries are always late and incomplete (maybe a fourth of what I ordered). So, I've had to find ways. I decided to try specialty stores and ordered just enough from each of them so that if one fails I have a back up.

Pacific Bay is popular. They ran out of plenty of items early into the quarantine but I managed to buy some mussels, shrimps, Dory fillet, and chicken leg quarters from them. Now they've temporarily closed shop to cater to pending orders.

I ordered some vegetables as well as chicken and pork through The Green Grocer. They also carry my favorite Kerrygold Butter (I ordered the salted one but they ran out so I made do with the unsalted). They texted me a few days later that the chicken cuts I chose were not available. They asked me if I was willing to replace them with a whole chicken instead. I said yes. Unfortunately now, the available delivery dates are in May.

I think I had to wait a week or so for my items which felt like forever so I had to have some contingency. I ordered from The Rare Food Shop. I bought some caldereta cuts and samgyupsal as well as pork liempo and laman, and Chilean mussels. They delivered promptly, in a day or two.

Kitayama Beef (Viber 09178899635) is available in Rare Food but I couldn't deal with another failed delivery so I messaged Kitayama directly and ordered additional beef cuts. They delivered the day after I finalized my order. We coordinated everything through Viber. In this time of crisis, I really prefer some kind of human interaction instead of relying on the machine to do its work. It's a tedious process to talk to every source but at least I am guaranteed that someone is working on my order and my expectations are managed.

I understand that price-wise these specialty stores are not the most practical options (though prices were surprisingly not prohibitive) but they met my needs given that I refused to go out.

One of our partners in the farm, Marco Escudero, messaged me that her mom is selling vegetables. He sent me a list and delivered the day after I sent in my order. He's my most reliable source of vegetables and he also sells fresh and frozen prawns (much bigger than I had expected!). You may get in touch with him at 09988668422.

Pasta is a big deal in our home. They are always out of stock in the big grocery chains so I procured my stash from Bacchus Epicerie. They carry my favorite De Cecco brand and delivered promptly. I also bought some bottled sauces from them.

My Viber has been buzzing regularly since I discovered different marketplaces in groups. It's a great way to source stuff but can also drive you nuts. I have since left and deleted many of them and maintained just the groups within our village and the New Manila area where we live.

Through Viber groups, I discovered Christine Joy Sy-Sison (who promptly delivered my coconut cooking oil (a friend recommended that I switch to coconut oil for now for its antimicrobial properties, according to an Ateneo study). She sells MCT oil too. I took my chance and asked if she can also deliver gata (coconut milk) and she did! Her mobile no. is 09098991218.

I discovered Prime Pacific through Viber. I was desperate to buy Coke Zero or Coke Light, our once-a-day pleasure after a good meal. They sell a variety of products including canned tomatoes, which I ran out of. They don't carry my usual brand but it will have to do for now. They also delivered promptly but I wasn't told before they delivered that they ran out of Coke Zero (boo!). They apologized and said they'll refund me immediately. 

Through Viber Groups, I found my favorite supplier of baking needs, Lyn Melitante aka Cooking Mama (09173108223). I initially ordered just bread flour and all-purpose flour from her, then took a chance and asked her if I can buy yeast too. Not only was she able to do so; she also gave me three good brands to choose from! Following that, I asked her to procure salted butter, which I can't find anywhere. What she had available was a butter margarine mix but upon my insistence she said she was able to get me some Magnolia Gold. She's in the process of consolidating all my orders so that I don't spend too much on shipping fee. Thanks to her, we were able to make pizza and I was able to make my own lumpia wrappers for the first time!

Now, for some milk. Dairy is big in our family. Landers was able to deliver two Elle & Vire bottles but I knew we'll be needing more. My Viber group shared a link to Feta, a restaurant deli that I used to see on my way home when I was living in Greenhills. I went to their website and lo behold I saw the full cream milk brands I've always wanted, and more specialty items to add variety to my pantry. They said they'll deliver on April 4 or 5. Abangan.

For our laundry, we use Human Nature, which is impossible to get hold of these days so I went straight to the source. I sent the company an email inquiring if they can process my order despite the quarantine. They did.

For Nature to Nurture cleaning stuff, I ordered through Echostore. I was happy with their service. Plus, I was able to get my hands on Laurin MCT oil through their site.

In the next update: Where I Got My Prized Kerrygold Butter (fingers crossed!), and my experience with Grab Mart, LazMart, etc.


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