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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