Monday, May 09, 2005

Shopping for Supplies

I'm on a quest to find best way of managing grocery-shopping without a car.

I stopped by our neighborhood mall today for dinner on the way home. It was a choice between picking up milk and bread, or buying discounted novels from the booksale stall. As you might guess, Imogen Edwards-Jones' wickedly funny "Tuscany for Beginners" won out - which means I'll be eating strawberry yogurt for breakfast again for the second straight day...

John and I have tried having groceries delivered by NTUC, which works quite well if you buy enough to make it worth staying home the next day to wait for the delivery guy (and staying home again three days later while they exchange a stray can of cream-style corn for the whole kernel corn you ordered). The only problem is we now have enough canned goods to last us 3 months, but we quickly ran out of milk, corn flakes, and bread. If I bulk-order milk and corn flakes it will probably fill the whole apartment!

So my second option is Cold Storage. Unlike NTUC, they also deliver fresh food. So I can get them to bring cheese, cream, orange juice (those cartons are heavy), and fruit. They pack chilled and frozen food in dry ice, so even ice cream will survive the trip. On the other hand, Cold Storage's minimum order value is $60 per location. That's a lot of orange juice.

Hmm. Supermarkets in Singapore aren't made for carless DINKs* like us. We just don't eat enough to make the delivery services worthwhile. Taking a cab works, although we do feel a bit silly taking five minutes to load groceries, two minutes to drive to our place, and another five to take them all out of the cab's trunk.

I live too far away from the supermarket to smuggle a fully-loaded supermarket cart two blocks away. And I'm too thin-skinned to take the funny looks from other pedestrians at the crosswalk.

So I mostly shop when John is around to help me, and when he's busy I've resorted to swinging by Cold Storage and picking up what I need when I need it (resulting in a flurry of tiny NETS charges - I must be the only person in Singapore who regularly charges $15 or less to her debit card). When John is off travelling, my dinners rise a notch on the gourmet scale... I eat fresh button mushrooms instead of canned because they're lighter. (At least I can pretend the reason I shop daily is to get the fresh stuff)

After I got settled in the routine of lugging home a liter of milk on one day and a carton of orange juice the next, I finally realized why Singaporeans shop so often... and why they're so fit.

* DINK: Double Income, No Kids

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At May 11, 2005 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ching,
If you're only two blocks away from the supermarket, buy one of those plastic crates with wheels and handles and take it with you to the supermarket. (Some of them are very light and portable). Then you can walk home without carrying or feeling the weight of heavy stuff like cartons of milk and orange juice.

At May 11, 2005 10:29 PM, Blogger Kiko said...

Fully agree with your mom.. Get one of those stroller types.... I think Cold storage sells this. Don't worry, we all went through these woes :-)

And singaporeans shop often coz... well, why do people climb the Everest? ;-) Works for me! hehehe

At May 16, 2005 11:04 PM, Blogger Ching said...

The stroller things are very practical. But... so auntie lor. :D


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