Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Things that frustrate me the most....PART-1

I spent some time thinking about the top things that annoy me the most in my daily life. I'm sure most of us face these, and for most of these there are solutions or fixes available today. I've probably just been lazy to fix them or approach alternatives, and end up continuing to be frustrated. Hope to fix this weakness sooner than later.

(1) Grocery shopping: This is the most annoying task in the world for me. To pick up a gallon of milk or bottle of ketchup or a loaf of bread, which are the same and will be the same no matter who picks them up at the store, I have to allot/spend/waste time going to the grocery store, walking around like a dumb guy, standing in line to pay the bill and coming back home in utter frustration each and every time. 80% of my groceries remain the same every week. I pretty much pick up the same cereals, same beer, same bread, same German chocolate cake (or if it's not available at times, I go for the healthier Banana loaf) and yet I got to make these useless trips to the store every week.

As I mentioned, there are e-grocery solutions available today. Amazon has started delivering groceries home too. Thought I'll check them out, however, they deliver only in large batches. For example, they don't deliver a single box of Pringles, but only in sets of 10 or 15. Yeah, if I were foolish enough, I would stock them up.

Peapod realized this gap that they could bridge, and started this online grocery model a few years back. They made more than $50 M in revenues last year, but alas! - no or negligible profit. Nevertheless, they've spread only to a few cities so far and Austin isin't one of them, so I couldn't use their service. This online grocery business was one of those that crashed heavily during the dot com bubble burst in the early 2000s. Sadly for me, the industry never picked up. People lost their trust in such delivered groceries because of poor quality and not-on-time delivery.

However, this is a space that can be further explored, and I'm doing it. Consider just the cost savings to the economy in terms of fuel that is consumed by the 150 M American households to go to the grocery store and return back, rather than have an online grocery guy deliver in batches to communities and neighborhoods together. 150 M households, using up say a 0.25 gallon per trip to the grocery and back, making 4 trips a month on an average, contribute to 1.8 B gallons of gasoline consumption per year (just for groceries!). Of course, we can't avoid all of this, but can drastically reduce via community deliveries.

In addition, there's the pain of finding a parking slot, wasting time picking up the same stuff I pick up every time, standing like a loser in the line just gazing at the Hollywood break-up stories on the magazines there, loading and unloading, and above all - the frustration that de-energizes rest of my day...



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