Friday, June 14, 2013

Online Shopping In Israel

I actually like supermarket shopping. I walk up and down every isle, viewing everything, choosing, meeting people I know and exchanging pleasantries. All in all a very satisfactory experience if you have the time and don't have a broken toe. Not having a car isn't a problem as the delivery service is cheap and advisable if you live on the third floor with no lift, especially during watermelon season. One of the reasons I've not done online shopping until now.

Another reason is that I tried the prototype of online shopping about 15 years ago - telephone orders. Hilarious to think that you sat on the phone with a clerk and went through all the product lists together. When it arrived the fresh produce was very fair, e.g. out of six tomatoes four would be perfect and two would be so-so. After a while I got fed up of buying 33% so-so fruit and veg. I wanted 100% perfect so I went back to shopping in person. Besides, I missed the social.

Recently I've heard that Mega (my local super of choice) may actually reserve the best produce for online orders. I've seen the packers and they do seem to choose carefully. Reports from friends have also been very favourable. So I gave it a go, what with wanting a large watermelon in my third floor walk up apartment and having a broken toe and all.

Here's what I learned:

1. Even though the store loyalty credit card has CAL, YOU, and MasterCard printed on it, you are still supposed to know that you have to choose Diners when you pay. I called the 1-800  number for that info.

2. The total amount at the bottom of your order is not a sum of the amounts listed in the order (my total was about 50 shekels over). Nor is it the final amount you will  pay because the exact weights of the produce, cheese off the block, etc... are not known. Another call to the 1-800 number sorted this puzzle out.

3. Very helpful to have the prices also listed as price/100g so you can compare the different brands - impressive. However, when my watermelon (which can be up to 8kg) was listed as costing 3.99 when the stated price was 3.99, I suddenly feared that I'd ordered 100g of watermelon. But no, 1 unit of watermelon on the website = 1 whole watermelon. Phew!

4. Two items I thought I ordered didn't show up. Must check more thoroughly next time before finalizing the order.

5. Choose the option to have similar items swapped in for out of stock chosen items at your peril. I chose a 6-pack of small water bottles very carefully. I wanted similar lids to a couple of water bottles we have that have leaky lids. Of course I got different bottles with different lids - we didn't even need the water (we have plenty in our taps). There's an option to comment on the order form - now I know what it's for.

6. At least they had the sense to call me anyway to find out if I wanted a burnt sugar and corn concoction with chemical flavourings similar to maple syrup instead of my 100% pure maple syrup. I didn't. They also didn't have the bag of 'oranges for juice' and nothing to substitute - did I want anything instead? No, I ordered the oranges when I couldn't find watermelon and hadn't noticed that they were 'for juice' - what does that mean anyway? Then I forgot to cancel them. Another phew!

7. When you order 1kg of hard cheese they assume you want it sliced. Another issue for the comment box - we sometimes want our cheese grated. In any case we'll do our slicing and grating ourselves as the fancy takes us. A block of cheese please next time.

8. I didn't order ice-cream as I wasn't sure what state it would arrive in.

9. I placed the order in the afternoon and still had the option of getting it between 8pm and 11pm that night. I chose that option and it actually arrived at 7.50pm - very impressive though might not happen if you order nearer the weekend - this was a Wednesday.

10. Score for online shopping 9/10 and only because I need to learn to work the system better. I probably spent less even with an inflated service/delivery charge (28 shekels as opposed to 14 shekels for deliveries under 400 and free for orders over 400 shekels in the shop).

After kindergarten DD and I are going to the more expensive shop round the corner to get bread, rice crackers, ice-cream, and a new toothbrush for DD. I'll probably end up getting a couple of packets of crisps for the weekend for her and maybe a cake and she'll get me to buy her some sweets as well - always happens. Oh, and I keep forgetting to buy a new tin opener which I need urgently..... It'll be another 150 shekels easily but I'm still on the learning curve of online shopping.


  1. They pack the icecream and other frozen stuff in those styrofoam boxes and also keep the frozen / chilled stuff in a big cold room until they pack it in the van... I have been told.

    1. The cheese and other refrigerated stuff came in a separate box with ice-packs. I wouldn't mind this for most frozen stuff but ice-cream once it melts, doesn't necessarily go back to the same consistency.

  2. Other good things about online shopping - it saves all your previous orders, so if you always order sinilar things it will be much faster next time - you can just choose them from an old list and add them to your current order, instead of searching for them.

    Also, if they make a mistake (like with your water), just phone them and ask for a credit - they will immediately refund your credit card. You then return the item when they deliver your next order (if the item is perishable, then they tell you to keep it anyway). You can also choose for them to bring you the correct item the next day (if they have it) and they will take away the incorrect item when they come.

  3. Really? Wow. I'd be embarrassed to be so demanding.....the first time, and then I expect I'd get over it. :)

  4. Online shopping is an important trend in modern world. Its easy, convenient, time saving and cost efficient. People should always go for online shopping for these reasons.

  5. Online shopping has its own pros and cons, indeed. Had fun reading this post of yours. But at the same time, pretty sure we learned a lot from what you've written here. Anyway, keep posting. Looking forward to your interesting posts in the future. Have a nice day!

    1. You're right about pros and cons Hollie. I did it a second time since posting this and whilst it was amazing to save the couple of hours and be able to schedule a late night delivery, I prefer to go and see exactly what I'm getting. Also not every product is online. I'll save this service for emergencies only.