Getting groceries or: Maintaining the fleet in being…

In this era of the Great Plague home delivery of everything is a trend that seems to have taken wing. For a lot of products, I’m a big fan of home delivery – I’ve had a steady stream of books, dog food, and other household goods showing up on my doorstep since long before the plague swept everyone else indoors. 

I was asked this morning, why my love of home delivery didn’t include using something like Instacart to bring on groceries. The answer is more complicated than it really should be, of course. 

I’ve tried pick up grocery options in the past, but was never quite satisfied in the produce they selected or the substitutions made. It’s hard not to like the theoretical convenience of driving up, calling a number, and a cart of groceries showing up. Ultimately, I’ve mostly forgone the convenience of pick up or delivery because, not surprisingly, I’m fussy and like things to be “just so.”

That’s really just subtext, though. About two weeks before the plague caught fire in the public imagination, I made a grand stocking up trip – laying on enough of my favorites to last two or three months if conditions absolutely precluded making trips out. Now I’m mostly shopping every 7-10 days because I have a tortoise who likes fresh leafy greens and to replenish those items I’d drawn down from the stockpile – because holding it at its peak has a value all its own. 

Proper naval historians will throw things at me for this, but in some ways I think of my personal supplies as maintaining the value of a “fleet in being.” It’s a theory, widely popular among naval powers in World War I, that suggests the mere presence of a powerful fleet extends a strong influence on events simply by existing – making it unnecessary for the fleet to engage in a decisive battle. Keeping the bulk of my supplies intact (with proper rotation), gives me options should further unforeseen supply disruptions (a la toilet paper) happen as the plague runs its course.

So there, in a few hundred words, is way more than you wanted to know about why I’m still getting groceries and why I’m doing it myself. 

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