There are two businesses that I miss from the dot com days, Kozmo and Home Grocer. Both specialized in home delivery of goods.
Kozmo served the uber-geek niche with speedy home delievery of the nerdy essentials like snacks, solid and liquid, plus movies, music and the critical toiletries. Home Grocer was the supermarket of the future straight out of the propaganda spewed in the 1950’s.
Here is how it worked. You had a standing order for delivery which could be modified anytime from the website. Deliveries were on time and free if you ordered 50 dollars worth of goods. The eager Home Grocer delivery person arrived in a crisp uniform reminiscent of the service stations attire of the golden age of driving. The uniform matched the truck, the bags and the boxes. This wasn’t some subcontractor with your groceries rolling around in the trunk of a 1985 Toyota mixing it up with the greasy spare tire and jumper cables.
The Home Grocer employee carried your order into the kitchen taking care not to make a mess. If there was a problem a friendly customer service representative would call you before the order was filled to work out a solution. This extra care was free of charge. Oh, the produce was excellent. It was one notch below farmer’s market fresh. After all it had avoided sitting on a table at the supermarket getting picked up and poke by numerous hands while waiting to be taken home. Most importantly, you were treated like a god.
Alas, the dream is gone. Instead, we have value and reward cards. A plastic card symbolic of the arrogance of the grocery business.
Mr. Grocer, I know the information you have been gathering about me with your ubiquitous UBC codes has made you extremely powerful. Frankly, this power has gone to your head. Your card is no value to me. In fact, I was more than a little insulted when you tried to force me to sign up. Did you think I would not notice when you jacked up the prices and then required the rewards card to bring them back down to the original level?
Seriously, did you also think I harbored some secret desire to scan my own groceries? Shame on you.
Honey, you have changed. If my personal information is fueling the service economy then I expect to be service when I give it away to you. I want to be treated like a geek diva with time to burn at the Googleplex. That’s right, a free hair cut, manicure, pedicure plus a personal assistant to run up and down the isles gathering my groceries. I will also require a second assistant to take care of my kids. If one child wants to color while singing the songs from Chicken Little then damn it, it shall be done. Oh, if the baby decides to make that face, you will be there to make everything all right. You get the picture.
Here is track seven for the playlist: Fairytale in the Supermarket by The Raincoats