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Grocery Shopping in the Big Apple with COVID19

What you must know about grocery shopping in New York is that, contrary to popular belief (of people not residing in NYC, of course), the city has much smaller grocery stores as compared to the suburbs. The carts are small, the aisles are narrow – usually just wide enough for a person to pass, and it’s safe to say, you will not be spoilt for choice in terms of brands, sizes, etc., as they usually keep their stocks limited to two to three variants per product.

The good thing is that most New Yorkers live within walking distance of a couple of grocery stores, seeing as there is one to be found at every second turn* – and it would do you good to do some store-hopping, in case there is a particular brand/size/shape of a product you much desire! What is to be kept in mind, though, is the sheer discrepancy in the prices of the same product in various stores, even though they are located around the corner from each other.

*The same, however, cannot be said for specialty grocery stores, which are far and few in NYC. Eg: Even with a huge South Asian population, a store that can be truly called a one-stop-shop for all Indian grocery needs is very rare in the big apple.

Mirchi - delighting desi grocery shoppers since 2014

It is very common for most people to stop by the grocery store on their way back from work every other day to fulfil their pantry requirements for the next two days. But in this time of the pandemic, all things common have been rendered exceptional. Every trip outside the house must be a planned and calculated risk, especially if it is to a place where you are likely to come in contact with many things and many people and break the rules of social distancing six ways from Sunday!

And as a result, even though grocery stores come under “essentials” and are one of the few places that are open these days, the long waiting lines, social distancing and health concerns are forcing more and more New Yorkers to turn to getting groceries delivered to their homes. Now, online grocery shopping has more benefits than one! Not only do you not have to weaponize yourself against the virus with a mask (early Christmas for anti-maskers!), a pair of gloves and a bottle of sanitizer, but it also means more variety and cheaper prices – you take your pick and pay much lesser than you would at the store.

Most supermarkets and grocery stores also provide the options of choosing a predetermined time for the delivery and same day delivery; and that means you don’t have to worry about the perishables. Nobody wants their potatoes to have sprouted leaves by the time they get around to cooking them! Also, you can buy all you want, without having to worry about lugging it all home in granny-carts or totes. Do remember to tip the employee who is delivering your items to your doorstep in such a time of crisis!