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October 5, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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October 5, 2000
 

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technotips Shopping the Virtual Supermarket A00sles Advantages and conveniences of shopping for groceries online, By Michael Tanenbaum The Jewish holidays are now upon us, and alongside these festive Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot days, famously deled'table home-cooked meals await. The furthest thought from our minds is braving the pre-sundown rush-hour traf- fic to pick up that one neglected new fruit for mom's exotic tsimmes recipe, and facing the possibility of another hopelessly gridlocked supermarket checkout line. Did somebody forget to buy a new jar of honey? The allure of online grocery shopping grows ever tempting. With a minimal amount of research and advance plan- ning, grocery shopping no longer has to be a time-consuming activity. There are many compelling reasons to grocery shop 6nline. For instance, there are no checkout lines to navigate, no crowded aisles to avoid, no shopping carts to run into. People with Internet access can shop for groceries while they work. Web grocers can simplify the task of creating a shopping list by keeping track of staple items, such as milk and bread, that you purchase from week to week. You can automatically tiave these items delivered to your home on a regular basis. Furthermor e , for those people Who ace unable to leave the house because of illness, groceries are just a few mouse- clicks away. Produce purchased online is often fresher than its offline counterparts. This is because the trip from farm to con- sumer can be shortened considerably by cutting out several levels of transporta- tion, shipping and handling, and fewer chemicals are needed to keep it looking fresh in the open air because orders are picked and packed by a small warehouse staff. Some people prefer to shop for non- perishable items online and purchase perishables in the supermarket. There are many online grocers that specialize in non-perishables. However, disadvantages to online food shopping do exist, Most major players in the supermarket industry either do not offer online services at all or they pro- vide limited specialty services such as holiday gift baskets. Although there are many online grocers, the majority of them are localized to specific metropoli- HomeGrocer, host their own specials. In the Los Angeles area, HomeGrocer.com (. http://www.homegro- cer.com) is the mare online grocer. They recently merged with WebVan Inc., a for- mer rival, and have vastly expanded both their service area and available services. HomeGrocer delivers all types of gro- ceries. There are two ways to shop HomeGrocer. You can browse the virtual aisles by selecting and clicking items listed in categories, or you can search for a specific product by item or brand name. This is the quicker and more pow- erful method, although difficult at first because many people are used to picking out an item by sight at the supermarket and do not necessarily know its proper name or brand. When you fh-st sign up for the service, you enter your credit or debit card infor- mation, and you can choose to have them securely store it on their systems so that you do not have to type it in each time you shop. As with many online stores, HomeGrocer does not accept checks. HomeGrocer lists ingredients, nutri- tion facts, additional product details and storage directions for most of its prod- ucts. It also has a useful recipe function which you can click on for full meals. Additionally, you can click on the indi- vidual ingredients in the recipe and add necessary or needed items to your shop- ping cart. HomeGrocer does not accept coupons. Rather, they post their own specials weekly. Deliveries are made within 90-minute windows, and shipping for orders above $75 is always free; orders under $75 add a $9.95 shipping charge. Other online grocers include Peapod (http://www.peapod.com), which serves cities including the Bay Area, Chicago and Long Island; and Netgrocer (http://www.netgrocer.com), which delivers nationwide via FedEx. Peapod and Netgrocer provide the ability to sort items based on nutrition, calorie, fat and vitamin content, as well as by brand, kosher and vegetarian items. If an item on your personal list is not available, Peapod allows for substitutions based on your predefined preferences. KosherSupermarket (http:Hwww.koshersupermarket.com), tan areas. A few serve customers nation- also nationwide, provides a kosher witmay ntt Seli pei'ishables. * butcher, bakery, dell and prepared holi- Additionally, when shopping online, day meals, in addition to its standard per- you cannot pick a particular bunch of bananas or carton of eggs. You receive whatever your online grocer picks and packs for you. In many instances, store coupons cannot be used on the Internet, although some sites do honor manufac- turer coupons and others, such as ishable and non-perishable kosher and glatt-kosher products. Im Michael Tanenbaum is the technical director of Clockwork Websites, LLC. He can be reached at michael @clockworkwebsites.com 8 Beverly Hills Weekly COMPUTER DIGITAL IMAGING, PHOTO RESTORATION CD*FD'ZlP MAC or IBM READ & WRITE ENLARGEMENTS 2nd set FREE at the time of purchase MON-FRI 8 AM.-6 PM SAT 10 AM-5 PM. WWW.Goldencolor.Com lol,ul Pentall 'ldstna Origingl Cuish00- Your Healthy Qmlad l00lZ Wutwood Blvd. LOs teing00 ptol 4To-z4z 131o)4ro-m Ono)47,'too BEER WINE IF YO(I'RE NOT n HEAT EATER; TRY IRIR FaBULOIIS FISH ElCrREES Catedng for All occ=iom! Bur-B  - Or gn lntimgte Dinner hr 1Wg V ddvm ymlr  Pmdgn  to ymi without mry gdditimml cmts. Olin n:3o m.- Iqldag Fd- Sat. n-.3o tin..  m. t