Like a game of whack-a-mole, people who are flocking to e-commerce for their grocery shopping in this time of pandemic are encountering a new headache: longer-than-normal wait times to get their food actually delivered.
Once you’ve placed your order, it can be one if not two weeks before a delivery window opens up. This a problem for people who really shouldn’t go to the grocery store (think: elderly parents, or the immunocompromised) or those who can’t get there because of essential work or family. The fact that grocers aren’t exactly great at alerting you that an item has gone out of stock between the time you order and the time you get your delivery only complicates the problem.
There may be a small fix for this. CNBC reports on a new tool you can run on your computer to make finding a delivery window a little bit easier. Adrian Hertel built a downloadable program that alerts you when delivery slots in Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods open up. Hertel told CNBC he built the tool out of concern for his parents, who have immune deficiencies.
Once you download and run the Slot Finder, you have to visit Amazon/Whole Foods in the Safari browser. Then you have to go through the whole checkout process and stop once you get to the delivery options. Once there, you run the Slot Finder script.
Here’s how the script works, according to Slot Finder’s GitHub page:
- It opens the checkout page in a new window, minimizes it, and then refreshes every ~60 seconds in the background.
- Once it finds an open slot it alerts you by putting a notification on your screen and playing a sound, and opening the checkout page. You can choose to receive text messages when a slot is found
- You can choose to have the tool ignore out of stock notifications and continue searching uninterrupted
- Once you’re notified, quickly select a slot and finish checking out because available slots are snagged almost instantly.
It’s not the most elegant solution, and though I downloaded and set it up, I can’t test it out since Amazon Fresh/Whole Foods doesn’t deliver to my area. If you try it out, drop us a line and tell us how it went!
While the Slot Finder may be rough, it does highlight how people are getting creative in solving everyday problems caused by this pandemic. Hopefully, as the likes Amazon and Walmart hire hundreds of thousands of new workers to keep up with demand, delayed delivery windows will be a thing of the past.
Want more tips like the one in this story? Subscribe to The Spoon newsletter to get insider scoops every week and to stay on top of all the food tech news.
Join us for our free virtual workshop about building next-generation kitchen products on April 21st.