The Queen of Curbside Pick-Up

The phone vibrates and I pick it up.  “Hey, Patrick,” I say before I hear a word.

“Hello, Karen.  Your order is ready early, if you want to come get it.  Also, was there anything else you needed?”

Out of all the things that COVID-19 has brought into my life, the biggest change for me has been curbside pick-up.

Being immunosuppressed, and with multiple health conditions that put me in the “extreme risk” category, has meant that I stay in my house, or in my car, or on a beach a quarter-kilometre away from anyone else (save members of my household and a certain friend with his dog).  Curbside pick-up began as a necessity for me, but I will not be giving it up when things are a-okay again.  I simply load the dog in the car, drive Buzz (my little red Suzuki SX4, AKA the mobile bubble) up to the store’s curb, make a phone call,  open my trunk, and watch as things are loaded in.  It’s magical.

Do I need groceries?  Curbside pick-up at the Superstore.  Some white-out and more paper for my mini photo printer?  Curbside pick-up at Staples.  Out of washi tape or wooden craft discs?  Curbside pick-up at Michaels.  Need a new windshield wiper, a toaster oven, dog treats, and treadmill lubricant?  Curbside pick-up at Canadian Tire.

I didn’t realize just how much I hated shopping (and searching for specific items) until I could play with an app before going to sleep, and someone else who knows the store much better than I do takes the time to find things.  It’s like elves, or something.

Patrick at the grocery store is not an elf — he is a full-grown young man likely in his early twenties — but over the past 51 weeks since Covid arrived here, he has been one of the few friendly faces I see on a regular basis, and I am grateful for his conversation as well as his help.

Just ask those at head office who read my weekly survey responses.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge.

You can view other writers’ Day 3 contributions via the comments here.


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Karen J. McLean

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  • Haha! I love this post! ” It’s like elves, or something.” Yes! There will be some things about the pandemic that are golden. For me, it’s Door Dash! Magical! Thanks for giving me a chuckle.

  • Curbside pick up really is something else, isn’t it? I’m so glad you have Patrick to load things up for you – and I wonder what other things we will carry forward with us post-pandemic. Me? I’m loving zoom calls with my university girlfriends!

    • Patrick is definitely “good people.” And I pretty much luve on Zoom. Between “lunch dates” with friends, attending events I’m too far awY to have ever attended in person, and meeting with our online writing community, Zoom has been indispensable for me.

  • I know that feeling of not wanting to go into a store. It has been great to have this curbside service. I do hope it continues for those who need and want it. I love your cute little red car. What fun!

    • Thank you! My “cute little red car” is a fantastic mechanical feiend. His name is Buzz — after astronaut Buzz Aldrin. (Among other things, I’m a human spaceflight nerd.)

  • I will say COVID has opened up doors (pun intended?) in how we shop. Kudos on leaving responses. Letting them know how much it is appreciated is great incentive to continue it once this are returned to some semblance of normal. I like the magical elves take. I’m evil, I want to thing minions doing my bidding. 😀

    • Thank you for your fun comment! I, too, have a hidden “evil genius” streak. Good thing we use it only for good! And having worked in retail, I know that normally the only comments one hears are negative, so I try to counteract that a luttle.

  • I am glad that curbside pickup works well for you. Here they like to substitute things that make no sense, for example, I order sweet Italian sausage and instead, I get jalapeno sausages. Another favorite exchange, the store was out of the cat food I wanted by the time they filled my order, so they exchanged it with cat litter. Now, yes, I need cat litter also, but my cats can’t eat that.

    • Hi, Colleen! My grocery store is excellent at picking my items, thankfully, and in the app there is a field where I can say what to do in case of my choice not being available. It helps cut back on the surprises.

      I’m still shaking ny head at your cat food / cat litter issue.

  • Love this! I wrote a post on Monday about curbside pickup. I hope it continues even after Covid.

  • Omgosh DITTO!!! We had already played around with curbside groceries, but didn’t rely on it too much. With a bouncy toddler, it’s become truly a saving grace. Oh, also Starbucks mobile order. I can mobile order, and still go through the drive-thru to pick it up?! I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to the way things were.

    • I am with you on the Starbucks mobile order! Trying to remember my special mix of ingredients at the speaker and hoping the poor barista can keep track of it is an odd source of anxiety for me. My phone app to the rescue!

  • Who would’ve thought we would all be at this point. I used to like grocery stores. Exploring new stores and visiting old stores was something my Grandpa (who was a distributor for Nabisco) loved. I used to have awesome talks with him about how things were arranged or which stores remodeled and whether it was really better. Sometime in my adult life, though, I began to loathe the weekly grocery trip. I absolutely love curbside pick-up and the deliveries I can arrange.

  • It’s funny how life has changed so dramatically that we now can’t see ourselves going back to our old ways! I’m glad you are able to get the help you need while staying safe. 🙂

  • Haha – I love the elves, and also the quarter-kilometer away, even though it does make me really realize how serious it is to have a condition that really does require so much physical distance during this time. I thought 6 feet was too much to bear (even though I’ve made it!). Stay safe, and thanks for sharing.