My family tends to enjoy little indulgences like meals and sustenance and nutrition, so I grocery shop…even though I’d really rather not.

It’s not that I don’t like the grocery store experience. I do. Chatting with the produce guy (I have a guy), stumbling upon a perfectly ripe avocado, squeezing the Charmin, collecting points…I love all these things. Sadly, I just don’t have the time these days.

I’m the mother of two kids whose social calendars runneth over. Plus I work from home as a writer and social media consultant, and though I don’t run triathlon, I run the Toronto Triathlon Festival’s social media platforms—you can work up a significant sweat on Facebook, let me tell you.

I also try to carve out time for my own fitness routine. I hit the gym four days a week and then try to squeeze everything else in. My free time is limited.

Handy hacks like shopping for groceries online make my life more manageable. Have you tried PC Express (formerly Click & Collect) yet? If yes, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, here’s why I love it.

Shopping for groceries with Loblaws/Zehrs/Fortinos Online Grocery service saves me time in my busy life. I can quickly order what I need online at home while I eat my breakfast. I tend to build my cart as the week progresses, and then add to it or edit on shopping day. You can place your order as far out as two weeks or on the same day, up to two hours before your scheduled pickup time.

You choose a two-hour window to collect your order. When you arrive at your chosen PC Express location, pull in to a designated PC Express parking space and call the number (noted on a sign at your parking spot) to let them know you’re there. Your personal shoppers will bring your groceries right to you and load them into your car.

My last order was delivered to me in under five minutes. You don’t even have to get out of your car. This is perfect if you have young kids, if you’re nursing an injury and aren’t as mobile as normal, if you’re wearing pyjamas, or if the weather is ick and you just don’t feel like facing the elements.

There’s a PC Express location right beside my gym so it’s also convenient for days when I’m red and sweaty and unfit for public display. I order groceries before my class and pick them up during my cool down, without having to be seen (or smelled) in public. You’re welcome public.

Sometimes I place an order and have my husband pick it up on his way home from work. This is another time saver for me and it ensures we get what we actually need. I love the guy, but sending him to the grocery store is a crapshoot. Once I sent him for orange juice and oatmeal for the kids and he came home with grapefruit juice and steel cut oats. For the kids… They weren’t impressed.

Another PC Express plus for me is shopping without distractions! My name is Lisa, and I’m an impulse buyer. By shopping online I end up spending less (even after the 3-5 dollar pick up fee) than when I shop in store. Like, a lot less since I’m not tempted by items I really don’t need.

I also tend to make healthier choices when I shop online. And, I am more likely to keep to my list, which usually results in less food waste at the end of the week.

I was concerned at first that the personal shoppers might not choose produce up to my picky standards. Turns out, they choose only the best with freshness guaranteed. I often end up with better quality items than if I’d shopped myself.

Definitely take the time to link your PC Optimum account when you create your online grocery account so you can see all your historical shops (in-store &online).

When you return to the website “Quick Shop” you’ll be able to quickly add items to your cart. “Exploring My Shop” allows you to shop your most frequently purchased items, view past orders, create customized shopping lists and see your PC Plus offers. And yes, you can collect PC Optimum points!

The online shopping process itself is easy. You search items by category or simply using the search bar. You can also view the weekly flyer and add items to the cart directly from the flyer.

During checkout indicate if you would like the pickers to substitute your items with a toggle “yes/no”. You can include notes for items such as, “making guacamole…need ripe avocados.” A personal shopper called me to let me know they were out of vanilla kefir and asked if plain kefir would be okay? These proactive calls are intended to save time and avoid disappointment. Love.

You can bring your own bags and grocery bins. Just check the box option at checkout.

There are currently 100+ PC Express locations across the GTA so there’s probably one near you! Or, if you’re a commuter you can take advantage of one of the 6 PC Express pick-up locations at a number of Go-Stations. Place an order from work, and pick up on your way to your car. How easy is that?

If you’d like to try PC Express, use the coupon code TTF1 to receive $10 off your first shop of $50 or more.

With all the time saved by shopping online, you can spend more time swimming, biking and running!

Happy shopping and training TTFers! See you at the starting line on June 22!!

www.loblaws.ca

www.fortinos.ca

www.zehrs.ca

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