REVIEW: 6 Grocery Hacks During COVID-19

Can’t order online? You’re not alone. We’ve seen all the grocery delivery slots disappear in the last couple of weeks. The supermarkets might be jammed too. We’ve review different Grocery and Essential Suppliers Sources for you in this season of COVID-19 that might help ease the stress of this season. Queue factor: 10/10 means maxed out queues! UPDATED with list of online grocery sources below. 

(Do keep calm and only buy what you need for the next week or two! There is no need for the proverbial “stocking up”, which causes a multiplier effect on supermarketing queues.) 

1. Local Wet Market: Great for Vegetables & Meats – if you get there early enough.

First on our list of grocery and essential suppliers during this stay-at-home period are wet markets. Unlike supermarkets that are limited with 5-10 check out counters, wet markets are manned by multiple vendors which decentralizes payment and breaks up the proverbial queue. Go with a friend or partner to help suss out queues and take turns to buy from different vendors. Skip the supermarket if you cook and can get meats at your nearest wet market instead. Note that you might want to go at 7-8am as stocks of Chicken were completely gone by 9am when we visited our market today. Masks are essential here as 1m social distancing is toughest in the little aisles. Queue factor: 4/10

2. Cold Storage: Worst Queue Management in Malls, Try a Standalone Location instead

Queue management was poor at Great World City when we visited on a late afternoon on 3rd April. If you’re going to one that’s in a mall, crowd frequency could be high this weekend. Try one at a standalone location with a dedicated parking space. Queue factor: 8/10 in malls

3. GIANT: Great Source for Whole Salmon amidst poor Checkout experience

Giant’s tried a facelift recently in their visual merchandising of fresh fruits/veggies but the  feature zero automation or self-checkout options. Observe and avoid peak hours at all cost. A good hack if you’re a salmon lover: quite a few Giant outlets stock whole salmon at much cheaper prices than at the wet markets, around 14.90-19.90/kg, which is around $80-90 for a 4-5kg fish. Some Sheng Shiong outlets also have this! Truly perfect for grocery and essential shopping despite the pandemic. Queue factor: 9/10 (no self checkout)

4. Sheng Shiong: Variety that Combines the best of Supermarket & Wet Market items

We love Sheng Shiong because they sell spices, essentials and localized items you might only find at wet markets at very reasonable prices, that might be harder to get at Fairprice Finest or Cold Storage. We picked up all the needed spice ingredients for beef rendang (freezes well!) at the large outlet located next to our office at Commonwealth MRT. In addition, their semi-automated checkout processes (where the staff scans for you and then you make payment separately) has its merits compared to pure self-checkout options where customers typically fumble over the packing. Queue factor: 6/10?? To be confirmed.

5. NTUC Fairprice: Good Self-Checkout Options and Extended Opening Hours 

Depending on your location, early weekday mornings or later part of evenings tend to work much better than the weekend afternoon crowds, especially for those that open late till 11pm. Some NTUC locations open 24h in the neighbourhood — which means the crowd is more spread out. Queue factor: 6.5/10 


6. Local Hardware/Sundry Stores: when you just need odds and ends 

Great alternative to supermarkets for non-food items, smaller stores that sell shampoos and soaps within your friendly neighborhood central would be a quicker alternative than standing in line at a supermarket. Queue factor: 2/10

Below: Taizjo recommends Modular Phone Slings that work both in and out of the house.


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