Groceries on your doorstep

Lebanon is the land of delivery.

You can order almost anything and have it delivered to your door. There’s the expected: pizza, McDonalds, sushi, mana2ish. Then there is everything else, ranging from the strange to “why didn’t I come up with that!”: dry cleaning, DVDs, a lady to wax your legs, a phlebotomist to draw your child’s blood.

And then there is the life-changing: groceries.

Now I’m not one of those people that hate grocery shopping. I honestly don’t really mind it as far as things I should be doing as an adult/housewife/mom/whoever goes. But figuring out when to go has always been a struggle for me. Between Luka’s nap and picking up the girls from school is a small window of time and Beirut traffic is notorious for messing with the most tightly scheduled day in catastrophic ways. So I ended up doing my grocery shopping on Saturday, which I hated because it is the one day of the week where we don’t have work. And I want to spend that day with my family, not wandering the once-again reorganized aisles of the supermarket.

And then I saw the sign. Spinneys. Delivers. I rushed home to check the website and found the map showing the delivery areas. Pretty much all of Beirut it covered, except my neighborhood. You’ve got to be kidding me. But the top of the webpage says that more delivery locations will be added soon, so I stalked that website for months.

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One day I was coming home from somewhere and saw a Spinney’s delivery truck driving right through my neighborhood! I checked the map but we still weren’t listed as an option, so I called the customer service number to see what the deal was. She confirmed that they don’t in fact deliver to our part of town, but I could call the delivery guy and maybe arrange to meet him on the side of the road somewhere. Seriously?

So I continued waiting. And stalking. A few months later a friend called customer service, also to ask about getting delivery to our part of town. And the sneaky customer service rep told her just to choose the closest neighborhood and then write out directions to her house…. and they’d deliver, no problem!

I have to say, even with all the excitement, I was a bit skeptic. But it has been all I hoped it would be and more.

It couldn’t be easier. Just like any online shopping site, you choose the items you want, put them in your virtual cart and then choose your personal shopper, delivery day and time and how you want to pay. The morning of your delivery, you will get a call from your personal shopper. If there is anything that wasn’t available, she will give you other options (including the prices) and you can decide if you want to replace it or leave it off your list.

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You get a text message when the delivery truck leaves the store with the exact amount you owe, and in the months we’ve been using the service, a delivery has never been late. Delivery is free, although I do tend to generously tip the delivery guy.


We’ve had a few small mistakes. One time I ordered cream cheese to make a cheesecake for Caleb’s birthday, but we got some nasty processed cheese instead. I called customer service and she offered to send someone the next morning with the cream cheese I wanted. While I didn’t accept her offer as it seemed a little silly for a bit of cheese, I was happy to know that they would have done whatever necessary to fix their mistake.

I can’t even begin to say how helpful Spinney’s Delivery has been for this busy mom. I save so much time. I can “shop” after the kids are in bed while in my pajamas, and choose the most convenient time for my groceries to be delivered. I also find I save money. No more impulse buys because something shiny caught my eye at the end of the aisle. There are some downsides too, of course. You don’t notice as easily when something is on sale that you might want to stock up on. Buying fruits and vegetables is difficult online… I like to see and touch them. But there are plenty of fruit and veggie stands in the neighborhood that I can buy from if need be. So for us the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Some tips to make the online shopping experience go well:

  • I much prefer the website over the app, mainly because of the “Favorites” feature. You can mark the items that you buy every week as Favorites and then when it’s time to shop, you open your Favorites list and can add items directly to your cart without needing to search. You can also see your Past Orders and duplicate the order if you end up ordering the same things each week.Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.18.05 PM
  • It helps a lot if you are familiar with Spinneys products. If you know what brands Spinneys usually has available, it will make searching a lot quicker.
  • You can find items either by browsing the categories or searching. The search feature isn’t the greatest, but if you know the brand you are looking for that seems to be one of the best ways to search.
  • The website isn’t exhaustive. There are things that I know are on the shelves, but no matter how I search for it online, it doesn’t show up. But at the very end of your order, there is a box for comments. You can type in what you are looking for there. Bulk nuts for example aren’t in the database, but I always order 300 g of bulk dried cranberries and the shopper has no problem filling the request.
  • One plus of the app is the barcode scanner. Instead of searching the database by name or category, you can just scan the barcode of the product you already have at home and it will find it for you (assuming it’s available).
  • Know there is a 100,000 LL minimum order. For me that is no problem, but if you are buying your meat and produce at other places that might be harder to hit.
  • Ordering on the weekend means the traffic is less and the deliveries have tended to arrive on the earlier side of the time frame chosen. But, ordering during the week means the shelves in the actual store are more fully stocked and there is less chance that an item won’t be available.

I promise I’m not getting paid to write this post! Nor do I get anything for referring friends. It has just been such a huge help to me to have my groceries delivered… gotta share the love!

Now if I could just find someone who would deliver me a chai tea latte, I’d be all set!


6 thoughts on “Groceries on your doorstep

  1. I am still waiting for a chai tea latte delivery service too! :-) Only got 1 chai latte while in the US but, I savored it like it was gold. So yummy!

    So, I can totally relate to your post! We have the same thing here in Dhaka, which is WONDERFUL!!! And actually, the HQ office for our delivery service is just 1 block over from our house! All their fruits and veggies are organic, so I know I’m not getting chemically sprayed produce. The prices on everything else is the same as if I buy it at the store and I can use my credit card so, I don’t have to have cash at delivery. And, like you said, the best part is that I can do it in my jammies at 10pm at night if I want. It’s changed my life and I love it! So glad you have delivery service for groceries too!

    Hugs to you all and hope you are well!


    • Whaaaaat! Only ONE?!?

      I’ve actually nearly perfected my homemade chai recipe… give it a try!

      12 crushed cardamom pods
      8 whole cloves
      4 pieces of ginger (approx 1 inch each)
      6 cinnamon sticks
      3 whole all spice
      1 tsp anise
      1 vanilla bean
      1/4 tsp nutmeg
      2 Tbl honey

      Add 4 cups of water and simmer about 15 minutes. Your house will smell divine. Add 4 black tea bags and steep for about 5 minutes. Strain and store in the fridge. I use about half milk/half chai concentrate and it’s almost perfect!!

  2. This just put a huge grin on my face, Nicolette!! I could put myself into every part of your commentary! Been there! Done that is what I would have LIKEd to say, but my personal shopper was and almost exclusively still is Kirk! All those years of having one car and loads of kids–it didn’t help that shops closed at 1PM Saturday afternoon and opened again at 7 AM Mondays! And we lived in the country where, YES! our little village had a butcher, a baker and a candlest… a small grocery! BUT the big BUT here is that you were not allowed to buy the item you wanted–THEY in the white coat and white sandals with white socks were allowed to pick out the item THEY wanted you to have and, well, that just got old! Plus there were very limited quantities and we were aways given the oldest and rattiest of veg so Kirk was THE MAN! And my personal shopper! I could have scanned his bar code as he bought day in and day out the very same items regardless of a list I might have given him!

    Each country has its pros and cons and these days you could probably find a 24 hour market in Spittal Austria–you can in Ireland! But guess what?!? Kirk STILL does the grocery shopping! And we have the same items every time! And also guess what?!? It’s okay because it works!

    Through all of this ramble, I guess what I wanted to say the most was that I am super happy you found what works for you and gives you that extra boost to know you are giving your family the best part of you–a less stressed out wife and mom who now has more time for her family!

    You guys are a treasure to both Kirk and myself! Love reading your heartfelt posts! xox Sandlin

    • Oh Sandlin, I’m totally cracking up about you not getting to choose what you wanted when you went shopping! That happens here too and it totally baffles me! Love that Kirk has been doing your shopping all these years, and totally grinning at the fact that he buys the same thing each week no matter what is on the list! So great!

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