The Race to Deliver
worth it for NYC consumers?
of Ben & Jerry’s, $5.59, two liters of Coke,
$2.49, and a four-pack of Scott toilet paper,
At a nearby independent halal grocery
store, a gallon of milk was $3.49, as advertised
by a sign taped to the front door,
2 liters of any soda, $2.49, and single rolls
of Scott toilet paper, $1.49.
We had some more trouble with brands
on JOKR. We fi lled the cart with a bottle
of Palmolive dish soap, $2.99 — slightly
more expensive than the Food Universe’s
most expensive bottle, which was $2.79,
but on par with a bottle of Ajax at the halal
store – a four-pack of Scott, $3.79, and 2
liters of Coke, $2.29. The cheapest eggs, a
dozen Alderfer “humane certifi ed” large
eggs, was $3.49, the cheapest loaf of bread,
“Mestemacher Fitness Bread,” $3.99, compared
to a $2.29 loaf of store-brand Italian
bread at Food Universe.
We couldn’t fi nd canned green beans,
but the closest item – a 12oz bag of fresh
beans — was $3.99, and a half-gallon of
Organic Valley 2 percent milk was $4.79.
All together, the haul was $25.51, plus
$0.81 in taxes and a $6.00 tip — $32.32
in total. At the time, the app noted that
delivery would likely take longer because
of the heavy rain.
Of course, your experiences with these
apps may vary.
‘It’s an atrocity’
Some aren’t sold on the idea of grocery
delivery apps, no matter how convenient or
cost-effective the companies promise they
Friends Jasmine Lee and Kahlil Robert
Buyk is expanding its influence as well.
Irving prefer to support local businesses and
know the owners.
Lee, who lives and works in Chinatown,
thinks “it’s an atrocity.” She prefers to pick
her produce and disagrees that using a grocery
delivery app is faster.
“It’s actually not very convenient,” Lee
said. “What’s more convenient than just
running down the street to your bodega?”
Kahlil Robert Irving, who lived in Brooklyn
and now calls St. Louis, Missouri home,
felt that the constant evolution of trying to
fi gure out how to make money by offering
more convenience was quite problematic for
“It’s about being human. This kind of evolution
of capitalism is dehumanizing,” Irving
expressed. “It’s demonizing the possibility
of relationships or sustaining interpersonal
David Bishop, a partner with Brick Meets
Click, a consulting company that works with
“conventional” grocery stores, said those
established brick-and-mortars know best.
“The retailer’s inventory ordering system
is fairly automated in the sense that
it’s looking at historical buying patterns,
overlaying that with other causal factors
like weather, and incorporating what the
current sales trends are to replenish that
stock,” Bishop said. “A traditional grocery
store has been around a long time, so their
understanding of what sells and what doesn’t
is far greater than what a new entrant who’s
coming in and trying to serve a specifi c need
may be able to do.”
Quick-delivery apps, for now, are focused
in dense urban areas. Since each small warehouse
serves a small area — maxing out at
2.5 miles, in the case of 1520 — there need
to be a lot of people living there.
The cost of purchasing enough land or
renting out a large enough building to run
a traditional grocery store is much higher
in New York City and the tri-state area than
in rural areas, Bishop said, so operating
out of a store with a smaller footprint, and
that doesn’t invite shoppers in, means those
companies have “comparable costs, although
lower to traditional brick-and-mortar
All stores try to reduce waste, he said,
because, in the end, it eats into their profi ts
— but he said the proof that carrying fewer
items would result in less waste “remains to
The third installment of “The Race to
Deliver” will focus on the potential and
current impacts grocery delivery apps may
have on bodegas, grocery stores and other
JOKR operating out of this flower truck. brick-and-mortar businesses.
Scchneepss Meediiaa Novvemberr 4,, 2021 17