Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting groceries delivered in Korea

Everyone has everything delivered.* This sounds like an over-generalization, but I assure you it is NOT. Just take my word for it. Let me give you some background information on grocery shopping in Korea.

The little neighborhood grocery: You can see pictures of our neighborhood grocery here. They have the basics: cereal, coke zero (diet coke is not sold in ROK), bread, milk, root vegetables, ground pork, shampoo. It's small, it has a limited selection, but it's convenient and they deliver-you go, shop and pay and they put all of your goods in a bag, then put that bag in a basket on the back of a motorbike and drop it off at your door. It's good, but they don't have beans and they only have small jars of peanut butter.

HomePlus: HomePlus has beans. HomePlus is a British store and they have a good selection of foreign foods (by the way, foreign in this case means American). Because it is so crowded, the only reasonable time to go to HomePlus is Sunday morning-and, in my opinion, Sunday morning is not a reasonable time to grocery shop.

Costco: The best place to get foreign foods is Costco. It's expensive but they have tortillas and Fruit by the Foot and Skippy peanut butter. However, you know how you complain about Costco on a Saturday? What you experience at Costco on a Saturday is what Seoul Costco is like when it's not very busy. I love Costco, and I can't stand going to the one here.

I have started to realized that I'm missing out on a huge benefit of living in Korea: buying groceries online and having them delivered. HomePlus has a great website. It's in Korean, but it has pictures. You go through, click what you want, choose your delivery time -delivery is only $3 by the way-and pay your money. Let me tell you about the hours and hours I put in to this. Telling myself the whole time that it would be worth it in the end (spoiler alert: it wasn't).

I'm going to give you the long story short through these pictures:
There's something about using a USB provided by the bank for online purchases.
I tried to find out at my bank. I never got a clear answer.
This is Huh Chul showing me how to shop online.

Hey HomePlus, I will give you money in exchange for groceries.

Huh Chul calls and finds out that because my bank information is in my
name and our phone is in Jim's name, they won't let me pay online. This is for
security purposes.

Huh Chul calls for backup

I don't even know what this is. Some sort of tease I think.
 I went back to work and was pretty sure the matter could be settled. I was wrong.

HomePlus could learn a lot from Amazon. Amazon LOVES to
 take money from me in exchange for goods. "1 click" shopping, anyone?

Chloe calls Huh Chul to get more information.

Two TAs try to help me. No dice
I was told that foreigners can't shop online at HomePlus. If you know something different, let me know.

So there's another site, ezshopkorea where you can shop online on this English website and orders over $250 have free delivery. This site has foods from Costco and a few from HomePlus. At first the prices seemed outrageous, but after shopping at Costco for 7 months, I finally see that I spend at least that much every time I go. If you haven't lived in Korea before, you may look at this website and think to yourself "$15 for a regular size container of Quaker oatmeal?! That's insane!" It is insane, but what can you do? Survive off of root vegetables?

Today, for the first time, we had groceries delivered to our door!
*I remembered this after I first published this post-HEY AMERICA! KING SOOPERS (Kroger) DELIVERS groceries for $10.

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