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Why I Finally Decided To Stop Pushing a Shopping Cart
OPINION 10/06/2039 1:55 AM ET
Why I Finally Decided To Stop Pushing a Shopping Cart

Marcia Mbelowo
Volleyball afficionado, tech lover

CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license Hunger Games by Johnny Silvercloud | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Faces at the Pow Wow by Tony Alter | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Goodbye to a shopping cart, hello cold, anti-social means of purchasing groceries.
So yesterday I decided to take the plunge, and move into the 21st century. I bought a subscription to ShopBud.

For those of you who have let the tidal wave of marketing wash over you, ShopBud is a drone shopping service which you subscribe to on a yearly, monthly, or weekly basis.

Step one is creating a shopping list. Confirming and submitting it, and providing payment details (payment is accepted before your order is created).

Step two is the drone itself, actually navigating a drone-only supermarket in a warehouse, picking up your groceries from massive boxes around the facility, and dropping them into your box at one end.

Thousands of drones buzzing around, picking up and dropping off groceries. I saw a clip of this process on JooClip (since taken down). It's like a swarm of fireflies buzzing around in perfect synchronicity, never hitting each other, never getting in each others' way. Each drone is wirelessly connected to the facility's server which coordinates every drone's activities based on the size of your order, its place in the queue, etc.

It looks lethal for humans, but awesome for quick shopping.

Step three is the drone sealing your box, picking it up, and flying it to your house, come rain, hail, snow or shine. It lowers it to your front or back door depending on your selection (when ordering you can even snapshot a map image of your yard and tell it where to drop if you like!). If you don't have a yard, say if you live in an apartment, it will call you when it gets near your building, and will deliver to you personally, in a box or boxes, for easy handling.

For a small extra fee, you can order items to be placed in bags before they are added to your box, so you don't have to unload thirty cans of beans one at a time. Also, the box is nice and narrow and comes with a plastic handle, so if it's not heavy you can sort of drag it through your front door and into your house. Easy!

The convenience of this service is staggering. No more pushing a shopping cart! No more having to fight strangers for a car park, no more having to fight strangers for a spot near the packed pasta so I can find the organic penne I really want. No more having to spend forty minutes on a crucial chore.

The one thing that bothers me - and I don't know if it's a bothers me or just bothers me - is the incrementally isolating nature of this convenience. Don't get me wrong, shopping was never my favorite chore. But is it healthy for us to withdraw from interacting with others in so many different areas of life? Is it what's really good for us? Are we meant to gather with other village locals in the marketplace and talk about the village idiot, and exchange with each other? Is it how we're wired?

I'm never pushing a cart again, but have we lost more than we have gained?
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