Grocery pickup, ClickList, curbside express, whatever you call it, are now a way of life in this household. Regardless of what service you use, the offering has been a game-changer for families across the nation, especially now. As a busy, working mom ordering my groceries online and picking them up from the store without ever having to leave my car is something I would pay big money for, even though it’s usually free now. It’s all about convenience. It took a pandemic for me to appreciate this behavior truly, so when I read last week in the Indianapolis Business Journal about legislation being considered in the Indiana General Assembly to take away some of this convenience potentially, I was shocked. You can read the article here for more details, but the short version is that the General Assembly is considering a bill which would prevent anyone from adding alcohol to curbside pickup grocery orders, regardless of whether you are 21 or over, an ability that Hoosiers have had for almost a year now. Not convenient and not cool, in my book.
Last year, shortly after the initial COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Eric Holcomb saw the increased need for grocery pickup services. He issued an emergency order allowing alcohol to be included as a pickup option, along with your eggs, milk, and other groceries. Candidly, it’s one of the few positives to have come from this pandemic. In addition to grocery stores, you can also use curbside pickup for a growler at your favorite brewery, some wine at the local liquor store, or maybe even a margarita kit from the local Mexican restaurant under the governor’s order. To the extent that any sector of the economy has performed well over the last year, the playing field was level so that everyone could compete and benefit in alcohol sales. As long as that emergency order is in place, that practice can continue. However, as the General Assembly examines what practices they feel should be allowed moving forward, State Representative Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) wants to strip away our ability to get all our shopping done at once because he believes it will hurt small businesses if we also buy alcohol at the same place where we buy our groceries and we pick it up curbside. Absurd doesn’t even begin to describe this point of view, especially when retailers have been responsibly practicing curbside pickup for a year. They are trying to say that I can buy alcohol in that store, but I can’t have someone bring that to my car, even though I’m over 21. However, I can order chips, bread, milk, etc., from the same store and have that all delivered to my car, no problem.
Our family has supported and will continue to support many small businesses throughout this pandemic and beyond, often going out of our way and incurring additional costs to do so. It’s the right thing to do. The governor was smart to enable grocery stores to offer curbside pickup for alcohol because it’s a safer option in a pandemic. It makes people’s lives a little easier, with no negative consequences. Why should we go back to pre-COVID restrictions and take that convenience and freedom away? I know I am not alone in my frustration over this possible change. The extra stop we’ll now have to make, possibly even going inside a store, something some of us have tried to avoid for our health and the health of our families. However, if we can be even more efficient during the rules of a pandemic, and in this case, it’s clear that we have been, why not lock in the new guidelines instead of making life harder for families?
As moms, our time is precious. The time we save alone in getting kids in and out of the car to go into a grocery store makes curbside pickup a godsend. If I can avoid spending an hour in the grocery store and pick up my groceries (alcohol included) without getting out of my car, I will continue to do so. The pandemic allowed us to try something out (for a year), and it is working. Why take a step back? Why make life less convenient for busy parents? Let everyone have curbside pickup. It’s safe, convenient, and should be here to stay.