So turns out, I’m not the only one going cuckoo as I struggle to manage my grocery shopping. Who knew buying some fruits, vegetables and basic household items could become the focal point of our everyday lives!

My WhatsApp group chats are literally exploding any time a friend manages to get their groceries delivered on the very same day they placed the order. THAT has become a legitimate cause for celebration.

Below, we take a look at some of the biggest challenges our fellow UAE residents are facing with their grocery shopping, as we try to offer some practical solutions.

“Grocery deliveries are taking longer than expected”

We, UAE residents, are lucky to have access to supermarket websites, online grocery stores and grocery delivery apps that make grocery shopping incredibly easy and convenient. However, the lockdown has driven up the demand for these services and stores are struggling to keep up. As a result, the apps and sites that promised same-day delivery are now allotting delivery slots two or three days after you place your order.

Daniel, a Dubai based expat, says, “I placed an order on a grocery delivery app that was supposed to be delivered in two days. But I just received a notification on the app stating that unprecedented demand has pushed them to change my delivery slot to one week from now! Now I have no option but to go out and buy my groceries, since I cannot wait so long for some of the essentials.”

Souqalmal Tip

To make sure you get the items you need delivered on time, place your order a few days in advance. Now, this may require a bit of planning on your behalf. You’ll need to check your kitchen cupboard and refrigerator and make a comprehensive list of what you need to order. You can also prepare a weekly meal-plan so you know exactly what fruits, vegetables and ingredients you need to order ahead of time.

“Help! The items I want are out of stock”

Imagine getting your mask and gloves ready to venture out into an ‘actual’ supermarket, only to find that the most important item on your shopping list is ‘out-of-stock’.

Those ordering groceries online have the same complaint. The high demand for online grocery delivery services is sweeping stocks of popular items off their shelves, and buyers often end up with various items missing from the order.

Liz, a Brit stay-at-home mum makes an interesting observation, “Apparently, the lockdown has unleashed a bread-baking frenzy. Everyone’s looking up home-made bread recipes, and as it turns out the key ingredient – bread flour or self-raising flour, is flying off supermarket shelves!”

Souqalmal Tip

Now is the time to get smart about alternatives. Disinfectant spray out of stock? You can simply mix 1/3rd cup of regular bleach with 1 gallon of water to make a disinfectant solution. Struggling to keep fresh milk delivered at home regularly? You can switch over to long-life milk or powdered milk for the time being. Not able to get the fresh fruit and vegetables you want? How about trying the frozen variant, or simply buying extra next time and freezing what you don’t need immediately.

And while we’re on the topic of grocery shopping, PLEASE avoid the urge to hoard and stockpile. Panic-buying can create a serious shortage of food, essential supplies and medical products. So, while it’s a good idea to stockpile a week or two’s worth of certain items, make sure you do so sensibly. The joke going around is that many household’s have already stocked up on toilet paper that can easily last them the whole year! Come on, it’s a lockdown not an apocalypse!

“I just got my groceries delivered. Are they Coronavirus-free?”

So the delivery guy arrives with your groceries and rings the bell. Now what? There’s a another person at your doorstep with a bag of items somebody else would have put together for you. How do you know for sure that these guys don’t have Covid-19 and that your items haven’t been contaminated.

The first step is taking care of the payment. Wear gloves while you hand over cash or use your card to make the payment. If using your card, make sure you wipe it down with a disinfectant later.

Not to sound paranoid, but experts suggest you discard all outer packaging wherever possible, and wipe down food packaging with an anti-bacterial wipes or disinfectant spray to make sure the items are sanitized before storing them in the cupboard or refrigerator.

Great news for all our users! We have partnered with JustMop to get you AED 40 Off Disinfection & Sanitization services for your home when you buy your Car Insurance from Souqalmal.