By avi maxwel / in , , , , /

Susan Keezer

When it became possible to fire off a grocery list online to your favorite store and tick either “deliver” or “pick up,” I immediately saw roses, butterflies, angels and boxes of Godiva chocolates floating in front of my eyes.

Could it be that what I needed to stock the shelves in my pantry could appear by magic without me having to put on boots, a heavy coat with gloves that weigh 13 pounds and shuffle through 9 feet of snow to try to find my car? Then have to wait two hours for the windows to de-ice? This was surely some magnificent gift.

Buying online made sense for someone like me who, if turned loose in a store, is apt to think to her nonsensical self: “Aha! We’ve not had catfish with spinach quiche and chocolate mousse some time…” Or decide to stock up on screwdrivers if they are on sale.

Yes, online shopping was designed for me.

I could choose a department then decide how many kumquats I wanted or crates of pomegranates. What a boon this was! I was efficient and very quickly ordered what I wanted.

This order came to $513.22. Something was wrong with the site. I called customer service immediately. The nice person told me that, no, the amount was correct and went through the list with me.

Chastened and embarrassed, I thanked her and hung up. I started at the top of the list and started pruning it. Then I went back to the various departments to look at them again. I soon found out how I had messed up.

I had wanted a bag of tortilla chips. simple? No. In today’s world, many types of tortilla chips are available: salsa, lime, salt-free, jalapeño, fired so hot that there was steam in the bag, round, triangular, family-sized, restaurant-sized, blue, thin, sour cream and chives, and scoops. You could buy guacamole, avocados, jalapeño peppers, onions — both red and white — jars of pickles, charcoal, paper plates, napkins, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars. On this site I could also buy any soft drink produced in the US of A. You see where this was going: cross-marketing at its best. One simple bag of tortilla chips could explode into a picnic ending with s’mores.

If you wanted tortilla chips, it followed that you might want any of the above items so the store helped you out by showing them to you in bright colors.

it worked! I had purchased two different kinds of tortilla chips: round and lime flavored. Jars of salsa and guacamole had also managed to land in my cart.

Next department: meat. I had to decide whether to buy 75% fat-free, 80% fat-free, 95% fat-free ground beef or give the whole thing up and buy ground turkey or … ground chicken.

There is something off-putting about the look of ground chicken. It lies there, wrapped in clear plastic. It shows no interest in being picked up, it appears shy. It shows none of the pizzazz of ground beef.

Beef sort of hums as it lies there. It’s confident and knows it will be chosen. Not ground chicken. It’s the new kid on the block. It’s tentatively circling the sand with one toe, hoping at least the ground turkey with saying, “Hello, new here in town, are you?”

I tap the button to add a pound of ground chicken to my cart.

No. I just cannot do it. I canceled the chicken but added a pound of ground beef. Why do I feel guilty?

I continue to scroll down and, of course, this meal would not be complete without potato salad.

Just as I thought I was finished shopping, I realized I had not purchased the basics I needed: milk, butter, eggs, bread and coffee.

I quickly find those and jerk my eyes back away from the multitude of items tied in with those simple items, like pecan butter laced with honey produced by bees imported from an obscure island south of India.

I hit the cash out button. The total cost of my order is $89.34 plus delivery and a tip. What? It is clear I need to practice ordering groceries online. Once more I start at the top of the list. We did not need six bags of lime-flavored tortilla chips, and we did not need four jars of salsa or five red onions.

It takes some practice to order online. I didn’t buy the six lurid magazines that drew your attention while you were waiting at the checkout line, did I?

But somehow, 24 mini-cupcakes were ordered.

Susan Keezer lives in Adrian. Send your good news to her at lenaweesmiles@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Susan Keezer: Grocery shopping online takes practice