Produced Fungibility

There are two Achilles heels (what is the plural of Achilles heel? Heeli? (It’s rhetorical, shut up)) with online grocery shopping.

The first is that the person fulfilling the order scans the UPC but doesn’t bother looking at the item.

Ordering Groundworks Angel City from Amazon, I have only once, in several orders, received the blend I ordered. Because someone entered the UPC codes incorrectly. Product to code mismatch.

Which could be fixed, but will always be present somewhere in the system. Though a smart visual recognition system could be used to catch some errors. I no longer order my Groundworks coffee through Amazon.

And the second one?

I don’t trust someone to select good produce. Produce is not fungible.

Supermarkets sell produce. A certain percentage of produce goes bad.

Customers are used to picking through produce to select (what they think) is the best produce (for their needs).

This customer selection criteria is baked in to the price of the product.

Overhead that we accept because a certain percentage of the produce will be disposed of by the supermarket.

But when the supermarket insists that we purchase whatever produce they provide, and a certain percentage of that produce will be less than ideal (by any subjective measurement of “ideal”) – that baked in cost that the supermarket accounted for is passed along to the consumer.

Without any benefit directly accruing to the consumer.

And then we start to distrust the selection and fulfillment procedure, ever so slightly. And then we become slightly disappointed.

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