Elite AgentEPM: First Person

The value of choice

Bob Dylan sung that The Time’s They Are A-Changin’, but is moving with modern technology really that simple? Fiona Blayney examines how change can only be truly cemented once we experience its benefits first-hand.

As I continued my crusade in the industry, shouting about the arrival of choice and the departure of disruption, I realised recently that I have started making different choices.

Choices I never thought I would make. You see, I love grocery shopping.

Yes, I know you may think I am strange, but cooking is my happy place. I’m no culinary wonder, but I find it therapeutic to work my way through family-style recipes or throw together a “Fiona combination” to feed a few people or the masses.

Walking the supermarket aisles, I stumble upon new ingredients, come up with inspiration for the next meal, and generally feel a sense of purpose outside of my business life.

I’m old school when it comes to where I shop.

I go to the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger, the greengrocer and even the newsagency to thumb through a newspaper over a coffee, some Sundays.

So my decision to recently do my grocery shopping online has quite a backstory – one that lends itself to the changing face of consumerism.

It started with a “bah humbug” approach to attending an evening event as it was cold, rainy and I had lost my enthusiasm after a hectic few months.

I had settled for attire to wear to the event that didn’t meet the brief, but I was in a “that will do” frame of mind.

Two days before the night out, I was working from home and my colleague Sarah’s face scrunched in a “you can’t wear that” way when I told her what outfit I planned to don.

A quick check in my wardrobe didn’t yield a better result.

With less than 48 hours to go I was at a loss as to how to solve this issue.

Then I remembered I had choices.

It was 1pm when I found myself online shopping, scrolling through a narrowed selection of evening dresses.

I put a tick in box three, selected a $12.95 upgrade for express delivery and continued with the rest of my day.

At 3pm there was a knock on my door and the trio of evening gowns had arrived.

By 3.30pm I’d tried them on, done a fashion parade for my stylist, also known as my seven-year-old, Olive, and received “two thumbs up” for the black evening gown.

I popped the other two dresses and sent them back, with no cost return policy.

Do you want to know the best part?

The dress I chose was 70 per cent off, and for $73 I had an evening gown ordered and delivered, within two hours, to my door.

With that such a success, I decided to try online grocery shopping when my five-year-old asked if we could play rather than going to the shops.

Flash forward a few weeks and, after a couple of slip-ups, I am surprised to see how much I am enjoying the process, saving money and reducing wastage.

I’m yet to buy meat online, and I’m not sure how I feel about not getting my fresh produce from its relevant boutique supplier, but the benefits are certainly weighing in favour of, dare I say it, online.

Morally I think about the small purveyor of foods at my local shops, and what will become of them if we all shop online.

I have no doubt the physical store aisles will call me back, but probably for a monthly fix, or that last minute item I forgot. However, not having to juggle family time with shopping time and the moments I got to play with Nina lend themselves to putting an extra tick in the online column.

It will be hard not to choose online grocery shopping for its convenience and efficiency.

Even though old habits are hard to break, perhaps it’s when the value becomes obvious that we all change.

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Fiona Blayney

Fiona Blayney is the founder and director of Real+, an industry first Property Management learning platform. For more info visit realplusonline.com.au.