S’oft the grid

Another beautiful day.  But cold.  Sal’s going up to the post office for the new food delivery sorting that is now happening every two weeks.  We all order one week in advance and then the BIG village order goes in by way of the net.   SaveON does the shopping and boxing, a taxi takes it to the water taxi and then it comes out a couple of days later.

The water taxi pulls up to the public wharf, dumps it all in a heap and a few of the locals (Sal and gals) ‘sort it’ back to the individual orders and put those orders in the freight shed.  Then, over the course of a few hours, the various ‘customers’ come by to pick up their order.  It is starting to work rather well.

Every week is, however, a bit different from the previous ones.  Sometimes all the items ordered get delivered in the manner one would hope.  Most times, there is a shortage of something and so the SaveON shopper makes an executive decision and the customer gets a pound of broccoli instead of the cauliflower they wanted.  Sometimes the shopper is less caring and simply deletes the item and there is nothing in it’s stead.

And sometimes, because SaveON up here was new to all this delivery-thing, or maybe  because the Virus is influencing everything, a whole bunch of screw ups can happen.  Our food coordinator may or may not complain depending but, to be fair, we knew this whole thing would take time to ‘sort out’ and so there has been general acceptance of just about everything so far.

And sometimes we screw up.  Someone orders 3 pounds of butter but the three was typed in wrong and they were put down for only one pound.  Human and computer  error all over the place.

It’s a costly business but worth it.  Especially in the time of Virus.  The taxi adds $25.00.  The water taxi is $50.00 for 150 pounds.  Our coordinator takes a small fee.  If it were just me and Sal ordering and we ordered 150 pounds of food that say, cost $300.00, our additional charge would be at least $75-80.  Or $380.00 for $300 worth of food.  But, but, but……….we did not have to go to town, we did not have to wait for a ferry or pay for one.  We did not use $30.00 worth of gas (boat and car) and we did not have to ‘do the work’ or buy lunch.

I did an analysis some time ago and, counting everything, (car maintenance, insurance, depreciation, time, labour, boat expenses and general frustration that old guys have with shopping) I figured going into town cost at least $100 whether I bought anything or not.  So, the new water-taxi-shopping is actually SAVING money despite seeming costly.

Of course, with neighbours pitching in with their orders, our coordinator makes her time worthwhile, the cost per customer drops and SaveON treats us better and better the bigger the orders become.  So, making this popular is the right thing to do and so we are all ‘talking it up’.

BUT get this!  Because the government is throwing money at virus-caused problems, they are helping to keep people isolating at home by subsidizing food deliveries!  And that means that (we have figured roughly) if they approve us (and we are more eligible than most since so many of us are seniors) we will likely pay only a 1/3 or a half of the extra costs what we paid before.  That has not yet happened and may not.  But, if it does, we have the system, we have the volunteers and we have the need.  It could be very, very good.

The biggest flaw in the program is that no one is saying out loud that they will shop and deliver booze.  Yes, wine and spirits are a legal product and the government is the purveyor but I doubt that the LCB has a designated shopper and, even if they did, they are kinda set in their ways and so making that popular with LCB staff would be tough.  So far, booze is not on the menu.

So, there you go…..a little more ‘daily life OTG’ to contemplate.  Pretty damn civilized if you ask me.  I recall not too long ago (15 years) fetching water from the stream in buckets, showering with sun-warmed plastic bag water and cooking on a Coleman stove.  A bucket in the bushes served as a toilet.  And all day was spent in hard labour.

We are spoiled rotten now.

PS. Sal’s back. Seems this week was $1700.00 worth of food. That represents about a dozen orders. Ours was, once again, one of them. It took three women about 90 minutes to do the sorting and re-boxing. And, of course, no one got everything they ordered save one lone bachelor who tried the service for the first time. He got all he ordered. One box. We missed out on paper towels and bleach but we got three boxes. At this rate, we’ll probably average 15 customers every two weeks pretty soon and that represents a lot of saved town-trips.

8 thoughts on “S’oft the grid

  1. I’m heartened to see the power of individuals working together in a group, or a club, a hive, or gasp, a collective. Kudos to everyone.


    • Thanks, Sid. I am, too. We now have a home support worker (a local, one day a week person) and now this food delivery service. We also usually have a ‘social’ time every week in the summer with the Wednesday lunch-on-the-dock and every two weeks in the winter when the doctor comes. Prescriptions come in with the mail and some things can be delivered (anything under the size of a loaf of bread). And everyone shares what they can when they can. It’s good. And slowly but obviously, it is getting better every year.


  2. well , i guess with the nanaimo to horseshoe bay ferry shut down indefinitely….yer glad you didnt leave paradise.
    The Duke point to Tsawwassen ferry is still running.


    • One of us is wrong…..I just looked up the schedule and Departure Bay to West Van remained the same. There is a notice on the page that says, “We may change this schedule at any time – which seems weird. Why not give a few days notice? Anyway, we are still planning our escape. Planning on passing by a guy standing on the side of some road in the afternoon of Tuesday….


      • The wrong person is me. They left the old schedule up. Anyway, you are right. I may do the Tsawassen route but I am gonna rethink the whole adventure. Thanks for the heads up.


  3. The Duke Point ferry isnt too bad.
    You still leave from Nanaimo and it drops you off in Tsawwassen terminal. a 3 hour ride. no biggy just boring, nothing to see but other boats
    But in Tsawwassen …….You avoid all the North Van crap traffic.
    Not so bad.
    I’m just not 100% sure about their reduced sailing times…since they havent posted them yet.

    BC Ferries. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back


  4. I am only mentioning the half of it. There a groups and plans afoot all over. And they are GOOD plans and groups. Very gratifying.


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