Alan Joseph Williams
Hello! I'm Alan, a former community manager at Neighborland. 

I think the Federal Flood and the recovery really changed the way I think about the world around me. Our cities are what we make them, and that has been true all along. I am interested in how we can cultivate a conversation about our future that is not only more inclusive, but more effective.

Every generation, people work to make their community a more just, prosperous, and beautiful place. I want Neighborland to help start conversations between those who dedicate their time and energy to improving their community, and those that want to get involved but aren't sure how--and maybe even those folks that haven't really thought about it before.
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Anders Peterson
Teija Ahlfors
 Adams Street Cultural Development and Event Center
Dat Grocery Delivers
Eamon O'Connor
Мартин Стојчевски
Ryan Croft
Tom K.
Lance McNeill
MacKenzie Stout

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Alan Joseph Williams

Great idea. I feel like "groceries delivered" has been a promising business model for a while, but hasn't worked out in many places. I remember a service called "Peapod" from like 1999. It's good to hear that it is possible---now I wonder what is preventing it from proliferating.

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Posted Apr 6, 2012
Christian Day
Christian Day
Apr 8, 2016

[updated commentary part one]

It is quite some time after my initial post and I've noticed that all we've got is the broken Robert's Fresh Market site that's still broken, and Dat Grocery style services.

The Dat Grocery style solution would even begin to work for me because they are missing the very thing that makes online grocery shopping the time saver that it is. With Dat Grocery, for example, I have to sit there and enter in each item, each time, which not only is time-consuming but allows for more error. I think what most of these services fail to understand is that the delivery part of the grocery process is *not* the real time-saver. It's like five minutes each way to drive to our nearby Rouses. The TRUE time-saver is the lists, which Robert's Fresh Market does not have—but then it takes one minute to go from page to page on that site so the process is broken anyways.

When I used Peapod up north, I made lists. They would take a couple of hours to create to have our brand of mayonnaise, our favorite cereals, our favorite coffee, etc. Now this is where that best comes into play. I could then go into that list to do my regular orders and, I actually tested this once, I was able to do $500 worth of grocery shopping in under ten minutes.

I see that with Dat Grocery, you can upload lists, but then I would have to build a spreadsheet of all my favorite brands, manually copied and pasted from some random grocery site like Peapod and not even knowing whether that brand is available at whatever grocery stores Dat Grocery delivers from and trying to remember every possible brand while I'm in the grocery store and taking notes would certainly cause me to forget numerous brands. And what's more, even once I create a spreadsheet of every imaginable product, I still have to manually copy each row at a time from Excel to create whatever list I'm going to paste into the field for Dat Grocery.

Posted by Christian Day on Apr 8, 2016
Christian Day
Christian Day
Apr 8, 2016

[Updated commentary part two]

I have been at the Web development and design game for 22 years and if there's anything I've learned, it's that convenience will out in the end and those who resist convenience will be replaced by those who do not. This divide of understanding on the part of the grocery industry reminds me strongly of all those people that can't understand why Uber, even with its crazy (and sometimes murderous) drivers and opaque customer service, is rapidly becoming so much more popular than taxis. It's because Uber solves the biggest problems many of us have with taxis: having to pay cash (and some are still demanding cash online here in NOLA even though it's illegal to do it.), knowing where your driver is on a map and how soon they'll be there rather than wondering and calling and wondering and calling, and having to dig out cash for tips rather than just include them. You get in. You get out. Easy peasy. The taxi industry ignores all of these components to Uber's success and just randomly tosses it off to government favoritism. It's got nothing to do with favoritism and everything to do with convenience. When an industry refuses to acknowledge why another approach is better, they lose the edge to those willing to play to what the market wants, hence why so much of what we use everyday now comes from Amazon Subscribe & Save. It's just easier and, with that, I don't even have to order anything every month. It all just shows up.

If Roberts Fresh Market site didn't take up to a minute and sometimes more to go from page to page, I'd probably bookmark all my favorite products into a bookmark folder to compensate for the lack of lists, but the site is so slow that I could probably do $10,000 worth of grocery shopping in Baton Rouge and be back before I was done with a hundred dollar order on Roberts' website.

Posted by Christian Day on Apr 8, 2016
Christian Day
Christian Day
Apr 9, 2016

I just don't know how Robért Fresh Market stays in business. After several emails to them and now Facebook messages about their broken website, I finally get this response:

"Christian- We apologize for your experience on our online shopping portion of our site. It is an area that we continually try to improve and are currently working on. In the meantime, we'd be happy to take your delivery or personal shopping orders via phone, fax, or email, if that is easier for you. Thank you for your patience."

Um, ask any credible web development company, ad agency, or marketing firm. They will all tell you that it is better to have no web site than a patently broken one. And who faxes anymore? I swear the people doing the market research think people in New Orleans are all living in shacks in the swamp with no electricity or running water.

I would never shop at Robért Fresh Market at this point. If they're this ok with a completely broken and unusable website, I can only imagine what the quality of their groceries are, and I'm not in the mood for salmonella.

Posted by Christian Day on Apr 9, 2016
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