“Where the hell are the tinned tomatoes?!” Our thoughts on Waitrose ‘While you were away’ service.

Whatever the household chore there seems to be a smarter way to get it done these days.

We can compile our shopping lists with the help of voice assistants like Alexa, turn the heating on from our phones and even use robot vacuum cleaners to give the carpets a quick once-over.

But there’s one development in household maintenance that made me sit up and listen this week - the launch of the ‘While you were away’ delivery service by Waitrose.

The concept is simple - Waitrose is giving drivers the technology to not only deliver your shopping but unpack it while you’re out.

It’s being trialed in South London right now by customers with Yale smart locks who can set up temporary access codes for drivers. The code is securely sent to the delivery driver’s device at the time of arrival at the customer’s home. Once the driver is through the door they’ll pop fresh goods in the fridge, put frozen items in the freezer and leave other groceries on the kitchen counter or wherever the customer instructs. Each driver wears a bodycam throughout so customers can replay the footage to see what happened.

Now here at Maxoptra it’s safe to say the mere suggestion of this service split the office entirely.

On one side of the office there are those who relish the latest development in household technology - another brilliant life hack to free up time in their already busy schedules. It means no more waiting around for the online shopping to arrive, no more searching for a convenient delivery slot and certainly no awkward chit-chat with a driver carrying their umpteenth crate of goods through your door.

But for the other side of the office the thought of letting a stranger into your house while you’re out seems like a living nightmare. Even after the initial security debate, there were hang-ups over another person seeing the state of your fridge, trying to find space in your freezer or pushing last week’s half-eaten humous to the back of the refrigerator!

So with a tech-savvy office such as ours divided, it led us to ask ‘is technology taking it too far?’ Has it stepped over the threshold from convenience to creepy and starting to get a little too up close and personal for the mass market’s comfort?

Well here in the office the jury’s out - I guess we’ll have to see the results from the trial. And no matter what the reaction is, we always enjoy seeing innovation in delivery.

One thing is for sure though - it’s hard enough trying to find half the shopping when my partner has put it away - let alone a complete stranger! I might find myself cursing the new service when I’m rifling through my cupboards, searching for ingredients I swear we have while pans boil over.

But maybe that’s just me or maybe that’s the next development - a service where Waitrose will send out someone out at 6pm with a flashlight to show me exactly where those tinned tomatoes have got to.

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