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The Bizarre World of Online Grocery Store Substitutions

Ajanay Barnes and her roommate were craving ice cream one night, they used the grocery-shopping app Instacart to load up a basket at Walmart. They asked for strawberry shortcake ice cream. They received sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast rolls. After delivery, Instacart issued a refund. The breakfast rolls are uneaten in Ms. Barnes’s freezer. She said, “I was craving this one specific ice cream. I guess Walmart had other plans.”

Global supply chains are in turmoil and supermarket shelves are looking sparse. So, order packers are winging it. Roses swapped for bell peppers. A thermometer switched for mac and cheese. A rapid COVID test traded for Halls lozenges.

An Instacart spokeswoman said high demand and supply-chain issues have troubled many of its grocery partners. Instacart gives replacement recommendations, the spokeswoman said. Online shoppers have been left amused, puzzled, and annoyed. Rhett Mitter said, “As there’s been different supply-chain issues and shortages, you notice some weird, weird substitutions.”

Mr. Mitter said he needed horseradish to make a sauce for shrimp with his wife, Jenna. Despite ordering it from Whole Foods, the product wasn’t available. The substitute delivered? Beets. She said, “We joked about it. You can’t make cocktail sauce with Ketchup and beets.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Delivery services are making some off-the-wall substitutions. But God never substitutes inferior products in answer to our prayer requests and there is never any supply issues with God. “If his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? (Matt 7:7-11; Luke 11:11-13). If God does substitute it is for our good and “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

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