We did a story a few days ago about the fastest-growing careers in Texas. There is one job that I didn't see on the list, that surely needs to be there.

It's the people who fill curbside orders for Walmart or H-E-B or eCommerce orders, also orders for delivery. It would seem that this type of shopping is growing fast.

Maybe this job isn't listed on the list of the fastest-growing jobs because this job really doesn't have an official name yet. I've heard them called "pickers". Google says the people who work in grocery stores to collect the items for curbside pickup or delivery are called "curbside pickup associates" or "curbside pickup attendants.

H-E-B has a position they call "Customer Service Rep--In-Store shopper who selects sorts and unloads items to complete eCommerce online orders. Other chains call the personal shoppers.

Photo: H-E-B via YouTube
Photo: H-E-B via YouTube

Whatever they're called, now more than 50% of grocery stores nationwide are offering curbside pickup and delivery.  Things really started taking off during the pandemic. In 2021, Chain Store Age says 61% of customers report using curbside pickup this year. That is up 9% over the previous year.

Grocery delivery service percentages stayed steady at 41%, probably because there is a charge for delivery.

The process is simple for the shopper. Go online on the retailer's app and order your groceries, pay for them, then choose a pickup time.  They give you a window.  Usually, they send a text to let you know when your order is ready.

Drive to the designated pickup location at the store and follow the instructions on the sign by the space where you park. Soon, your order is delivered. It's that easy.

What's not easy is the whole tipping thing. Should you tip? How much? H-E-B says it is totally up to the customer if and how much you should tip your personal shopper if that's what we agree to call them.

I've used the curbside pickup at both of the areas' Walmart and H-E-B stores. Both are fast and convenient. Walmart curbside used to make a lot of mistakes, but they always made it good no questions asked, and sometimes they offered larger sizes at the same price if they had run out of the smaller size you ordered.

H-E-B was always accurate from the first time I used them.

Photo: H-E-B via YouTube
Photo: H-E-B via YouTube

The logistics of curbside and delivery on the store side are considerable. Not only do they have to collect the items and store them until ready for pickup, but refrigerated items also have to be separated.

Personal shoppers often remark on Indeed that they are being thrown into the job with little training. Often, I see them when going back to in-store shopping looking confused as to where to find certain items.

Most are younger than I am, but I'm not sure I appreciate that one "personal shopper" took the personal a little too far on my last store visit. They asked me if I knew where the Depends adult diapers were.

Do I look like I need them? Really?

Personal shoppers use those large carts and often they get in the way when you're in the store trying to shop. I'm certainly no Karen, but it can be hard trying to get the items you want in-store when those gigantic carts are clogging the aisles.

Maybe stores offering curbside and delivery should have a whole shadow store just for the personal stoppers. Feel free to steal this idea. Who am I kidding, most stores won't even pay to have live checkout people anymore, they aren't going to do that.

Personal shoppers clogging the aisles might be part of the stores' grand plan.

Photo: H-E-B Via YouTube
Photo: H-E-B Via YouTube

If they make it more difficult to shop in-store, more people will go to curbside pickup and then they can start charging a huge fee for the privilege. (Although you may pay a surcharge if your curbside order doesn't fit a certain minimum amount, see store for details) You're not fooling me. Then again, I sometimes fall for conspiracy theories online.

You must admit though none of the curbside delivery retailers have pledged that it will always be a free service. Mark my word when it happens.  You heard it here first.

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