“I always make a list before I go to the grocery store. Sometimes I even remember to bring it with me.” — Anonymous
Mobile technology has improved our lives in myriad ways. Not all of these enhancements are in the domain of productivity at work, or in the areas of personal entertainment and social contact. It has, for example, enhanced the way we do daily, mundane things like grocery shopping.
Getting a consolidated grocery list with four people in our house was not an easy thing to do. Up until a year ago, we had innumerable problems with merging and coordinating individual lists. Since I am the one who shops for groceries, I’d have to coordinate with my mother, my wife, and my son to get a consolidated list. I’d be handed sticky notes, or get voice or text messages. Almost invariably, I’d miss something and would have to make another trip.
We tried various methods with moderate success, but nothing was comprehensive. One of us would forget something, or wouldn’t be reachable when I was putting the list together. No matter what we tried, it was inefficient, cumbersome, and error-prone.
AnyList to the rescue
After getting an AnyList Complete account, which at $12 a year is cheap for the flexibility it offers, we installed it on our devices. I then created a shared grocery-shopping list in a few minutes and invited all my family members to become members of that list. Now, any of us can populate the grocery list whenever we remember something or want to add something to the list, and it would update the shared list instantaneously.
AnyList comes pre-populated with most grocery items, but you can also add your own. (Ours has some really exotic Indian spices.) Additionally, you can insert a picture for each item, an especially useful feature for people like me who sometimes don’t know which brand or flavor of a particular item someone wants.
Now, I can shop whenever I have the time or when I have scheduled the errand. I go to the store, pull out my iPhone, and the current list is waiting for me.
The joy of “and oh! this too …”
One of the greatest benefits of AnyList, which we discovered accidentally, was “instant notifications.” As I shopped, I’d just have to tap the item to mark it as “done,” and when I did that, it would instantly update the others’ devices, and provided they had turned on instant notifications, it would ping them each time I crossed something off. Often, when my mother realized that I was in the store because of the “ping,” she’d remember something else, and quickly add it to the list. This would pop up on my iPhone while I was in the store. I don’t know about you, but I find that simply awesome.
AnyList has added some nice features like creating shopping lists from imported recipes. Our family hasn’t experimented with them; if you find one of those features useful, drop us a note in the comments section. Or let me know at @evernoteguru or [email protected]