How to Know if Your Supermarket Is Full Before You Go

Gabriela Arevalo
April 01, 2020 - 9:54 am

For millions of people around the world, the coronavirus pandemic means that they’re staying home as much as possible, and only venturing out for necessities like food and medicine.

While some people have been able to take advantage of grocery delivery services, if you’re not able to do so or feel more comfortable going to the store in person, there’s a way to figure out when the store won’t be as crowded for you to go pick up your groceries.

All you need to do is search for the supermarket you plan to go to on Google Maps, either online or via the mobile app, reports Gizmodo.

Under the “overview” tab you can find the popular times for every day of the week, which is useful if you’re planning a trip later in the day or week, but it also gives you an idea of how many people are there at the moment compared to other times, complete with average wait times.

Word to the wise: the program uses data that it collects from people who have the Google Maps app on their phones and who share their information with the tech giant, so the more popular the app is in your area, the more accurate the prediction will be.

Google Maps isn’t alone in providing this type of information to consumers – OpenTable, the restaurant reservation app, has expanded its services to “grocery stores, permitted major retailers, restaurants turned pop-up shops and to-go concepts,” reports Good Morning America.

Participating retailers can work with OpenTable to show shopping times that people can reserve in advance. The app can also feature a waitlist at the door to reduce the number of people in an establishment at a time.

According to a statement, the reservation ability is "geared toward managing crowd control and creating a safer option for high-risk shoppers to get groceries without a line."

The tool is available nationwide after an initial rollout on the West Coast. It will be completely free to use.

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