Let’s explore some nonvisual methods for grocery shopping.
Grocery shopping independently can seem intimidating at first. Grocery stores are large and filled with printed inaccessible information.
Blind/low vision individuals all have their own methods for grocery shopping, and we recommend experimenting with the strategies outlined below so that you can find which system or combination of methods works best for you.
Whether blind or sighted, we at the Bridges Technical Assistance Center’s Helpdesk know that going in with a shopping list is always a helpful start! This will help you stay organized and save you future trips to the store to grab forgotten items and stay on budget.
In-Person Grocery Shopping
Many blind/low vision individuals prefer to shop in person for their groceries. Here are a few ideas on how this can be done:
If you go up to the customer service desk, which is usually located somewhere near the front of the store, you can ask them if you can get assistance from a store employee to help you shop. That individual can then walk with you around the store and assist you in obtaining the proper items. Some stores may request that you call in advance so that they can ensure to have an employee available to you when you arrive.
Friends and Neighbors
In college, most students do not have cars. Many students rely upon their friends who have cars to take them on grocery runs every now and again. You could always tag along with the group. Alternatively, many colleges and universities have shuttle systems that drop off near grocery stores, and you could then make a plan to go either with friends or independently. There are also many blind adults who have arrangements with family or neighbors to go grocery shopping together or who pay personal shoppers to accompany them to the grocery store.
Especially if you know your usual grocery store very well, you may find that you can easily go in and grab items of your choosing. Maybe you need to ask a question of a fellow customer here or there to clarify a specific item, or you use Aira, Be My Eyes, Seeing AI, or another visual assistance app to help along the way. Nothing wrong with a bit of adventure! Find out more about these visual assistance tools in the Bridges Resource Library’s Accessing Visual Information entry.
Online Grocery Shopping
Online grocery shopping was already on the rise, but the pandemic made its popularity even more widespread.
When you shop for groceries online, you will almost always have the option of picking your groceries up from the store, which you can do using an Uber, Lyft, or hired driver. You will also have the option of having the groceries brought directly to your home by a delivery driver.
We have experimented and we believe that the costs for pickup and delivery are comparable: either you are paying a driver to bring you to the store and back home, or you are paying delivery fees and a tip if the groceries are brought to your home.
Some examples of pickup and delivery ordering services include but are not limited to:
Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@imagemd.org
- Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546
- Voice mail: Call (410) 357-1546, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.
Updated as of September 17, 2023.