By now, many Americans have likely experienced the frustration. The groceries at home are dwindling, but the Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods delivery slots are filled up for weeks.
The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of new and odd realities for millions of Americans. One of those is a reliance on new forms of finding food and feeding ourselves.
Adrian Hertel has experienced much of the same. When the 23-year-old senior at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business moved to his parent’s house with his girlfriend after Georgetown’s campus closed, he was confronted with a conflict. His parents, who live in Princeton, New Jersey, are healthy. But Hertel’s dad is in his 60s and both of his parents have auto-immune conditions. Hertel didn’t want his parents going to the local grocery stores and he didn’t want to go himself and potentially pass it to his parents.
“My parents are still healthy, but I didn’t want to take risks,” Hertel says.
So he started researching grocery delivery sites and stores. Instacart. Costco. Walmart. “Either they didn’t deliver here or they were booked out for weeks,” Hertel says. He Googled how to get around the issues of sites being overwhelmed; suggestions were limited to checking the sites at midnight or other odd hours for a delivery slot. But that also didn’t yield much success.
“People were basically just refreshing, and that seemed like something you could automate — just have the computer hit ‘refresh,'” Hertel says.
HOW THE APP ACTUALLY WORKS
Hertel’s computer science interest goes back to high school when he says he had a particularly interesting and helpful teacher. Apple has some automation tools on its computers so Hertel started using those tools to create a way to automate refreshing on Amazon Fresh and Amazon’s Whole Foods delivery services. But when the Apple tools weren’t powerful enough, he used a scripting language to create a program that would automate the refreshing. And it worked. Hertel figured if it was working for him, other people with similar situations could probably use it. So he put it on Reddit. “People ended up really liking it a lot,” Hertel says.
JOB PROSPECTS BOOSTED THANKS TO THE APP
Hertel’s site says to keep the volume up so you can hear the notification when a slot is found. “Once you receive your order, please consider tipping if you can. They are exposing themselves to risk to protect us,” Hertel’s instructions conclude.
Hertel says he wants people to be able to use the Script to stay safe and healthy. But an added bonus Hertel didn’t expect is how it’s bolstered his job search. Before, Hertel says, he was reaching out to employers. Now it’s the other way around: Recruiters have contacted him to discuss job opportunities.
Hertel says he’s also received a lot of positive feedback from people letting him know how happy they are with the tool and how it’s made life easier for them.