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Bringing the goods home

By Staff and wire report

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2000

Convenience is on the menu at Web sites such as Westwood, Mass.-based

So far, the site is available only in the Boston and Washington areas. Members who pay a $30 monthly fee can shop for groceries, rent videos or have their shoes fixed. The fee includes the installation in a customer's garage of a shelving unit with a full-size refrigerator-freezer and a keypad entry system so customers do not need to be at home to receive a delivery.

All the products and services cost extra and can be paid for by credit card.

When a customer signs up, the company comes to the family's home to take a kitchen inventory. Then it creates a customized online shopping list with the food that family likes to eat. The customer can work off that list, as well as add to it.

The service also allows customers to designate items that need to be delivered regularly, such as milk, and a personal preferences guide to let Streamline know, for example, how thin to slice deli meats.

Here are some sample prices: $2.79 a pound for 85 percent lean ground beef; $3.19 for a gallon of whole milk; $3.29 for a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream; $4 for a video rental for a week; and $6.60 for a book of postage stamps.

A check of a Washington grocery showed the beef ($2.99 a pound) and ice cream ($3.65) were more expensive at the store than online, but the milk ($2.59) was less expensive, as was the video rental ($3.68).

Customers have an assigned delivery day and can order as late as 11 the night before.">

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