To be fair, the majority was too poor to afford it before- people ate a lot less meat, and/or ate a lot more of the cheap, "non-butcher" alternatives like canned meat and sausages and so on, back in those days.
Broomstick wrote:There's more to the whole store thing than simply obtaining goods - many people feel a need to get out of the house. Many people like to look at and even touch items prior to buying, particularly produce. The geek fantasy of us all spending all our time in tiny room hunched over a keyboard and having everything we need delivered to our doors is appealing to only a small fraction of the human race.
On top of which - internet delivery does NOT mean eliminating brick-and-mortar overhead. You still need warehouses, distribution centers, and so forth which costs money and requires overhead, and believe me, plenty of theft and diversion occurs in the back room of a store as well as in the front. Seriously, did you think the material items of someplace like Amazon exist in a some mysterious alternate realm until ordered?
If you go to a delivery model for everyone
, you basically need to fill the shopping carts from a warehouse that is functionally very
similar to a supermarket. Because you can't load the shopping carts directly from pallets in a warehouse; you have to 'break bulk,' put the individual items in places where they can be individually retrieved and placed into the 'basket' or cart or whatever of goods that will be heading to that particular customer.
Even assuming you have robot cars doing the delivery, you also
need to somehow automate the process of breaking bulk, gathering up the goods into the individual carts, making sure that the goods loaded into the carts aren't accidentally damaged in the loading process (or already damaged when they're pulled off the shelves).
If you have that being done by human workers, you probably haven't saved much (or any) money on staff compared to the level of staffing that a normal grocery store has. After all, in a normal grocery store the customers do much of that work themselves, and as a corollary will generally not fault the store if it's done poorly. If someone picks up a leaky milk jug they find out quickly or only have themselves to blame; it doesn't get delivered to their doorstep after twenty minutes in the trunk of a robot car that causes the milk to soak the rest of the groceries. Since that aspect of the job is already "self-serve" and automation isn't quite up to doing it yet, that imposes a delay for food delivery.