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How to manage your shopping lists with Alexa

How to manage your shopping lists with Alexa


Don’t forget to pick up a dozen eggs

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

I usually remember that I was supposed to buy something at the supermarket the instant I get home from my weekly grocery run. For whatever reason, I’m bad at keeping written lists, and making a note on my phone is just too complicated.

But telling Alexa? Yeah, I can do that.

You don’t have to do anything to set it up, either; Alexa comes ready with a shopping list feature already installed. When you want to remember something to buy at the brick-and-mortar store, just say, “Alexa, add russet potatoes / Mallomars / gallon Ziploc freezer bags to my shopping list.” Alexa will confirm the addition. 

When you want to look at your list, you can find it on your smartphone’s Alexa app. Just tap the menu icon in the app’s upper-left corner, then tap “Lists & Notes” and “Shopping” to see it. It comes as a checklist, so you can check things off as you buy them.

You can also have more than one list. Just say, “Alexa, create a list.” You’ll be asked for a name — “gifts,” for instance — and Alexa will start a new list by that name. When you want to add something to your holiday list, say, “Alexa, add a lump of coal to my gifts list.”

To remove something from your list, just say, “Alexa, remove” and name whatever you want to take off.

All that being said, you may come across some odd linguistic quirks. For example, when I said “russet potatoes five pounds,” Alexa put it on the list just as I said it. But when I asked it to put in “five pounds of russet potatoes,” it would only add “russet potatoes.” At the same time, it handled the phrases “three boxes of Mallomars” and “two boxes of gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bags” without any problem.

As with any Alexa skill, slight changes to your wording can be effective. See what works for you.

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