#grocery, grocery delivery, grocery order

Grocery Shopping Part 3, Delivery (Local)

We have been exploring grocery shopping methods. Last time I described the curbside pickup that came to my area in 2017. Fast forward to 2020 and we all considered the option to have groceries delivered to our front doors, safely socially distanced. And dare I add, the 2020 quest for toilet paper? My quest had me quickly exploring all the delivery options. The continuing challenge to purchase paper products, cleaning products, and the constant need to replenish my twin middle schoolers’ snacking stock kept me bouncing between my options. Here are my experiences from my local grocery deliveries. 

My local options included my old inperson go-to Kroger; my go-to curbside pickup Walmart; and: Amazon Fresh; Food Lion; Publix; Wegmans; and Whole Foods.

The popular third party grocery shopping service in my area is Instacart.  For these partner stores, when you run into a problem with an item delivered or purchased and not delivered, you contact the Instacart Customer Service. I have been satisfied with the outcome when I have needed to contact customer service. 

At the beginning of the socially distancing lockdown everything was a bit stressed as everyone – customers, stores, and thirdparty services included, tried to adjust to the new situation at warp speed. My comments are from my whole grocery delivery experience.

grocery cart with items in store aisle
grocery cart with items in store aisle

Just like curbside pickup, local grocery delivery options have common features to consider:

  1. There is no guarantee that an item showing as in stock will still be available when your order is shopped.
  2. Typically stores will keep some high demand or scarce items for in store shoppers only. Some stores will expand in-store only to whole sections like cosmetics. However, some stores will offer items for delivery that are not available for curbside pickup. 
  3. Some items are only available to order at certain times. Mostly these are in-store prepared hot foods. Note: This will be based on the time you are creating the order; *NOT* on when you schedule order delivery *NOR* when you think your order will be shopped. Some store apps will let you select these limited time hot items any time, but be prepared for your order to be shopped outside of those available hours.
  4. There may be a long lead time between the time you create the order and the earliest available delivery time slot. Each store has a delay time policy designed to allow staff shopping time. 
  5. Pay very close attention to item size. If you are not sure, check out the item’s nutritional label’s number of servings in the item details section. If you see an absurdly high number, it may be real. I ordered a bag of frozen fish sticks that turned out to be the size of a 3.5lb bag of cat food. Fish tacos anyone? Eventually, even our cats said no.
  6. If you use an app for pantry stock tracking and/or recipes/meal planning that app may be able to send a shopping list to your grocery store app. Earlier I reviewed apps that tracked pantry stock and helped with meal planning.
  7. You may need to be available while your order is shopped in case your shopper has questions about an item (label changes), needs to give you a substitute, or let you know the store is completely out of an item. I was texted a picture of an empty toilet paper aisle once. 
  8. There is usually a delivery fee. There are usually monthly and/or yearly delivery subscriptions available.
  9. During busy times delivery drivers are handling multiple orders at once. This may cause items to be delivered to the wrong customer. All stores have procedures to find your items or refund if needed. Sometimes a driver will discover the mistake and be able to fix the problem quickly. That will feel like a huge recue. Be sure to rate and tip the driver accordingly.
  10. The driver tipping amount is an option when placing your order. Look closely as you may be allowed to change the tip after delivery.
  11. Groceries will usually arrive in paper bags. 
orange in a mini shopping cart
orange in a mini shopping cart

STORE RESULTS

Amazon Fresh

Pros:

  1. I can usually place a same day delivery order.
  2. They do the best job packing the groceries. No cans on bananas here!
  3. My Prime membership includes no service fee grocery delivery.

Cons:

  1. The selection depth can be limiting.

Food Lion

Pros:

  1. The shopper will work with you for substitutions.
  2. You can watch the shoppers progress with your order.
  3. It is a smaller store so the shopping goes quicker.
  4. The item prices are generally lower than other stores.
  5. Logging into my Food Lion account does lower my delivery fee. It may also be the cost of my cart that helps. It is unclear how the initial $7.99 service fee drops to $3,99.

Cons:

  1. The per item price is higher for delivery than in store shopping,
  2. There is a delivery service fee.

Kroger

Pros: 

  1. They have a selection of food brands/flavors that I like.
  2. Some items not available for pickup are available for delivery.

Cons:

  1. There is a steep per transaction service fee comparable to Walmart’s monthly fee.

Publix

Pros:

  1. They frequently have 2 for 1 or similar sales for my frequent items.
  2. They usually have a spend $x on a group of items option to waive the delivery fee. At least half of the time my shopping can qualify in one of the offered groups.
  3. The shopper will work with you for substitutions.
  4. You can watch the shopper’s progress with your order.
  5. I like their brand items.

Cons:

  1. Their per item prices are higher for delivery than in store shopping.
  2. They have a delivery service fee.

Walmart

Pros:

  1. You can refuse a substitute after delivery by contacting a National Customer number.
  2. Most of the store is available. I was even able to order spackle and a replacement toilet leaver!

Cons:

  1. It can be difficult to reserve a delivery time slot.
  2. There is a minimum order amount. As a family that includes teens, I rarely have an issue with this.
  3. I do tend to have problems getting items from the opposite side of the store (pets and health/beauty care) during busy times.
  4. Substitutions are the sole discretion of the shopper. You can flag no substitute for an item. You will be notified of any substitutes and out of stock items by email after the shopper is done.
  5. You cannot halt the delivery of a substitute once shopped. You can request a refund from customer service, but you are stuck with the unwanted item. I tried calling the store and the national customer service number. I still received the peach cranberry juice. Noone in my house would try it.
  6. I had an issue with the quality of eggs they stocked. You could only tell once you opened the eggs. Unfortunately it was every egg in the carton. It was also every carton over several orders. I stopped buying their eggs.

Wegmans

Pros:

  1. I like the Wegmans brand.
  2. All of the store items are available.
  3. I can usually place a same day delivery order.
  4. A shopper works with you on any needed substitutions.
  5. They have large selections to cover different diet needs.
  6. They give the best consistent information about the item size/amount.

Cons:

  1. Per item prices are higher than in store.
  2. Third party service fees.

Whole Foods

Pros:

  1. Their produce is fresh and diverse.

Cons:

  1. They do not carry my favorite national brands.
laptop and shopping cart
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

My go-to grocery delivery is Publix. If I need several paper or cleaning products I will order from Food Lion or Walmart to save money. When I need to stock up on my special diet needs or a specific favorite store item, I turn to Wegmans. I love Wegmans dessert selections and lamb chops!

Next up I will go through the pros and cons of grocery mail delivery services. Until then, check out your favorite grocery store’s app. And remember to order when you will be able to answer any item or substitute questions.

My Disclosure.

My MS Tips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s