The good and bad of online grocery shopping

I finally tried this whole ordering groceries online bit. [#] Incredibly lazy or just really tapped into convenience?–I haven’t decided. Here’s my take on it:

  • I hadn’t really found a real big reason to use either‘s service or Amazon Fresh (except after the first delivery, charges you $9.95 and Amazon Fresh is free as long as you spend more than $25 or $50). I wrote a list of approximately 25 items, then went through and selected all items on both sites to see which was cheaper. Amazon Fresh come out approximately $4 cheaper, however, I was unfamiliar with most of the brands I was ordering, which bugged me (a bit silly, I know). So, I went with
  • I know you’ve all gone to the grocery store with the intention of spending $50 and you end up spending $100. I feel like I do this every time. So, it was incredibly nice to monitor the amount of money I was spending on items in my “cart,” and ultimately decide to put stuff back I didn’t really need such as banana chocolate fudge dreamy pudding.
  • Searching each category by price makes it real quick to find the milk, bread, etc. that is on sale. You can also search with the Club Card savings items listed at the top. It was quick and easy to be a savvy shopper.
  • When the grocery delivery guy arrives, he actually wheels all the groceries into your house and puts them in your kitchen! No carrying bags from your car in multiple trips! I found this to be above and beyond customer service. It also made me feel like I’d gone from lazy to incredibly lazy.
  • You don’t need to tip the driver. I asked. Unfortunately, it’s against company policy and they can lose their jobs for accepting tips. But, you’re allowed to give them a “good review” on the Web site. Good to know.
  • I was bothered that I wasn’t able to pick out my own produce–the biggest green pepper, the firmest tomatoes (I hate soft tomatoes), one ripe and maybe one not so ripe avocado to save for later. You get what they pick out.
  • They substitute things for you, even though I clicked “NO substitutions” when finalizing my order. I don’t know why they substituted, but I got Jenny-O turkey bacon instead of Oscar Mayer turkey bacon. Call me nutso, but this is probably the one thing I didn’t want substituted. The two brands are a huge difference and the Jenny-O turkey bacon is quite awful, in my opinion.
  • If they don’t have something, you don’t get it. And you’re not able to make a smart replacement decision. (Such as I ordered precut broccoli in a bag, which they were out of. But they just didn’t give me broccoli heads instead, which is what I would have done if I were at the grocery store.)
  • For some odd reason, they bagged everything in separate bags–one bag for the ground turkey, one bag for the onions, one bag for the coffee creamer, one bag for the shredded cheese. After unpacking my groceries, I had effectively doubled by collection of plastic bags, which is obviously not great for the environment.

In conclusion, it was nice and not nice to order my groceries online–definitely not worth ever paying a delivery charge, in my opinion. Perhaps I’ll continue to do it if I can cheat the system a figure out a way to get free delivery each time. Hmmm…

3 Comments so far

  1. (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 10:58 am

    I order my groceries online because I don’t drive, and Eastlake doesn’t have much in the way of walkable grocery stores. I use Pioneer Organics for my produce (or walk down to Pete’s when I need something right away), and just use Safeway to stock up on non-perishables every couple of months. It works out pretty well for me, and is much, much cheaper than owning or even renting a car. (Not to mention safer, since I am a terrible driver.)

    Of course, if Eastlake would build a damn grocery store instead of more condos, I wouldn’t have to use it. But that’s another rant.

  2. Ryan (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    Glad you posted this. I tried Amazon Fresh and got all the way to the end to discover that they can’t do unattended deliveries to my residence. They also charge a $9.95 service fee for daytime deliveries under $50. I’m a single guy and it’s pretty difficult for me to spend $50 on a trip to the grocery store. I’m just not that good at planning ahead. Most of my friends are the same way.

    I love the idea but the restrictions make this a pretty inconvenient convenience.

    In summary, I miss

  3. Theresa (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

    I have been using Safeway grocery deliveries once, and sometimes twice, a month for over a year. I can’t remember the last time I paid a delivery fee. I regularly get free shipping codes in the mail from Safeway and there are also free shipping or $ off codes to be found with a farily easy Google search. I can get over the occasional subsitution and an out of stock item once and a while. I’m just glad I don’t have to haul around 20lb jugs of cat litter and heavy bags of canned goods on the Metro.

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