We’re taking a look at grocery delivery services – and a couple of other options if the deliveries aren’t going to work for you! We’re dealing with weird times, and food is a necessity. But how do we get our groceries without having to expose ourselves (and our families) to all of the stores?
Over the past two years, I’ve used a grocery delivery service on an infrequent basis. It was convenient during busy times, and when we were traveling (ordering, and having groceries show up an hour after you arrive home is the best feeling.) So when the pandemic hit, and I couldn’t go into stores like I normally would, I turned to grocery delivery to help me out. My regular service wasn’t available for a couple of weeks, and now that we’re 6 weeks into staying at home, I wanted to compare our services.
We tried 3 Grocery Delivery Services:
Shipt – I’ve had a subscription to Shipt for more than two years. (You can sign up and receive a subscription for just $49 for the year. This is half off, and it will get you free delivery on orders over $35 – and they work with multiple retailers.) It was impossible to get a delivery the first two or three weeks of our stay at home order. I was checking at all hours of the day and night. Finally a couple of weeks ago, the times started opening up. We’ve now placed two orders in a row through Shipt. Our Shipt service shops at Target, Publix, Harris Teeter and a few other stores in the area. I would compare prices in the Shipt app with the Target app and they matched.
Shipt has been on time with me every time – and when they were going to be late, they texted to let me know. Maybe I’ve gotten lucky with my shoppers, but I get pictures of replacement options, and I can ask them questions while the shop is happening. Both times I’ve used them this past month, I asked my shoppers to check for disinfectant wipes. And maybe it was a fluke, but they got them EACH TIME.
I don’t want contact with any of my shoppers, so I always ask them to leave my items at my front door and not to ring the doorbell. (Occasionally I’ve been in a meeting or my daughter is napping, so I don’t want the doorbell ringing.) One Instacart driver did not adhere to the doorbell request, but all other times I receive a notification via the app or text that the groceries are there, and I can bring them in.
PrimeNow – Available through Amazon Prime and Whole Foods, this was the easiest service for me to use the first week. I couldn’t get a delivery from Instacart or Shipt for days, and PrimeNow was not an issue. I didn’t have a delivery fee, and all of the items I wanted were available – I was even able to get meat! Unfortunately, there were a few confusing parts. I thought I was ordering 3 pounds of apples, and I received 3 apples. One bag of onions yielded one onion. Little things like that. However, the produce I received was great quality. Everything was delivered in paper bags, and while I hate the thought of using disposable bags (paper or plastic – I’m a cloth girl), we’ve used the paper bags for other things around the house. I found it the least wasteful.
You do need to have an Amazon Prime account, but you can try it for free and then decide if you want the whole subscription. I’ve been a Prime member for many years, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Instacart – I found that I could schedule a delivery if I went on early in the week, in the early hours of the morning – and it was not going to be delivered that day. One week, I placed my delivery order for the following week. Scheduling was just so inconsistent. However, I could get so many of my Aldi favorites (Instacart in Asheville goes to a few places, with Aldi being the most popular.) The groceries are slightly marked up in the app versus in store, and there is a delivery fee of $4.99 if you don’t purchase their service for the month or year.
Instacart’s app allows you to communicate via the app. If an item is out of stock, they will try to offer a replacement – which you have to approve. This worked fine, with one exception. One week I ordered cage free brown eggs, and the replacement was a different cage free brown eggs. I accepted the replacement, but when I received my order I actually received the regular white eggs. Not normally a big deal, but I was charged a couple dollars more (for those cage free brown eggs.) I had to file a report through Instacart’s help link, and eventually received a credit towards a future order.
My first order with Instacart came more than 30 minutes late, and I watched the driver on the app. He literally drove to the other side of Asheville before eventually ending up at my house. I can’t tell if Instacart allows shoppers to do more than one order at a time, but that was a little wild. My groceries the first week were delivered in boxes (no problems there. I could recycle or re-use the boxes.) Other weeks, they were delivered in bags.
Other Option for Grocery Delivery Services
While I love grocery delivery services, I know it’s not always feasible. I’ve also been doing drive-thru or curbside pick-up orders. I love Target’s drive-thru pick-up ordering system, but they don’t do cold groceries this way. You can get some staples (bread, cereal, snacks), but no household necessities (paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, etc.) through this option. I’ve also used Walmart’s Grocery Pick-Up, and I was able to get all of my items. The downside was having to set a date 5 days ahead of time, and the earliest time I got was at 7pm. The upside was getting all of my items (minus a gardening thing I was hoping for.)
Both services are quick, free and easy to use. Walmart may require a minimum order, but Target does not.
Looking for meat? You can order chicken online – a variety of brands and different size bundles! I love this option, and I’m planning to order a package by the end of the month to get ahead of June meal planning.
A few of my favorite meal planning posts: