This is NOT a paid review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I paid for all of my groceries, as well as the fees associated with using the app.
Saturday afternoon, I felt like the laziest person on the planet. After my daughter and I had returned home from service, I put her down for a nap. Naturally, I thought I should take a nap while she was asleep. After a bunch of tossing and turning because I knew I had a butt load of things to do, I decided to get out of bed. I went in the kitchen to make a list of what we needed from the grocery store because I hadn’t really gone shopping in a couple of weeks since we’d been out of town and then had our convention. As I was making my list, I thought about having our groceries delivered because I had some things to do around the house, plus the baby was asleep (read: I was feeling lazy).
There are SO many different delivery services, it can be a little overwhelming. At some point, I know I thought about using Amazon but then that requires two subscriptions: Prime and Fresh — I have neither. Then, I remembered seeing Instacart somewhere online when I was looking to have groceries delivered to a relative but they weren’t serving her area at the time. When I placed my order, they were offering free delivery for first-time customers so I said, “Why not?” I downloaded the Instacart app and thought they probably don’t work with the store I use most: Smart & Final. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Smart & Final on the list of available retailers.
I threw everything I needed in my cart and hit Checkout Now. In the cart, you have the option to add a promo code to receive a discount (ie. my code to get $10 off your order). The app tells you when your order has been received by an Instashopper and it also shows you where the shopper is in their progress. It’s pretty cool but I’ll be honest; it left me a little anxious because I wondered whether the shopper had to sub anything. I kid you not, a few minutes after I became concerned about substitutions I received an alert; the shopper swapped something out. I opened the app and looked to see what was changed. I reviewed it and approved it. But after that, things began to go downhill. I was getting notification after notification that the shopper couldn’t find something and so he asked whether I approved of the substitution or not. I declined the majority of them and sent the shopper a message telling him to forget about anything he couldn’t find instead of replacing it. I just knew I wasn’t going to be happy with an order full of substitutions.
On the positive side, the app allows you to communicate with your shopper so you aren’t left in the dark about what or how they’re doing on their trip. That’s a feature Von’s is missing with their online delivery service. To the shopper’s credit, though, the app sent him to the Smart & Final near me that NEVER HAS ANYTHING. So, it’s not his fault. I wish you could request certain stores in your area because obviously some are better than others.
The app lets you know when the shopper is finished and en route, which is cool so that you don’t start a shower and miss the delivery. When your delivery is complete, Instacart sends you an email with a receipt and asks you to review your experience. I rated my shopper pretty well since he did as requested and was very courteous and prompt. But I added additional feedback in the ‘other’ box at the end of the survey, voicing my concern about not being able to choose a certain store from the list of available stores as I mentioned before.
Overall, my experience was pretty positive. Like other delivery services, you can choose your window (ie. 1-hour, 2-hours, etc.). I also like the ability to chat directly with your shopper in case an item is unavailable and they’re seeking to replace it; you can approve or decline as you please. I also like that you can see what’s on sale or what coupons the store currently has going. Instacart is a good option to those who may not shop too often and aren’t worried about the delivery fee.
One thing to note: there is a minimum of $35 or you’re charged between $5.99 and $9.99 for delivery. Also, there is a membership plan offered at $149/year, which averages out to just over $12/month or you can pay $14.99/month. Express offers free delivery for orders $35+, the ability to order from multiple stores at a time at no additional fee, and no “busy pricing” during peak times.
I’ll probably try Amazon out because my sister’s been RAVING about Fresh. What are your thoughts about grocery delivery? Is it too weird for you? Or do you see it as a convenience or a help in your busy life?
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