I am fascinated by automation. I think it’s inevitable that sometime in the very near future, most of the things we take for granted as household chores will cease to burden us…or at least that’s what I’m hoping will happen.
I love to shop as much as the next gal, so don’t get me wrong. I don’t always consider grocery shopping a burdensome task. If I had a cute little neighborhood store with everything I needed and wanted and I didn’t have to fight tooth and nail for a parking spot at my local Whole Foods only to find that most of the items I’m looking for are missing or overpriced, I’d LOVE to make the weekly trip.
There’s also the issue of time. I work full time in a demanding profession and my husband is a resident in a surgical specialty. The short bit of time we spend together shouldn’t have to be in the cereal aisle.
When Amazon recently announced that they had signed up to acquire Whole Foods, I was surprised, but also super stoked. In my opinion, it signaled that my favorite marketplace, Amazon, was ready to move into a space that was in dire need of an expert in distribution. So, after a busy week at work where the last thing I wanted to do was make a grocery stop, I decided to give Amazon’s grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, a try.
A few things to consider: I’m not an Instacarter, or a Google Expresser or even a Peapoder. I typically get my grocery items by driving myself to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or my local co-op. I’ll go to Jewel Osco if I’m desperate, but I just hate sacrificing the quality of my produce, so I usually steer clear. I go to Costco once in a while, and I’ve used Pantry. I’m definitely a novice to the whole grocery delivery thing, so I was very happy that Amazon provides a 30-day free trial (on what is usually a $14.99/month add-to Prime fees) and a $25 off coupon on at least $100 spent on groceries.
I took the plunge. Here’s what I love and don’t so much love:
- Service was on time. I added items to my cart at 10pm on Saturday night (I know, what a party gal) and chose a Sunday 12pm-2pm delivery window. The items arrived by just before 12:30pm on Sunday. My delivery person (who arrived in a sedan, not a huge delivery truck) was friendly and professional, and there was almost zero damage to my groceries.
- My Halo Top (yes, they have, like, every flavor of Halo Top!!) arrived with DRY ICE! Such a nice touch, especially since I was afraid I was going to have to deal with a goopy mess. All other refrigerated items came with ice packs and were a good temperature.
- Produce was fresh. I got organic blueberries for a very reasonable price ($3.99/6oz), and they were sweet and delicious. Non-organic blueberries were $2.99, which is usually what I pay in Chicago for these items (sometimes more).
- Generally, all items were priced in line with my expectations, either at or sometimes below grocery prices, except for meats which were very expensive.
- Meat selection and prices were disappointing. I didn’t end up ordering any because it didn’t seem worth it. Would probably just make a monthly trip to Costco to pick up my favorite meats to freeze.
- While the packaging my groceries arrived in was sturdy and fairly well insulated, I didn’t like the fact that it was all disposable. Yes, I did end up recycling most of it, as they were cardboard boxes, but I wish they provided the reusable insulated delivery bags as advertised, so that I didn’t feel terrible creating so much waste with my delivery.
- Some produce you have to buy in large quantities, and aren’t able to just get one or two items (certain potatoes, for instance). And the yams were enormous!
- No booze. Yet.
- Pricey. The service is definitely a luxury. You are paying to have someone hand-select your items and deliver them to your door, so I can understand the $15/month charge. This is worth it for people who are very busy, like full time workers and parents with young children. For others, it’s a matter of how much you hate going to the grocery store.
I think as the service expands, and once Whole Foods has been truly integrated into the model, delivery costs will be lower and this service will become accessible to more people. I am strongly considering going forward after the 30-day trial and will try to provide an update once that is complete.
Have you tried Amazon Fresh or other grocery delivery services? Comment below with your experiences.