Instacart -Grocery Delivery Service Honest Review
Sick kids, tired mom, being low on groceries, outta town dad, and a rainy day was the perfect recipe for being desperate enough to try out a grocery delivery service.
This is my opinion only, my unbiased review of Instacart grocery service and I am in no way benefiting or affiliated with Ralph’s or Instacart.
I had two boys home sick for almost an entire school week. My youngest son missed school Monday through Friday, my older son only went one day that week. Fevers, ear aches, terrible coughs, runny noses and sleepless nights were their downfall. Thankfully our daughters were healthy. I was feeling well, other than the exhaustion and annoyance with refilling medicine, boiling soup, pouring water, Gatorade, administering breathing treatments and giving spoonfuls of honey. But we were coping. My husband was helpful that week until he had to go away for a few days for work. Needless to say other than picking up and dropping off our healthy-daughter from school, I didn’t leave the house much. In fact, I didn’t leave once from the time I picked her up from school on Friday to taking her again on Monday.
By Sunday, however, we were super low on supplies. The milk was gone, the tangerines and bananas depleted, no bread, no eggs, no soup, and NO ICE CREAM! Ice cream isn’t always a staple item in our house but on a week like this I figured it was a necessity.
So, after debating on loading the grumpy, tired and achy kids into the car and enduring a life-sucking grocery trip, I got wise and logged on to Ralphs.com. Ralph’s isn’t in every city, but it is the closest grocery store to our house and we shop there regularly. I clicked on the delivery service tab and started filling my virtual basket. I can tell you that my biggest fear with this whole process was the actual delivery step. I didn’t know what to expect. I looked like a train wreck, my house wasn’t super clean, I wasn’t sure if the delivery person was gonna put the groceries just inside my door, or if there was gonna be an awkward offer to bring them all the way to my kitchen counter. Ugh, sometimes the unknown scares me. That step turned out to be the best surprise…our delivery person (Amy) rang the door bell, had a load of groceries already dropped outside our door and was making a second trip to her trunk when I opened the door. There was hardly any communication necessary and in a week where I had been deprived of most outsider-interactions, I appreciated avoiding chit-chat, and since I included a tip on my online-checkout, I smiled, thanked her and shut the door.
Here is my take away…TOP 5 Pros and Cons to Online Grocery Shopping and delivery service…
1. Not having to drag my kids through the store while sick was THE BIGGEST PLUS!
2. Being able to look at pics of items online and pick and choose the essentials was a time and money saver.
3. Only walking 20 feet from my front door to my fridge to stock fresh food and veggies, and ice cream, was extremely welcomed on an exhausting day.
4. Ok, my super-non-social takeaway was not having to talk to my wonderful and much appreciated delivery person. It was really cool that I could see the name of the person shopping for my groceries the whole time. It would tell me that she was shopping, at checkout or on her way to deliver, which I thought was really helpful and kept me updated.
5. I got a free delivery as a first-time Instacart user, so I didn’t spend much more than I would have if I would have shopped in person. The only additional charge was the $7 delivery tip for Amy.
1. So as you choose items to put in your virtual cart, some items may be unavailable. The app lets you choose replacement items if that is the case. A few of our items needed to be replaced and Amy did her best to chose for me if I didn’t specify…a few of her choices were nothing I would have picked, but you know, I’m sure she really did her best. Example: I ordered generic rice cakes at 1.79/pack. They were all out of stock so they were replaced with name brand rice cakes for 2.99/pack…I would have chosen to forfeit them if I had been shopping in person (other bargain shoppers, where you at?! haha)
2. The service initially charges your card about $20 more than the first grocery estimate to account for items being swapped out…so make sure you have a little wiggle room in your budget for over-spending. That money will be refunded if it wasn’t needed.
3. Not being in the store and having items listed in the order of the store layout (that’s how I normally shop: produce, dairy, meats, grains) it was a little more difficult to actually search for each item virtually by memory.
4. By the time my groceries were delivered (2.5 hours) from the time I initially ordered them I could have shopped my list in person two to three times. So you can’t try the delivery service if you are in a huge rush. You are able to pick a delivery time frame and you just need to be home and available during that entire period.
5. ..hmmm, I can’t think of anything else that was a con? This was a great service, I’m curious to know what the delivery service charge will be if I use the service again because only the first experience has that fee waived.
So there you go tired mommas…and dads, that was my experience. In a world where way too much stuff is deliverable or drive-thru (in my opinion), I actually appreciated this more than I expected.
Sometimes life happens and a little helping hand is amazing…even if you have to pay a premium for the service.