Let’s be honest: who really likes grocery shopping? I don’t. Andrew doesn’t. I don’t think many people do. When your weekend is already filled with other errands and of course finding time to relax, getting to the grocery store can be both challenging and time consuming. With the recent rise in grocery delivery and curbside pickup services, you may be wondering if making the switch is a waste of money, or totally worth it. Instacart, Walmart, HEB, Kroger, Randalls and of course Amazon are just a few offering these types of services. I thought we’d take a break from recipes and share our thoughts on grocery delivery!
How it started: about a year ago I was traveling a lot, and when I got home on Thursday night, of course there was no food in the house. Friday I was working from home, but my day was filled with calls and I literally was eating an old apple and some questionable cheese, with nothing at all to feed the maid for lunch. I thought – I’m going to try this grocery delivery. I’ll order some groceries while I’m on a call, have a nice lunch and make a homemade dinner – something I hadn’t had all week. I know what you’re thinking: what about the produce? I was worried too – I’m a picky eater and a picky shopper. I loaded my e-cart with tons of fresh fruit and veggies, milk, cheese, crackers, meat and deli items and checked out – $5.99 for 3 hour delivery on Instacart + tip and service fee. When the shopper started “shopping,” I got a text with their name and number, and asking if I needed to add anything else. On the app, I got updates as she shopped and if she needed to replace or “swap” something, she either texted me or the app informed me. When she was done, I got a text saying my items would be climate controlled until delivery. When the driver left the store: text. Almost here: text. The order showed up on time, and I was impressed that the produce was of the same caliber as I would have picked myself, and everything was there. Win!
What came next: every year I host two big brunches/meals at work; one for our annual Ally Brunch with the whole office invited, normally 50-100 people show up, and another for Houston Pride, where I feed the volunteers breakfast and then setup a catering station for drinks and snacks throughout the day (it’s normally 100F and our office is across from the event and has AC)! The first year, both these events involved massive grocery/booze runs, hauling the food into the house, prepping it, cooking, hauling to the office, etc. I thought to myself: “why not just have all this delivered and skip a bunch of work and hauling groceries?” So, I ordered everything online, it showed up two hours later, and all I had to do was prep/cook the food and take it downtown, where I’m always met with eager volunteers to help bring everything to the 39th floor. Win!
Taking the plunge: this fall, I was SUPER busy at work, working consistently 12-14 hour days, getting home late and tired. We had two consistent problems:
- During the week, we always run out of fresh groceries by about Wednesday (I don’t like to buy more than a few days worth, the quality really deteriorates), and
- On the weekend, time was just too precious to waste going to the store.
As a result, I looked into Instacart Express, the annual membership for $149 for unlimited free delivery for orders over $35, and no service fee. After several weeks of ordering the “remedial” mid-week groceries online, I decided to take the plunge – and we haven’t looked back! Now, on Sunday mornings while we sip coffee in the comfort of our robes, listening to classical music, we discuss our meal plans and as we plan, I simultaneously make a list and order the food. With Instacart, you can even add to your order until the shopper starts shopping for those last minute items! Then, on Wednesday or Thursday as the fridge and pantry become more barren, over a quick G-Chat at work, we assemble a new list and place a smaller order to get us through the week. I arrange for 2 hour delivery on Sunday so we don’t commit the whole day to waiting for groceries, and the Wednesday one for just when we arrive home from work. Did I mention (at least in Texas), you can also order wine, beer and liquor from a separate store? Oh yeah, so I can also restock the bar from the comfort of my desk – at home or work.
Bottom line: we like it! We’re both busy, and the marginal cost of a small tip and $149/year is more than worth it for us – both in the time it saves us on the weekend/work week, and on meals we don’t eat out because we don’t have any groceries. If your skeptical, give it a shot from whatever retailer you prefer and see what you think. For us, Sunday/Wednesday grocery shopping has become a thing of the past! Do we still end up at the store every now and then or for “special” meals: of course. But, the time we save has definitely made it worth it for us. If you’ve been questioning a grocery delivery or pickup service, I hope this helps make your decision easier! Bon appetit!