Day 24: Sustenance delivered to your door, option #2

It is Day 24 of social distancing, aka shelter-in-place, for us. Doing our little part to help flatten the curve. I hope you are all well and keeping safe. On this post, I will be talking about a second grocery delivery option that I’ve personally tried. If you are choosing to hunker down in your home and looking for options, I’ve got a good one for you. Read more below. (Not a sponsored post.)

To date, I have had 4-grocery deliveries ordered and fulfilled, since choosing to stay-at-home back in March 13th. Two of those four are from Walmart. Read my 1st time experience with Walmart’s grocery delivery here, and to learn more about the how-tos (not a sponsored post.)

Grocery Delivery option #2

Today, I bring to you Instacart. Now, you may have already heard of this company, or possibly have already tried it; but, I personally, have never heard of this company until fairly recently. So, for those who have not tried this company, read more about my first time experience and the how-tos below. (Not a sponsored post.)

Instacart = a personal shopper.

I am aware that there is a nationwide Instacart strike that went on last Monday; however, there are still scheduled deliveries in my area, as of April 6, 2020. On a normal non-pandemic day, I’d highly prefer to do my own shopping, even self-checkout and bag my own; but, these days, if I have delivery options, I use it, when I can.  Not going to lie, the tips and delivery/membership fees are costing me extra, but I love that there are options available to me.

Ordering grocery online is fairly simple. I order my groceries online on Instacart.com from available grocery stores, choose a delivery date and time, checkout and pay. Then, an Instacart employee fulfills and deliver the groceries to my doorstep. The concept is similar to making a purchase at the store, the food selection is fairly the same, except, someone else is doing the physical shopping for me.

Why this company is a great option.

This company offers shopping opportunities from several stores! In my area, the following grocery stores are available through this delivery system:
  • Kroger
  • Food Lion
  • Aldi’s
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club,
  • Harris Teeter
  • Target.
Different zip codes bring different available stores. Check online to see yours.

The best part: It is a same-day shopping and delivery service. My groceries are delivered within hours of ordering, even as little as an hour! Or, choose a later date and time from the available delivery schedules listed around your area.

Bonus with Instacart Express membership: Shop at different stores in one order! (I have not personally tried this yet, as of today.) 

How much does it cost to use Instacart.

It’s free to use and browse. However, without a paid membership, it comes with a delivery fee and a 5% (minimum of $2) service fee*.It’s a $3.99 delivery fee for orders $35+ for non Instacart Express members.

Instacart Express Membership is $9.99/month or $99/year. This covers unlimited free deliveries for orders $35+, and a reduced service fee* that starts at 1.9%.

FYI, service fee is not a TIP. Please tip, generously, when possible.

* Service fee covers employee background check, insurance, shopper operation, and Instacart care.

My 1st time experience with Instacart

My 2nd attempt at grocery delivery is through BJ’s Wholesale Club. This is the first time I was introduced to Instacart. Once I paid for the items on my virtual cart, my groceries where delivered within 2 hours, the same day I placed it! Unfortunately, a paid Bj’s membership is required to make a purchase at this particular store.

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And as with any online grocery stores, inventory may vary from the time the order was placed to fulfillment. Unfortunately, the meat I ordered was no longer available at the BJ’s. I was able to find organic coconut milk and pita bread though, which I was not able to find at Walmart online on my first order. No meat or bread at BJ’s either when my order was fulfilled! Thank goodness I know how to make bread. Check out my Pan de Sal recipe here.

I also noted that my BJ’s order did not have an additional Instacart service fee. Delivery fee was free with a coupon code I found through an online search. This was before I paid for a membership. 

My 2nd experience with Instacart

With a paid membership, I placed my 3rd grocery delivery, focusing on meat, from Aldi’s, shopping through Instacart’s website. I was ecstatic! Because aside from toilet paper, paper towel, and hand soap, all the items I ordered were delivered! So now, Instacart and Aldi’s are my best friends! Haha

This time, my Aldi’s order had a $3.22 service fee charge. Plus, there was an additional charge of $0.70 for Aldi’s plastic bags. I keep seeing these Instacart green usable bags online. I have not received any of those, as of yet. No biggie.

 I chose a delivery schedule between 10-11 am and my order came at 10 am sharp! The store branch opened at 9 am.

FYI: I also tried shopping straight from Aldi’s to compare. My order carried a $7.98 service fee. However, Aldi’s was offering free grocery delivery for the first 3 orders of $35+. I placed my order through Instacart instead, to save on the long run, since we have a stay-a-home order in place until June 1 in our state.

Weigh in your options and choose if this is a good delivery option for you. Most grocery stores that offer delivery will carry a fee too. For example, Kroger’s delivery fee starts at $9.95 per order.

FYI: I was also able to find Organic cage-free eggs at Aldi’s. Just in case you are looking for some, as well, as cooking oil. Both are hard to find at my Walmart branch online.

Tips for a more successful online grocery shopping experience.

1. Utilize the substitution option, or specify No substitution. This will help when items originally ordered are not available during fulfillment. Be specific with your replacement items. Some automatic suggestions that came out were so far off the item I was purchasing. haha A price adjustment will reflect any changes. Ie. Unavailable item(s).

2. When items are not in the category page, try searching on the search box too. I was able to find organic spinach this way at Aldi’s.

3. Utilize the coupon tab. I was able to get Crest toothpaste and Tide detergent at a discounted price.

4. For my Bj’s order, I followed the order fulfillment process online. I even conversed with my personal shopper as she shopped! I knew where her location was as she drove to my house. So I knew when to expect her too.

5. I am given a picture of my personal shopper too. So, I know who to expect.

6. Tips are customizable. You get to choose.

7.  Be patient. Be kind. Personal shoppers do try to get all the items ordered because their tip is a percentage, typically, of order total. Instacart shoppers have no control over store inventory. The shopper goes to the store and shop, similar to doing the shopping yourself.

8. I choose to have my order be left at the front door to minimize interaction. No signing for dropped grocery necessary.

9. I disinfect all the containers my grocery delivery comes in, as well as individual items, before putting them away. Plus I do a diluted vinegar bath for my fresh fruits/veggies when possible. It’s additional work, no doubt, maybe even a little too extra; but, I am hoping that in doing so, I limit possible viruses from entering our home in some way. The least, it makes me feel better doing so.

Final words

While we are not in mandatory quarantine, I am opting to have my groceries delivered these days. Finding healthy sustenance can be tough, if only shopping at one store. It helps to be flexible with your food choices, when possible. I’m typically particular with my grocery myself, but these days, it’s hard to be. Limited inventory necessitate the use of multiple grocery stores available in the area, and it comes at a cost.

While I revel in my ability to do every thing myself, I am very grateful for companies offering grocery deliveries these days. I shop at home via computer and have my food delivered to my doorsteps at a chosen delivery date and time! Please show your appreciation to the personal shoppers by being a generous tipper, when possible.

I hope this post helps you.

Until next time.

Mabuhay!

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