More often these days while snooping up and down my street, I see that distinctive light-green Amazon Fresh truck parked in front of someone’s house delivering groceries. Which sets off speculation about what I’m missing out on.
I happen to be one of those oddballs who goes to the grocery store every day, on foot (okay, sometimes more than once). I only buy the ingredients for the next meal or from a small list of essentials that need restocking. Does this behavior make me a chump living in the world’s most high-tech town? Should I summon that attractive light-green truck with my keyboard to stop at my house and delivery groceries?
To answer this I did a little snooping around some home-grocery delivery service websites and would like to share my findings. And then open a discussion of your experiences using these services versus old-fashioned physically getting your body down to the grocery store and walking down the aisles. How does the convenience compare with the psycho-socio-economic experience of grocery shopping?
The Home Grocery-Delivery Contenders
Amazon Fresh – selling anything and everything online, now including food!, “locally-owned and taking over the world”
- Availability: Only a limited number of Seattle neighborhoods. Yes, that’s right, you are living in the only place in the whole country that has it.
- Minimum Order: $30 (way more than my average shopping trip)
- Delivery Fee: $5.99, free if your order is over $75. Also free if you become a “Big Radish” (spend $250 a month – becoming a “Big Radish” doesn’t sound that attractive, though)
- How Fast?: Order by midnight, get it before 6 AM. Before 3 AM (for hungry insomniacs), get it between 7 AM and 1 PM. Before 1 PM, get it between 3 PM and 9 PM. Pretty darn fast, but not as fast as getting it yourself.
Safeway.com – brick-and-mortar grocery store venturing online, “old-school corporate behemoth”
- Availability: Most of Northern California, Portland, Seattle and scattered Other Cities.
- Minimum Order: $50. Even higher than Amazon.
- Delivery Fee: $6.95-12.95 depending on size of order and time of delivery. No mention of becoming a “Big Radish”.
- How Fast?: Order by 3:30 AM for delivery between 10 AM and 3 PM. By 8:30 AM for delivery after 4 PM. Delivery availability is first-come, first serve. Also pretty darn fast, but still not as fast as getting it yourself.
Spud – greatly expanded CSA, “repeat after me: local, organic and carbon-neutral”
- Availability: Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Calgary. Apparently, people on the West Coast like having groceries delivered.
- Minimum Order: None. Yep, that’s right, None.
- Delivery Fee: Varies with zip code, but in 98103 delivery is free if your order is $33 or more. Below that, fee varies depending on size of order. You also pay 22 cents per order for a carbon offset fee to be a good person.
- How Fast?: In North Seattle delivery day is Thursday. Yes, Thursday only. And no fancy business about ordering the night before and getting it before 6 AM, mister. It comes between 9 AM and 9 PM and you can only order up to 2 days before.
- Selection: I didn’t browse Amazon or Safeway since I assumed their selection was huge. But Spud’s is quite a bit more limited (repeat: local and organic). We’ve actually been getting them as a CSA for quite a while with a standing order of produce. But I haven’t tried the other food offerings. (Full Circle Farms and New Roots Organics are other CSA’s that deliver to Wallingford, among others. But besides the produce box, these only offer a handful of other groceries, in the case of New Roots, only coffee.)
My bottom line?: I like leaving my house and walking through the neighborhood and being in the store and looking my groceries in the eye before choosing them. And only buying what I need when I need it. The whole thing is, well, . . . fresher.