Thursday, January 14, 2010

A "Head" of Broccoli

This week, I decided to try Peapod, an online grocery delivery service provided by one of the supermarket chains in our area. I've never tried it before because I don't really want to pay a delivery charge and tip and because I like to pick out my own produce. However, things have been busy, so I thought I'd give it a try...just for giggles.

Their website is quite user-friendly and gives you at least 4 ways to shop, including the ability to shop from a list of stuff you bought during trips to the store itself. Pretty neat. However, their produce is sold by the piece, not by the pound and lunch meat is sold in pre-set amounts and slicing thicknesses that don't seem to be consistent. I assume this is to make the warehouse pickers' jobs easier and more idiot-proof.

Anyway, the order arrived...a little late. Although, I must give them credit for calling twice to tell me they'd be late and ask if it was okay. The driver was very nice and clearly, his driving route was not planned very well (he told us where he'd been and was going).

I have to chuckle, though. This is my "1 head" of broccoli:

The salt there is for perspective. I weighed the head and it's just over 5oz. I paid a buck for it. Methinks they need to re-think their packaging strategy. :-)

Some other thoughts (not necessarily complaints):
  • Your groceries arrive in a dozen or so plastic shopping bags. It'd be nice to have the option of paper or reusable crates that you pay a deposit on and return or something like that.
  • My driver tells me that our local Peapod fulfillment center is the upper floor of a store at least 35 minutes drive from here. He delivers throughout RI and into southeastern MA. Sounds like a rather big, inefficient coverage area for a handful of drivers. That's probably why he was late.
  • The delivery times they give you are pretty flexible and you get discounts for choosing larger time windows. Unfortunately, they all start on the hour and have minimum 2-hour time blocks. So, if you work until 5pm (as most people do), you miss the 5-7 time block and have to take the 6-8 block. If they'd start them on the half-hour, they'd have a better chance of running efficiently for those who work (who are probably the primary users of the service, as Granny doesn't tend to be web-savvy).
  • The search tool on the website doesn't work very well. Even if you type nearly the exact name of what you want, you get a list of 20+ items in the results.
So, has anyone else out there ever used grocery delivery or an online grocery service before? How was your experiment?

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