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Grocery Shopping From Home :: The Real Deal

I have five children. This makes our weekly grocery run a torturous and exhausting event. Our last excursion to the grocery store involved three trips to the bathroom, a diaper explosion, and the toppling of a corner display of glass bottled beverages. There was also a public display of nudity, and several grocery aisles were shut down to thru traffic whilst my family paraded down them like a herd of monkeys. Never a fan of public attention, I find myself blushing and sweating in anxiety as I careen madly around the store and down the aisles, grabbing everything off the shelves and into my cart. I neglect my shopping list in favor of speedily exiting the grocery store before my children start screaming.

So if anyone needs a personal shopper, it’s me.

Over the past few months, I have shopped several different types of grocery delivery and pickup services and have now settled on my favorites.

Grocery Shopping From Home :: The Real Deal | Houston Moms Blog

Instacart

Fees :: $14/month or $99/year
Tip :: 10% tip, automatically added to your bill
Minimum :: $35

PROS >> This is a grocery delivery system, bringing the groceries straight to your home, and it turned out to be the easiest process of all of them. The website was fast and easy to use, and the shoppers are experienced and always deliver everything I request on time. They make some substitutions while shopping and text each substitution to me for approval. {All of which are equal trades, and I easily approve.} They remain in contact with you during the entire shopping process, and I have even been able to add products while they are shopping just by texting them.  And as a plus, they can shop at several different grocery store {Whole Foods, Kroger, HEB, etc.} while other services are tied to just one vendor. It is available on your devices as well as your home computer, and the app is efficient and easy to use.

CONS >> Instacart charges a fee which is my major hangup with them. While I know they have to charge a fee to pay their shoppers, I just choke at the idea of paying extra for my groceries. Still, it is very convenient and can be delivered in as little as an hour. There also seems to be an up-charge on many of the items, so buyer beware. However, I always buy less by not going to the grocery store because when ordering online, I only get exactly what I need and don’t make impulse buys or purchase a crazy amount of fresh produce. So in the end, I didn’t spend more than usual, in spite of the up charge and the tip. {As a frame of reference, my first time I spent just $160 and the tip was 10%, so $16.}

H-E-B to You

Fee :: $5
Tip :: None accepted
Minimum :: None

PROS >> This is a grocery pickup system. You schedule a time to drive up to the store and pick up your grocery order. They will load everything in your car for you without the need to exit your vehicle. Here are a few other things I love about it…

  • It is the cheapest option available.
  • All of the items appear to be priced the same as in-store purchases, and they automatically apply all in-store coupons to your purchase.
  • The shopping is done by HEB employees who are familiar with the store layout and are able to do a great job at finding everything you need – as long as it is in stock.
  • They have always refused tips {even just a $5 tip!}.
  • They are always cheerful and eager to help load all the groceries.
  • And they always bring out cookies for my kids, which they love!

CONS >> The drawback of this grocery service is that this requires advance planning and the minimum notice is 8 hours {or next day}. On some occasions when they are particularly busy, I have had to wait two days. So that can be a deal breaker if you need those groceries before then. The website can be slow and glitchy, but they are working to improve it. And your previous orders are saved, so you can duplicate the same order from last week – adding or removing items where necessary…which is a huge timesaver! Another drawback is that they are not very proactive; they don’t make substitutions automatically and will simply call and tell you all the items that were unavailable when they are finished shopping for you. {I have to ask them to go back and get a substitute, which I feel guilty for doing.}  And unfortunately, they are only available at limited stores in Texas {and only one in Houston}. But despite the cons, this seems to be the service I use most frequently, as there are a lot of advantages to this particular grocery service.

Amazon Prime Now

Fee :: free with Amazon Prime membership
Tip :: $5 – $50 {10% suggested tip for orders over $50}
Minimum :: $25

PROS >> This is a delivery service that is only available via an app on your smart phone {it is not currently available on your device or home computer}. It is more convenient than H-E-B to You because they deliver within two hours, same day. There is a wide selection of things they can deliver – not just groceries. So if you needed baby food and a gift for that birthday party that you forgot about, this is your best choice. And to their credit, they have never made any substitutions on items. I always get exactly what I order. They will deliver all the way up to midnight, which is pretty cool. We use this service at least once a week and love it. It is totally worth $5 to have someone bring you exactly what you need!

CONS >> While they are expanding their selection of items to include more groceries, including produce and cold items, you would find it difficult to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping here. This is the most convenient option when you need something fast that you just ran out of, or if you need non-grocery items. But this is not a realistic choice for serious grocery shopping. 

Shipt

Fee :: $14/month or $99/year
Tip :: Suggested 10%, added manually to the bill or paid in cash upon delivery
Minimum :: $35

PROS >> Another delivery service that just started at the end of June. The website is pretty fast and easy to use, and they deliver same day {within 2 hours} which is convenient.

CONS >> Since they are so new to the scene, there are lots of kinks that are still being worked out. There seemed to be a large up-charge on all the groceries, which made my bill higher. And the lady that did my shopping was TERRIBLE! She obviously had no training and seemed to have less grocery shopping experience than I {which is odd because she appeared to be 30 years older than me}. She spent two hours shopping and delivered my items 2 1/2 hours later than the time slot I ordered {which was a problem because of a conflict with swim lessons}. I know it is hard to shop for a week for a family of 7, but nobody else has ever complained about it like she did. Out of the 54 items I ordered, 19 were wrong, with 16 of them missing entirely.  She also didn’t text me with substitutions and instead chose to substitute items that were not of equal quality or value. {For example, I ordered grass fed beef, and she substituted regular ground beef – which is much less expensive and lower quality. Yet I still was charged $10/pound for grass fed beef.} I have reported these issues to Shipt and am awaiting a response, but it was very inconvenient to be without those 16 items and to have many wrong items as well.


Online Grocery Delivery Recap & Tips

  • As for myself, I will probably continue to use Amazon Prime Now and H-E-B to You most often. Although Instacart is convenient, I hate being tied to an annual or monthly fee, so I may consider dropping it entirely when my monthly fee runs out next month.
  • When navigating shopping websites, it is much faster and easier to type in what you are looking for in the search bar, rather than scrolling through the categories.
  • Review your order! Most websites will not let you make changes or additions to your order once submitted. {Instacart, however, does allow you to add or change your order until your shopper begins shopping, which is pretty convenient.}

Okay Moms, your turn! Have you tried out any of these delivery services? Are they life-changers? Something you are committed to or would use just in a bind? Give us your scoop {and tips!} in the comments below! 


Stephanie - Guest BioAbout Stephanie

Stephanie was born and raised in Texas, and she received an Interior Design degree from Stephen F. Austin.  She met Aaron in 2004 at Second Baptist Church. He asked her out; she said no. Six months later, they were engaged. She briefly worked as an Interior Designer in Houston before her first pregnancy landed her on bed rest and her career came to an abrupt end. Since that time, she has pursued her true calling as a mother. She now has five children, ages 9, 7, 5, 2, and 1. After trying to find a perfect school for her kids, she finally chose homeschooling so she could spend more time with her sweet children and address their individual learning styles. She spends her days teaching, reading children’s books, and playing outside with her noisy happy crew. Her house is rarely clean, but she delights in the snuggles, laughs, and the joys of her large family.

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2 Responses to Grocery Shopping From Home :: The Real Deal

  1. Jaclyn
    Jaclyn July 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Loved this breakdown! I love HEB to You and hope they will expand beyond the one location now. I also was close to trying SHIPT, but will hold off as they work out their kinks – don’t have time for all those mess ups!

  2. Christal July 28, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    I use Amazon Prime Now at least three times a week. I don’t recommend fruits, vegetables, or meat. Portions are small and not good quality. I find the food prices similar to Kroger and sometimes cheaper.

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