[Laura James/Pexels]

How to Get Your Groceries to Come to You, During the Pandemic and Beyond

16:19 May 04, 2020
By: Raissi Bysiewicz

Amy Gebler of Seattle, one of the first epicenters of the coronavirus in the United States, claims that she has become addicted to scoring hard-to-come-by grocery delivery slots. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 48-year-old single mother keeps carts on three separate platforms—Amazon Fresh, Safeway, and QFC, owned by supermarket chain Kroger—all of which she monitors constantly. Gebler refreshes these tabs as she works from home during the day and wakes up periodically throughout the night to check their availability. Regardless of what her cart contains, she snatches any slot which opens, ordering immediately after. As the mom of three adolescent boys with hefty appetites, she is constantly needing to restock on food.

Amid the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended curbside pickup or home delivery whenever possible. In many cities across the country, shopping in-store has become quite an ordeal. Customers must cope with long entrance lines, other stressed consumers seeking to maintain a six-foot distance,andempty shelves where high-demand items would normally be located. Considering this, people and families nationwide have resorted to online services. However, as the demand for delivery has skyrocketed, citizens must be more strategic than ever to secure a slot.

According to Gebler and other expert shoppers, individuals may set themselves up for checkout success through a bit of research. Three of America'sleading services—Instacart, Amazon Fresh/Whole Foods/Prime Now, and Walmart—all operate in uniquelocations, offer various deals, and impose distinct minimums. First, Instacart requires orders to be $35 or more and institutes either a 5 percent or $2 baseline service fee in addition to various delivery costs starting at $3.99. Customers may bypass the latter charge by purchasing an annual Instacart Express membership for $99. Gebler advises that those utilizing this option should avoid shopping on Sundays, as the highest volume of orders are placed on this day. Moreover, she suggeststhat peoplepre-tip and constantly refresh their apps for better luck finding openings.

As for Amazon-operated services, there are no mandatory minimums. Fees range from $4.99 to $9.99, and exclusive deals are available to $119-a-year Prime members. When slots are full, Gebler notes that consumers may find more availability through the in-store pickup option at Whole Foods. This is especially true for shoppers who are disabled, high-risk, and 60 plus, as the chain has announced that it will reserve the first hour of pickup for these folks.

Finally, Walmart imposes a cart minimum of $30, delivery fees of $7.95 to $9.95, and offers free-delivery monthly and yearly memberships, priced at $13 and $98, respectively. The corporation allows individuals to update their orders after they are placed, as long as it is before a cut-off time. Furthermore, Walmart enables them to snag a slot up to seven days in advance.

Gebler warns consumers about Chrome extensions and scripts, which may be malicious and capable of harvesting one's personal information. Though "delivery checker" browser tools may be tempting, she states that it is wise to ignore them for this reason. Happy shopping!

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