Food City Grocery Delivery with Instacart — Unpaid Review

30 Oct

Last night, a friend posted on Facebook that she had tried the new-to-our-area Food City grocery delivery service through Instacart, and it took NO twisting of my arm to jump on this.  On Mondays, the 3 little boys and I stay home all day which means that in order to get any groceries, I have to dress them, load them into car seats, go to the store, unload them into a buggy, shop, check out, reload them into car seats, put the groceries in the car, drive home, unload kids and groceries, and then put the food up.  If you think I enjoy that process, then I’ve got some property I’d like to sell you.

With milk running low in our fridge, temperatures in the 30’s, and kids happily playing, today was a great day to test this service.  I put the laptop on my kitchen bar and set to work.  I added a few things that I knew we needed (milk, coffee creamer, and shredded cheese) but as I combed through our fridge and pantry, I found several more things to add that weren’t even on my list.  I ended up with 13 items in my cart and set off into checking out.  The process was very simple overall, but I wanted to share a few notes on the pros, cons, and some things to consider or remember for anyone else who is interested in trying this service out for themselves.

(Also, let me note that this is a post that I am writing totally independently–other than a link I can share for credit when friends try this, I am getting no compensation for writing this.)

STORE: Food City

I very rarely shop at Food City, to be quite honest.  I have an ALDI and a Wal-mart 3.5 miles from me that I go to frequently where as the closest FC to my house is 5 miles away in a direction that I don’t tend to go.  ALDI consistently brings me in with low prices, and Wal-mart has such a huge selection compared to a traditional grocer so they are my usual “go-to” places.  (Plus, my husband passes them on the way home which makes it easy to send a “I need something on your way home from work” text for those spots.)

SELECTION: Brand variety

For the most part, I was pleased with the variety of brands and options for the items I searched for.  I was a tad disappointed that many of the store brand items did not have pictures like the name brand items did.  It took a little more time to make sure I was getting exactly what I wanted considering I couldn’t rely on a photo as much.  I think this will get better with time though as the service remembers items I’ve previously purchased.

PRICE: Individual items

As far as I could tell, the items were priced like they are in the brick and mortar store or were very close.  I’ve never associated FC with having the lowest prices around across the board, though, so I know there were a few things that were a bit more than I am used to paying at other places.

DISCOUNTS: Value Card & Credits

At the check out, there was a place to add my FC loyalty card number which lowered the price of my total by about $10.  I assume that on future orders, this will be reflected on individual prices as I am shopping.  Also, I received a $10 discount from using an individual’s shopping link.  (When you share your link, others can get the discount and you can receive up to $50 in credit yourself.)  Lastly, if I used my debit card for the purchase instead of a credit card, I received an additional 1% off of my order.  Yes, please!

FEES: Added at check out

Because this was my first time using this service, my delivery fee was waived which was a huge plus. According to the Instacart website, future delivery fees will be determined by order size and delivery time.  (So, a big order with a short turn around would cost more.)  There was also a Service & Tip amount that was automatically set to 10% of my order total.  You have the option to change this, and I did.  Because I went through an individual’s personal link, I received a $10 discount, and since my Service fee was smaller than that discount, I bumped it up to the 10 bucks.  The service fee is split evenly between anyone who works on the order, and let’s face it–this is a capitalistic society and if no one makes any money off of this venture, then there is no incentive to continue it.  (Plus my mother is a part of what she calls the “ministry of excessive tipping” which I tend to gravitate towards too.  If I can make someone else’s day a smidge better with a few extra bucks, I’m gonna.)

(Optional side service note–There was an option at check out to purchase an additional service in which you pay a flat rate fee in exchange for no delivery fees for a period of time.  If you would be using this service frequently, this could very well be worth exploring.)

UPDATES: Text & Email

Once I placed my order, I immediately received an email with a link to track the progress.  A few minutes later, I received a text to let me know that my shopper Jennifer had started collecting my items.  During the shopping process, I received texts about 2 different items I had requested that were out of stock.  I was given a link to visit to find replacement items.  One of the things was a food item that I need to look at carefully because one of my children is on a restricted diet due to a metabolic disease.  As I was trying to find the ingredients online for a replacement item, Jennifer actually texted me a picture of the item she suggested as a replacement.  I asked her about the ingredients and she sent me pictures of that part of the label.  She was super friendly and helpful!  Finally, I received a text saying that my delivery was on the way with an approximate delivery time.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: 

This was a very positive experience, and I imagine that I will probably use it again in the future. Will it be my first choice? No, probably not.  If I can get to the store myself, I will.  Or if I have the time to wait for curbside pick up and avoid the delivery fees, then I will.  However, this service will be super handy for days when the weather isn’t great, and I just don’t want to get out with kiddos.

CONSIDERATIONS: 

How much is your time worth?  If you have lots of free time or really enjoy grocery shopping, then this might not appeal to you.  (Also, if you fall into those categories, then you might want to consider working for Instacart!)  However, I loved the fact that I was able to get groceries without losing the time it would have taken otherwise because I was able to do laundry, load the dishwasher, and help the children with various tasks around the house.  Yes, in the long run, I may pay more out of pocket right now, but if it saves some of my sanity or my time, then it may be worth it.  And something I didn’t think about until after my delivery–this created a job for someone.  Jennifer is a “Full-Service Shopper” which means that she is an independent contractor through Instacart so I was able to help her earn extra money by using this service.

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