When it comes to grocery shopping, a little experimenting can be misleading.
I’ve been comparing two different ways of buying the groceries I need: (1) ordering on-line with home delivery, and (2), visiting the supermarket myself, making my selections, and doing my own delivery.
Of course if you’re a senior no longer driving your own car, like me, you may not really have a choice. I rely on a daughter to do the on-line ordering, and a firm called Instacart, working with a store such as Cub Foods, does the delivery.
When I want to shop in person my son or another daughter drives me, or I take a bus or taxi.
As you will see from my comparison shopping, the old-fashioned way of buying–doing it myself–appears to save a pile of money. I say appears to because my research sample is quite small and was done just once rather than replicated several times to confirm the findings.
My recommendation is that you try both methods yourself and compare the result. If you have outcomes similar to mine, tell the world. For sure!
If you don’t drive or have someone who drives you, you may not really have a practical choice. A person can take the bus or a cab, but to board the bus with a couple of heavy bags of groceries isn’t easy. And a cab is expensive. Cost totals begin to even out.
Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper
Quite a cost difference!
Some users of delivery believe their individual item prices are identical regardless of how you buy. Not true here. The delivered chicken weighed two pounds, the undelivered 1.94 pounds. Both were skinless and boneless.
To note the obvious, it is logical that doing the purchasing and delivery yourself should reduce your total cost. Hiring someone else to do your work almost always costs more.
It occurs to me as well that if I can afford to spend up for my groceries I might choose to do so other than for delivery. There are up-scale grocery sellers here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Lund’s for example, which I like for their mix of unique grocery items.
Bud Prescott, a Minneapolis senior, and his wife Arlis began buying groceries on-line with “free” delivery about two years ago and like it, said Bud. “We place our order weekly and realize we pay extra for the delivery service. We expect our item prices to be no greater then we’d pay if we were doing the shopping ourselves. Our orders go through Cub and Aldi. Our delivery fee is $3.99 with Cub, $7.99 by Aldi. I don’t tip extra.”
You don’t have to be wealthy to order groceries delivered, says Marty Rasmussen, an Augustana Minneapolis resident. She quit driving two years ago and now orders groceries delivered a couple times per month. She orders about $70 to $100 worth of groceries at a time, doing the computer work herself after some training by a daughter. She does not include in her order a fancy pastry that she likes–a small heart-shaped scone, preferring to go to the store and hand-select the pastries individually.
Sometimes guided by activities director Amanda Singh, several other Augustana residents place grocery delivery orders. “No transportation of their own is the primary motivation for ordering,” says Amanda. Before the COVID pandemic, she reminds, Augustana provided bus transport for shopping trips, and probably will do so again.
Although Katherine McGrane takes her meals from the Augustana kitchen, she works with Amanda and places an Instacart order once per month. “I still need a variety of items, such as juice,” said Katherine.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., Instacart owns and manages much of the grocery delivery system in cooperation with a variety of chain supermarkets, some mentioned above.
Filling a variety of needs, the concept of grocery delivery appears to be here to stay. It is not, however, a new idea. My childhood memory recalls an uncle in Oklahoma who owned and operated an early-days grocery market and sometimes delivered customer orders himself. I once tagged along and helped uncle not only carry the sacks into the customer’s kitchen but put the purchased items away into cupboards, the refrigerator, etc.
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