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Grocery pickup services: The good and the bad

Grocery pickup services: The good and the bad - The Hot Mess Press

When grocery pickup services were first offered in local grocery stores, I was skeptical. My first thought was “wow, are people so lazy they can’t shop for their own groceries?” But once I started using grocery pickup services at 2 of my local stores, I was hooked. There are so many benefits that come with this type of service. There are also some downsides. But to me, the good outweighs the bad. If you haven’t tried a grocery pickup service yet, maybe this information will help you decide if it’s right for you.

Benefits of grocery pickup services

One of the most important benefits to me is the ease of choosing what I want and knowing the total of my groceries before I submit my order. I use grocery pickup from Walmart.com and have been ordering from them consistently for almost 2 years. I’ve had excellent experiences in the majority of my orders with just a few minor issues. The great thing about Walmart’s online grocery pickup is that the service is free. I’ve also used the online ordering at Kroger.com and they do charge a fee. The benefit of using Kroger over Walmart is that you can load coupons to your Kroger card online and they automatically come off your total. Both stores send a text notification to tell you when your order is ready. They also include information on unavailable items or substitutions so you know ahead of time. Walmart and Kroger give you the option to refuse substitutions during pickup.

The downside

One of the biggest negatives about using grocery pickup is that someone else is picking your produce and meat. For many people, this is a dealbreaker but so far I’ve only had issues a few times with Walmart’s picks and they’ve always issued me a refund quickly once I emailed them about the issue. The other concern with both pickup services I’ve used is substitutions. The substitution policy will vary based on where you shop. Walmart tends to substitute up with a larger package size or different brand. In my experience with Kroger, they usually say an item is out of stock rather than offer a pricier substitution in place of what you ordered. I think most stores have a policy where they never charge you more than the cost of the exact product you ordered. Check out your specific store’s substitution policy before you shop.

Using an online grocery ordering service saves time and money. Plus, it keeps you out of the stores in a time when it’s best to avoid crowds. Grocery pickup is especially convenient during a pandemic or other emergency. But it’s also great for weekly shopping. Many stores offer free pickup while some charge a fee for the service. Be sure to understand your store’s policy on substitutions and out of stock items before using the service. Through a little trial and error, you may find you prefer using grocery pickup to shopping in-store. Plus, it gives you more time to spend doing things you actually enjoy.

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