Online Grocery Ordering

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Buying grocery online

Dec 2002

I recently ordered from for the first time and the experience wasn't that great (more below), so I'd like to know if this was an exception or if other people had similar experiences. Also, how about experiences with other online-groceries like What happened:Essentially I got a different flavor/scent for a number of things that I ordered without that being marked as substitution plus for some things where I ordered one I got two (without being billed for the surplus items). To me it looks like the person selecting the stuff in the store does not pay any attention at all. Overall I got more than I paid for, but if this is what usually happens, I'm not likely to use it again. You can return things that you did not order but this would mean you really have to check every single item while the driver is waiting and if there are that many mistakes you end up not getting half the things you ordered. an annoyed online-shopper

I have been using Albertson's online ordering for about 6 months. I place an order about every 2 weeks (we visit the Bowl for all our fresh stuff, just use online ordering for Cokes, TP, diapers, etc.) I was a weekly Webvan customer -- still torn up about that -- Albertson's is not as good as Webvan. I looked at both Safeway and Albertson's and started using the latter because when I looked, they had a wider selection and more of the products I wanted. For example, when I checked 6 months ago, the only kind of milk I could get from Safeway was Lucerne, whereas Albertsons had several brands to choose from. I have been OK with Albertson's, so I never have gone back to try Safeway. Maybe it is better than it was when I looked before. At any rate...

Re substitions: Albertson's lets you choose whether you want them to substitute a similar brand. I always pick ''no'' for substitutions and so far they have not done that. I wouldn't like it either.

Re out-of-stock items: Typically of 20 items I order, 1 or 2 will be out of stock. That is acceptable for me.

Re items I didn't order: Albertson's sometimes throws in ''bonus'' items that I really don't want. For instance, during July they had a special 4th of July thing where they give you BBQ items if you spend more than some hard-to-determine amnount of money. a pack of cheapo cookies, a pound of ground beef, store brand bbq sauce, buns, etc. However my babysitter was very pleased to have the items. And you can opt out.

Re: mixed-up items: I can only remember 1 or 2 times when I got the wrong thing. For example, once I got AA batteries instead of AAA. This has not been a very big problem.

They have only come later than they said one time, and that time they phoned me. (out of about 20 orders - that's pretty good!) The delivery guy - usually the same one every time, is friendly enough, fast and efficient.

All in all, I would say it is very convenient and I will continue to use Albertson's. It ain't the Berkeley Bowl, and it ain't Webvan either, but it sure beats lugging packs of diapers, softdrinks, laundry detergent, etc. out of the car and up the steps. Ginger

I still miss Webvan! That aside, I've tried about half a dozen times and use weekly for produce/organic products. Albertsons is no webvan, but sounds better than from the tales I've heard (and experienced so far). The delivery fee of $9.95 seems to be made up for in the bargains/sale items. I have had missed items a few times (annoying when it's the milk!), but would recommend Albertsons. Planet organics is really awesome for produce and some smaller items. JV
I have had the same problem with They don't seem to select the groceries with the same care that I would. I give them feedback to try to improve the service. In terms of getting the exact item, I have found it is useful to shop using the ''favorites'' section of the website. These include items that I have purchased in the past, and are recorded thru the use of the club card. I decided not to get produce from them and have a box of produce delivered each week from one of the organic services. I only have safeway deliver periodically, to see how they are improving. busy mom is NOT Webvan! sent me products I never ordered, substituted entirely different, lower-end products for the ones I ordered (generic ''pancake syrup'' instead of high- grade maple syrup), and obviously never looked at any of the notes written in the section carefully provided on the order form (I received 2 pounds bulk carrots, not 2 bags of little baby carrots as requested). Waiting time on the phone to talk to customer service: 8 minutes. Waiting time to get a response to my e-mail: 8 days. Response from impersonal form letter telling me to read the fine print, which apparently says my one-time delivery fee of $10 is worth more to than my long-term satisfaction. Getting only 80% of the order right still meant I had to go back to the store for the remaining 20% --- how frustrating! Debra (Thanksgiving for 14)
Your experience sounds pretty typical. I used for a month or so when my baby was new born and I had similar experiences to what you described every time. They made a lot of substitutions, gave me several things I didn't order or pay for and if I wanted to return things I had to fill out paper work while the driver was there. I have to add that I thought it was worth it at the time because I was recovering from a c-section but you really don't have that much control over your shopping. Danielle