Online Grocery Ordering
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I recently ordered from safeway.com 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
I still miss Webvan! That aside, I've tried Albertsons.com
about half a dozen times and use planetorganics.com weekly for
produce/organic products. Albertsons is no webvan, but sounds
better than Safeway.com 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.
I have had the same problem with safeway.com. 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
Safeway.com is NOT Webvan! Safeway.com 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 Safeway.com: impersonal form
letter telling me to read the fine print, which apparently says
my one-time delivery fee of $10 is worth more to Safeway.com
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 Safeway.com 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.
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