Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peapod Pick-up Review

Sunday mornings are usually my day to head out grocery shopping. Before Liam was born, I would head to three different grocery stores to get the best deals. I loved to shop, plan meals and look to see whats new. Now, grocery shopping is a nightmare. My husband (Steve) has been busy on the weekends studying for a big civil engineering exam and so I have been taking Liam to the store with me. It takes anywhere from 1-1.5 hours to get through the store. He loves the pouches in the baby food aisle, and so if we do not head to the baby aisle first, all hell breaks loose and he has a complete melt down (mind you, he is a rather large toddler, with a rather large appetite. He can eat about 3 of those pouches in minutes). Then he is either trying to take items OUT of the cart or put random items into the cart. Just the other week he was mad that I wouldn't give him a yogurt right then and there in the store. No toddler wants to hear "You can have it when you get home". Somehow he stretched right back (while my back was turned, looking at cheese) and there goes the yogurt, flying across the store at some poor unsuspecting customer...

During this rather "eventful" grocery trip I am usually trying to look to see what is on sale, while trying to compare sodium content, while checking to see if there is any high fructose corn syrup, while looking to see if I have a coupon. I usually end up either forgetting to give the coupon at the checkout or forgetting the one item I went to the store for and both Liam and I leave frustrated.

I then saw this lovely sign at the local Stop & Shop that FREE Pick-up was coming to the store. It was through a company called Peapod and so upon arriving home, I looked up more information. It was true that it was 100% free to pick up and that if you wanted them delivered, there would be a delivery charge. I made an account, put in my store preference, credit card information and started shopping. I was able to find a $20 off coupon for first time customers. Already this made the experience worth it. Then I went to look for all my items online. The site gave you many different options of finding an item, including listing by unit price first, or even by sodium content. Once you found an item that you want, you could click on it, see the nutritional label (including the ingredients!) and add it to your cart. If there is an online coupon (usually those you see though coupon.com), it can deduct it right off your bill.

What I also like was that it will gave you a running total of what your bill was so far and how much you have saved. This is great for those trying to stay within a particular budget. I made my order Friday and chose a time slot on Tuesday (the first day the store opened with the service) to pick up my groceries. What I loved was that if you forgot an item, you could go back later and add it. It would then email you the updated order list. You had until midnight, the day before if it was an afternoon pickup, or 4pm the day before if it was a morning pickup, to make changes. You could also start an order and schedule it for pickup up to two weeks in advance. This is great for when you NEED to pick it up at a particular time and you are afraid of someone taking that time slot.

When I got to the store it was 5:03pm, right after work. I pulled into the designated spot and out came an attendant. She asked if I was here to pick up my order and had me sign a piece of paper (I later found out that this paper was to tell me what was substituted or not included in my order). She went back to these Peapod storage containers, filled up a cart with my groceries, brought it back to my car and loaded up my car. With her, this time, was a Peapod representative who informed me that I was their first customer! Once I had all my groceries in the car, I handed her my 10 coupons. She informed me that they would be credited to my account within 5 days. I went to hand her my credit card and she said that it was already paid for online. That was it! I got back in my car and we left. It was 5:08 and I didn't even have to get Liam out of his car seat.



I first wondered about my ice cream and cold items. Would they still be cold/frozen? I was then worried about the produce. How fresh would it be? Once I got back I put all the bags on the counter and started to unpack. One Con: LOTS OF BAGS! Some bags had just one item in there. I counted 18 plastic bags. I finally got everything unpacked and noticed that everything was very fresh, and in some cases, fresher than normal. For example, I bought 1lb of red seedless grapes.

They were beautiful, plump and all still on the vine. They had even packed them inside of a plastic box so that they wouldn't get squashed. The bananas where perfectly ripe and my zucchini were in good condition. Also, my ice cream was still frozen while my other cold items were cold to the touch.

I then noticed that I was missing 2 bags of chips. I quickly called the store while looking online at my invoice. As I was talking to the store manager, I quickly realized that they had sold out of that item. Normally they would have just substituted that bag for something else, but these were sweet potato chips and a "specialty item". Apparently they didn't have a substitution and it was written on the sheet that I had signed when I had first arrived.

As a summary:

Pros
  • Free (for pick-up only)
  • Quick (time saving)
  • Money saving
  • Fresh produce
  • Easy if you have dietary restrictions or "picky eaters"
Cons
  • Lots of plastic bags
  • Not all the items will be in stock
  • Does not carry all items (that the Stop and Shop may normally carry)
  • You don't know what cuts of meat you are getting, or what your produce will look like
  • Does not always have the same sales as your local store
I had mentioned that you can't get everything through Peapod, which is slightly annoying. For example, my husband and I like mint sauce on our beef/pork. Peapod does not carry mint sauce but the Stop and Shop does. The Stop and Shop also carries "Kidfresh" which is a brand in the frozen food section. Peapod does not.

Would I use Peapod again. YES. In fact, I already have my Sunday time slot reserved.