I find that time management is a big stress factor in my life. So, this holiday season I decided if there was an “app” for something that could save me time, I was going to try it out. I got the idea after I discovered Instacart this past October. I literally was able to throw my daughter’s Halloween party 8 hours after landing from an International flight for work thanks to Instacart. So, the past few weeks I have had everything from Costco to Christmas Trees delivered to my house, yes even my Christmas Tree. Some of the deliveries lowered my blood pressure, such as avoiding Whole Foods on Thanksgiving Eve; others raised it, like when I got the $80.00 bill for my mobile gel manicure. Either way, I learned that the internet and apps can save you time… or turn you into a carb-loading recluse. So as we count down to the holidays my friend, Carol, encouraged me to share my stresspertise with you in a daily series we will call, “There is an App for that?!!”
My First Trial: INSTACART
As many of you already know, the grocery delivery app, Instacart, has been sweeping the nation. While grocery delivery is not exactly a new idea, Instacart has a game-changing feature, a “personal shopper.” With a tap of your finger you can have someone whisking up and down the aisles of your favorite grocery store for you. All of a sudden you are able to find the the time to take a bubble bath or hit the gym! So what happens if something you want is out of stock or is a higher price than listed on the app? No worries, Ben (your personal shopper) will give you a jingle and let you know some options you can swap out your choice for. Are you worried about the ingredients? Have no fear my gluten-free friends! “Ben” will even check labels for you and read you the ingredients over the phone if need be. So what’s the catch? Well, we don’t know yet. I am guessing as this app becomes more and more popular the optional $99.00 express membership will be more important to have if you want your groceries within 2 hours. As of now you can pay an express $3.99 fee if you don’t have the membership and want delivery in a timely manner. (This fee also applies to orders under 35 dollars with or without the membership.) You can also just choose free delivery depending on the delivery time windows.
WHAT I DID: So the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I was exhausted and had no time to shop, and I needed to prepare a dinner for 12 people. Could Instacart handle the load? Yes, and then some! One shopper picked up all my liquor at Costco, another all my dietary restricted needs from Wholefoods, and the items that were cheaper at our regional store Ralph’s, were delivered by yet a third shopper within 2 hours of my request. Only downside was I had to tip 3 people, but trust me as I sipped a gorgeous glass of Cabernet and made my pumpkin pie I didn’t mind.
HOW IT WORKS: Depending on what’s available in your area, you can choose which Instacart-friendly store you would like delivery from. For example, in my area I can choose from Costco, Wholefoods, Ralph’s, Gelsons, Smart and Final, and Super King (a local store). Once you select your store you can start shopping. You can choose to shop from more than one store at once if you like.
- They don’t price gouge, like most grocery delivery. The only time I have paid more than going to the store is when I ordered Costco, which makes sense to me seeing they have a membership fee. If you scroll in your app you can actually see if the prices are the same as in store.
- Tip is optional, but come on, people, you have someone doing your dirty work so TIP!!!!!
- The rush delivery fee is small for the amount of customer service you are getting. Also, your first order is free delivery in most areas.
- You can shop multiple stores in one check out. Thanksgiving Eve I had deliveries from Costco, Whole Foods, and Ralphs.
- It is way cheaper than Amazon Fresh and has more options. I love me some Amazon but Instacart right now blows it away in price and grocery options.
- It is not available everywhere yet. I hear in many cities it does not extend to the suburbs.
- The website is not updated with items, so don’t assume that an item you don’t see listed is not available.
- There is a section that says “request an item” write what you are looking for in there and many times they have it. I find that the Costco items are very limited on the site even though the store has it all in stock. (Don’t be afraid to ask your personal shopper to check!)
- Because of its growing popularity, wait times for delivery have begun to increase and will most likely continue to do so as more people find out about Instacart.