Coffee heat rising

First Instacart Experiment: FAIL!

LOL! Well, ordering up stuff from Costco via Instacart did not start out on the most auspicious foot of all possible feet. 😀

So I jump through the hoops to sign up to Instacart. Once you establish yourself as an official human with an official charge card, you can navigate over to the store of your choice — they seem to be doing deliveries from every market in the city.

Once in the virtual store, I order up a few things that I need — not many, because this is a test run.

Among the discoveries:

  • Steaks are now way outside my price range. Check that off the list, right away.
  • They do not display “Coastal” cheddar cheese, which is the brand I favor. I order another brand.
  • Neither do they display blue cheese in chunks. Apparently most of their customers think of blue cheese as something that exists only in crumbles.
  • They’re out of flour, like every other retailer in town.
  • They do not carry cucumbers (but we knew that…).
  • But they do have a particularly wonderful brand of smoked salmon.

Whatever. I order up a bunch of stuff, including a package of apples, since the trees are almost out of oranges. When the orange season ends, I go back to eating an apple with breakfast.

Amazingly, their delivery arrives at 11:22 a.m. Yes: I ordered around 9 a.m. and they showed up over here before noon.

Also amazingly, apparently ringing a doorbell is not part of the delivery person’s job description. She dropped the delivery on the front porch and, since I don’t have a smart phone and can’t get texts, she e-mailed me.

Forty-five minutes later, I notice this e-mail. It is 102 degrees out there. Cripes.

So I fly to the door and drag the stuff into the garage, where I wash down every plastic-sealed goddamn package in detergent water before hacking it open with a pair of scissors.

Fortunately the cheese was not melted. That’s because, like most US-made mass-produced “cheeses,” it’s not cheese. So now I have a gigantic brick of tasteless orange stuff. Yuck!

This is not unexpected. However, here’s the jaw-dropper:

Costco sells its apples in plastic clamshell boxes. One of these boxes holds 12 apples.

What I got was a plastic bag that appears to have come with something that required measured dispensing — not a grocery store bag, but made of the same flimsy, environmentally polluting flyaway plastic. And, in there were nine apples.

I didn’t register this until I’d washed them and brought them in the house. And boy, was I annoyed.

So now I email Instacart to complain about this — after I’d already clicked 5 Stars in response to the lightning-fast delivery, even though I was also a little annoyed that the delivery lady couldn’t be bothered to ring the doorbell.

Forthwith I get back an annoying form letter. This morning a letter from a human arrived, saying they’re giving me a $5.49 refund.

Okay. So…that’s not too bad. This afternoon I’m going to order a few things from AJ’s, my favorite overpriced retailer.

So far, perusing the offerings…

  • Yes, they do have flour. King Arthur, no less!
  • Wine prices are prohibitive: they’re trying to get $15 for a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon blanc. That’s an $8 wine.
  • On the other hand…some Bogle wines are only slightly inflated: around twelve bucks. That’s still too high for cheap wine…I can get my son to buy that for me.
  • They do not offer the chunks of blue cheese online…only crumbles.
  • They do have a couple of their good loaves of bread, which will spare me from having to bake it.
  • Apparently you can NOT buy fresh meat from AJ’s through Instacart. Fortunately, I still have plenty in the Costco lifetime supply.

However… If you order through Amazon, you can get blue cheese in a solid piece (assuming you don’t mind paying $15 a pound for it). Apparently Amazon doesn’t deliver wine.

However, Instacart does deliver from Total Wines. I haven’t looked yet to see what the charges are there. The best nearby place that I’ve found for cheap table wine is, incredibly enough, Walmart’s Neighborhood Market. That’s where I found the amazing Oyster Bay wine to start with. They also carry several other drinkable brands.

At any rate: this afternoon we’re at Instacart Experiment #2: I just clicked “send.” We shall see….

6 thoughts on “First Instacart Experiment: FAIL!”

  1. I braved the grocery store last night and I’m sure several of the shoppers I saw were fulfilling orders for Instacart. I could tell because they were consulting their phones the entire time and fumbling their way through the aisles. I had to help one guy find the canned black eyed peas.

    I’m not sure I can do my own shopping anymore, though. I was so stressed out by the people strolling around without masks or coming so close to me. I don’t see very well out of my right eye now and having people apparently appear from nowhere when approaching from that side already makes me anxious. More so when we’re supposed to be keeping social distance.

    • Yipes…you got to this post before I came back to reread it and spotted a constellation of typos. 😀

      Yes. I agree: going out in public just now is downright alarming. I tried AJ’s 6 a.m. shopping hour for the elderly set. Some old buzzard…I’ll SWEAR he was following me around, because no matter which way I turned, there he was…kept coming up behind me and pushing his cart up against mine, or appearing in front of me and blocking my way. So I decided the Senile Hour was not a very good idea.

      The Instacart lady showed up shortly after I hit “post” for this squib. She did a pretty good job. Clearly the fact that cooking has never been a vogue thing for this generation (as it was for mine) will pose a problem: they have NO clue how to pick out produce. However, Instacart has a place to enter special instructions, so I guess that’s where you can explain how to tell if an avocado is anywhere near ripe. It’s better than risking your own life to buy an avocado, though. I guess…

  2. About two months ago, I had an experience with online grocery ordering – but I wasn’t the person who ordered it. I live in a 32 unit apartment building with a courtyard. I came back from a walk and there were three grocery bags in front of my door. I couldn’t tell what store they came from. There was a printout with what looked like a first name with four letters of a last name. I took the bags down to the lobby and checked the mail box – nothing matched. So I just left the bags in the lobby and eventually different people shopped the bags. The whole experience did not leave a positive view on online grocery shopping.

    • Wow! So the person who had ordered the groceries never got them? That would be ever so slightly infuriating.

      It looks like the online grocery shopping project varies according to several factors:

      * Which shopper you happen to get. Some of them aren’t the brightest rhinestones…
      * What you’re ordering. Because many Americans eat mostly packaged & prepared foods, a lot of people have no clue how to select fresh produce, nor are they familiar with products (such as flour) that are ingredients in things you’d cook at home.
      * What is available on the shelves. With restaurants mostly closed, people are picking the shelves bare. There are shortages of all sorts of things, some of which you’d never guess.

      Yesterday afternoon I tried again, with better success. I’ll write about that today, sometime after the sun comes up.

  3. I thought you had a smart phone. texting is very convenient when you only want one thing. Plus with my memory, having a written record is great to refer to later.

    • It would be convenient, for sure. But…

      * I can’t afford one. Living on Social Security, you cannot buy an expensive toy and pay yet another monthly bill.
      * I tried an Android version and could NOT, for the life of me, figure out how to use it.
      * I’m told the iPhone is more user-friendly for the aged brain, but I can’t afford $1000 to buy a phone.
      * The land line allows me to have a phone in every room, which means I don’t have to run through the house searching for the phone every time someone rings me up.
      * My land line phone has a killer call-blocking function. In these parts, most of us get upwards of a dozen nuisance soliciting calls every day. With the call blocker, no more than one pest gets through per day, and many days not even one.
      * I do not want to be tracked around. Smartphones make it possible for various parties to follow you everywhere you go. Thanks, but no thanks.

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