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Ordering online groceries won’t take a week anymore

Summary

Remember those long, long waits to get online groceries delivered back in March and April? Those coronavirus pandemic shortages that created delays of at least a week for orders to be fulfilled have been replaced now by normal delivery times. […]

Remember those long, long waits to get online groceries delivered back in March and April? Those coronavirus pandemic shortages that created delays of at least a week for orders to be fulfilled have been replaced now by normal delivery times.

“The waits were so extreme during the height of coronavirus fear,” notes Ryan Ford, a San Francisco web designer who has shopped often for online groceries. “Now, it’s a lot easier.” With the pandemic back in full force again in many parts of the country, and consumers being urged again to spend more time at home. We looked at Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Instacart, Postmates, Target, Walmart and shopping from local markets in the Los Angeles area, and the results were night and day from what we saw in March and April, back when it was so hard to fulfill orders. But all was not perfect, with some foods being out of stock, delivery times wildly fluctuating depending upon what time of the day you ordered. And some services were downright confusing. (See the Target section below.)

Amazon Fresh
The promise is “same day delivery” when you visit the website, and when we did a mock order early Tuesday morning, we were given slots for a late afternoon or early evening delivery, but when we tried an order again at 1:30 p.m., we were told delivery times for Tuesday were all gone. That said, Amazon told us it was wide open Wednesday and Thursday for delivery, but many key foods were out of stock, including best-sellers like Diet Coke, A&W Root Beer, Morningstar Farms garden burgers and some brands of cheese sticks. Delivery service is free for members of Amazon’s Prime entertainment and expedited shipping service, which costs $119 yearly, but customers need to have a minimum order, which is around $35-$40 depending upon where you live.

Whole Foods
Amazon owned Whole Foods also promised free two-hour delivery, but that’s not what the checkout said. Our 1:55 p.m. order had a $4.99 delivery attached to have food arrive by 4 p.m., or free if delivered by 6 p.m. Whole Foods ordered to deliver the same items the following day, between 6 and 10 p.m. Again, there are minimum purchases to qualify for the free delivery.

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