The Convenience of ShopRite Home Delivery…Not So MuchJuly 30, 2012
I may have made mention of this before, but I love grocery shopping. I love the tactile and aromatic experience of handling fresh produce; I love the fluorescent-lit aisles that seem to go on forever; I love the sometimes good, sometimes terrible music that descends from overhead; and until I began bringing children along with me, I always felt relaxed at the supermarket. It’s the weekly chore I actually look forward to doing. I know some people loathe grocery shopping the way I loathe doing laundry, or cleaning, or vacuuming, or emptying the dishwasher, or mowing the lawn, or just about any household task you can think of. Relatively recently some supermarkets began offering online shopping and delivery of groceries, a convenience that certainly sounds like a helpful and useful means of getting food into your house. Extenuating circumstances prevented the MHK from visiting the supermarket this weekend, but since we needed food for the week, we decided to check out ShopRite’s home delivery service. The results? Let’s put it this way – you’d have to really, really hate going to the grocery store to deal with the nonsense that befell us throughout the experience.
Initially everything was smooth – the web site is easy enough to navigate; you set up an account, and you start shopping. You can browse by category – bakery, produce, meats, deli, etc. – and it continually breaks down each category into more specific ones until you find what you need. Or you can type anything into the search box and it will take you there. You can add a note to any item, should you feel the need; for example, I ordered a garlic bulb, but in the notes I requested one without bruises and with a short stem. If you order half a dozen fresh bakery bagels, you can specify the flavors you want. They didn’t have completely everything I was looking for, but for the most part, I filled up my cart with just about everything I needed. I selected a delivery time (they only have so many slots during the day, so the earlier you order, the better chance you have of getting them when you want); you can choose to pay online with a card, or give your card to the driver and pay on delivery. And if you spend a certain amount ($100 I think), there’s no delivery charge. So far, everything was just fine.
A few hours after I placed my order, they called me. They had a list of 4 or 5 things that I had ordered that were out of stock. She offered me alternatives for some, but not all items. I was a little annoyed – if something is out of stock, the web site should indicate it. But it was ok, I selected some replacement items and that was that. Except it wasn’t. 10 minutes later she called back. One of the replacement items was out of stock too. And she had to check on a new out of stock item now as well. Ok, I made some decisions, and that was that. Except it wasn’t…again. The phone rang for the third time in 25 minutes – yet another issue with an item that she thought was there but wasn’t, and it turns out that one of the original out of stock items was in stock, but not in the same variety I wanted. By now I had turned sour and annoyed at the process – the lady assured me that was the last call, and my food would arrive on time. Fine, good, see ya.
Fast forward to the evening – my selected delivery time was between 7-9pm (I ordered late so it was the only available slot that day). At about 7:40 my phone rings – guess who. She asked if the delivery had come yet (it had not) – apparently two bags were left at the store instead of being put on the delivery van. Did I want the driver to come back to get them after he delivered my other groceries, or did I want to pick them up myself, or have them delivered tomorrow? Those were the three options I was presented with (I thought of a fourth option for her, but I didn’t say it out loud). I asked if he would go straight back to the store and straight back to my house – she said she had no idea, depended if he had other deliveries or not (she was clearly annoyed at having to even call me, no sympathy or what I would call even mediocre customer service at all). I said I needed the food that night, so I guess the driver would have to go back and get it. She muttered some response and hung up. Makin’ you want to call them right now, isn’t it? The driver showed up at 8:45 – he was nice enough; I told him about the two missing bags – he said he’d go right back to get them, he had no more deliveries. He returned 20 minutes later with the bags; I tried to give him a nice tip (all this nonsense wasn’t his fault), but he said they can’t accept tips. He was the only ShopRite employee I felt good about giving my money to, and he couldn’t take it. Head-shaking, I know.
I sorted through the bags, making sure I got everything I was supposed to. Guess what – nope. I had ordered a pint of ice cream – one of the phone calls was about them not having that one in stock, so I ordered a replacement. It didn’t show up in the bag, making Mrs. MHK quite annoyed. They didn’t charge me for it, but still – ice cream was ordered. I had also ordered half a dozen bagels – they brought 12. They only charged me for 6, but still – the incompetence, even though this one worked in my favor, is prevalent.
Needless to say, we will not be using ShopRite’s home delivery service again. What was supposed to be a convenient means of grocery shopping turned into a huge pain in our mousey asses. So before you poo-poo having to go grocery shopping, keep in mind that it could be worse.