Ordering Groceries Online with Peapod

I have reached a new level of urban laziness. Each Saturday or Sunday, Brandon and I drudge off to the grocery store to pickup our stuff for the week. Since we eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, we can’t get away with going to the store every other week or less. The food spoils and we’ve wasted money. Oh, and we hate going to the store.

Initially, we went to Kroger. But the prices kept going up. Then we went to Meijer and recently we just started going to Wal-Mart. I certainly have no problem with Wal-Mart’s business or successes, I do have a problem with the people that go to Wal-Mart. Seriously, have you seen those people?

We both try going on Sunday mornings to avoid the rush, but it doesn’t always work out well. Our Beech Grove store, while a nice Wal-Mart by Wal-Mart standards, is crowded and I for the life of me can’t stand the kids that go with their parents to Wal-Mart.

On average, we’re thrifty and we only spend about $30 a piece each week individually. We know what we want, where it is and how to get it. It still takes us over an hour to drive the three miles to the store, get in, find the food and checkout.

When it comes to checking out, being in our 20’s, we have a propensity for going to the self-checkout scanners. Except, older people seem to like them, too. They have no idea what a PLU code is, how to scan a head of lettuce and seem to follow the voice commands of the stupid box to a T. Scan the item. Wait. Put item in bag. Wait. Scan next item. Unexpected item in bagging area. Wait…wait…wait…

Since I’ve become a recent member of Amazon Prime (free for students, by the way, a $79 value), I’ve been using Amazon more because the shipping is two days and free for Amazon-direct items. I’m home most all the time anyway, so it’s easy. Naturally, I wanted to know if I could get groceries online, too. Enter, Peapod.com.

Peapod is based in Chicago, but serves a large portion of the eastern US, including Indianapolis. The website is ugly, but it’s usable, like Craigslist. I can browse through virtual aisles, do product searches, etc. Since I keep a running list of things I need on my iPhone all week, I just search for things in Peapod and chuck it in my cart.

The prices of things are a little more expensive. For example, a loaf of bread at Wal-Mart that I like is Aunt Millie’s 5-grain wheat. It’s $1.88. On Peapod, they have comparable brands for about $2.29. .41 cents higher. Things like lettuce at Wal-Mart is exactly a $1. It’s a $1.99 on Peapod. French’s Fried Onions at Wal-Mart is about $2.79. On Peapod, it’s about a $1.20 more at $3.99. Those were the most expensive-in-comparrison items I found.

Using the site I chucked things into my cart that I needed. It came out like this:

Some of these items are Brandon’s, most are mine (we had a weird week because of Thanksgiving). Most everything is about .20 to $1.20 higher than Wal-Mart. However, some things were cheaper or don’t exist at Wal-Mart. Those baked BBQ potato chips aren’t at my Wal-Mart. That Paprika and bananas are cheaper on Peapod. The Artisan bread isn’t at Wal-Mart (it is at Meijer). The yogurt, pepper and tomatoes are the same price. The tuna, broth and taco shells are virtually the same price. After having received my order already, I can tell you that the produce and fruits look and smell fresher than Wal-Mart’s. The price difference on fresh stuff may be worth it. Canned goods, which I admitedly don’t buy much of, are considerably higher than Wal-Mart. The Manwich is almost double, the fried onions are a $1.20 higher. The taco seasoning mix is higher by about $.40, too.

In the end, I think it’s a wash. I get better quality fruits and veggies and pay about the same for the same kinds of produce. I get screwed on canned stuff, but remember, I’m grocery shopping in my pajamas.

On your first order you get $15 in free groceries. My final order was about $70. That included $7.95 for delivery, but after my discounts and online coupons they had, I paid just under $60. It was a great deal. They even accept manufacturer’s coupons, if you clip them out of the paper or fliers. Just hand them to the delivery driver and they take care of it.

The best part? I was shopping online at 5 pm Saturday. They delivered at 1:15 pm Sunday. I saved a couple bucks on shipping by choosing a larger window for delivery (12:30-5:30), but you can choose a two hour window up until 7 at night. They deliver everyday but Tuesday and Thursday.

The truck rolled up in front of the house, the man offered to bring the food to the counter, but we had him set it by the door (we didn’t know he’d come in the house if we wanted). All the frozen stuff was packed on ice. The cold stuff was chilled, too. They had all the dry goods and veggies in plastic bags. They even gave us half a dozen pieces of fruit like oranges, apples and a kiwi for free.

When the guy left, we started sorting through things. Everything was darn near perfect. I was worried we’d get whatever tomatoes they picked at random. They were good lookin’ tomatoes, better than Wal-Mart’s for sure. We got good looking meats, too. We were both impressed. The bananas were a little brown in places. I’m picky about bananas and like them pristine yellow, but I know they’re ok and that most people like them with a few brown spots.

On the next order, they come and take the old plastic bags to recycle them (I have a small mountain of Wal-Mart bags due for recycling that I keep forgetting about) and they gave us a book of coupons. With all the specials I see floating around, I stand to save quite a bit of money and a heck of a lot of time. They save all previous orders, so my next shopping “trip” will likely take just minutes.

A few drawbacks, though. They pick your produce and fruit from their organic growers around the Midwest, so they could pick out crap on your behalf. However, they offer a satisfaction guarantee. You have to order at least $60 worth of food and shipping is $9.95 ($7.95 with a big delivery window). If you order $100 or more, it’s just $6.95 for delivery and $5.95 with a bigger window. That’s respectable, but still an added cost. They also allow you to put a partner’s email address, so Brandon and I both get confirmation when the order is done.

Another nice feature is they give you a cutoff for order changes. For example, I shopped yesterday at 5, but forgot bread. I went back and so long as I change my order, even my delivery time, before my cutoff point (7:01 pm), there’s no problem or charges. I just add it in and close my browser. The order gets sent to them automatically at 7:01 pm.

I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of shopping with Peapod. Save a few larger items, like Kitty Litter, they do great. With the litter, I can get a 20lb bag at Sam’s Club for $9. Peapod doesn’t haul around bags that large, but you can get smaller 10lb bags for a respectable amount. But, it’s cheaper in bulk. If you drink soda, they had 48 cans of Coke for $9. That’s a great deal, although I don’t drink soda.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I urge you to do so, especially if you’re at home most all the time like me. It’s way, way, easier than going to the store. Especially when it’s cold (or hot) outside.

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