Welcome to 2017! Although pregnant, I got to end 2016 with a half glass of nice bubbly, surrounded by my boys (and maybe a girl, too?!), watching…a thought provoking documentary on minimalism. It was actually the perfect way to transition into a new year. Looking at my home, you probably wouldn’t describe me as a minimalist, but I really identify with the mindset, and I try to keep items without use or value out of our house. As we add furry friends and a tiny human it gets to be more of a challenge, but the film reminded me that there are families out there–families full of pets and children–who make a minimalist lifestyle work in their own way, and I plan on honing in on their example as we decide what baby Schatteman needs in order to exist upon his or her entry to the world (2 months!).
With the baby’s impending arrival in mind, Steve is really pushing me to look into services that can free up my time. And “pushing” in the best way possible. My husband encouraging me to spend a little extra money to make life easier is most partners’ dream, but, being a stubborn perfectionist, I’m a little harder sell that someone else would be better at doing my grocery shopping or cleaning my house than me. Don’t even get me started on my highly specialized laundry system.
I’m writing simple meal plans ahead of time for when the baby comes, and testing one out this week presented a great opportunity to try out Peapod for grocery delivery. I had no excuses left: my meal plan for the next week was finished by Wednesday, and, using the promo code “60DAYSFREE” (still active as of this post date), I got $20 off my first order plus delivery fees, which range from about $7 to $10, waived for two whole months.
Now, I know there are several other services out there, and since my experience wasn’t perfect, I’ll probably test one or two others before baby Schatteman hits the ground. Rachael Ray Everyday magazine had a nice comparison in a recent issue of some major services. That should also clarify that I have no affiliation with Peapod and am writing this review totally of my own accord, hopefully to help some of you simplify a busy schedule in the coming months, or new year. With that said, my initial thoughts.
Details and critiques
- They didn’t carry a couple seemingly “easy” items on my list: corn tortillas (all they had was flour) and hemp milk (which I’ve been drinking during pregnancy for its nutritional benefits over almond or soy). There’s a feature that I managed to find on the site–it wasn’t painfully obvious–which allowed me to quickly place an item request, but I’m not sure how quickly it might take to stock the item in follow up. And I needed it this week.
- For grains and beans, the variety and brands are quite limited. No higher-end brands like Bob’s Red Mill or Lundberg, and dried lentils only came in one, unspecified variety (they turned out to be green-ish upon arrival). This is a pretty big point for me, since I purchase lots of beans and grains.
- If you use the quick-add to cart button and haven’t reviewed the preferences in your profile, you’ll likely end up with a box checked allowing Peapod to substitute another specified item if the one you selected is out of stock. I think this should be better highlighted for first-time users. Luckily, I stumbled upon it and realized I wanted very few of the offered substitutions. Later, on exploring my account settings more, I found the ability to change the default, so on my next order, I don’t have to worry about having a brand I don’t like substituted or getting non-organic produce for an item which I prefer to be organic.
- Two items on my order were out of stock: organic oranges and oregano. The delivery driver clearly communicated this and I wasn’t charged for them. However, if you’re doing one actual physical supplementary grocery run, which I think you’d have to with Peapod if you’re the least bit particular, it’s important to wait until after delivery to make sure you add any out of stock items to your final grocery list for the week.
- The order is delivered in plastic shopping bags, which is a big turnoff for me. They’re low quality bags which usually have holes and can’t be reused as trash bags.
- My bagged, fresh green beans were super slimy and expired the day after delivery. “Returning” the item was pretty easy. I made one phone call, spoke with a very courteous rep (on NYE, no less!), was allowed to do as I wished with the spoiled product, and was refunded for the $3.09 the beans cost me. Obviously, though, this added another item to my physical shopping list.
- Unlike the in-store model, most produce is priced per piece (like at TJ’s), not per pound. For things like onions and apples, this can lead to a higher price for the exact same item, but I think it’s the only feasible way to go for home consumers, who typically plan in quantity, not weight.
- Item details in the descriptions were sometimes lacking. For example, I took a gamble on whether the Parmesan Reggiano was authentic, judging mostly by the price (it was). Zoomed in shots of product labels were difficult to read, being low resolution and a little blurry.
- Definitely the promo I mentioned above! I’m willing to pay the delivery fees, but I appreciate the opportunity to try out the service for a while first, before forking over too much extra cash.
- There are discounts available for choosing certain low-traffic delivery windows.
- All the items I ordered that were in stock arrived in the correct quantity.
- The big question: PRODUCE. Who wants to let an hourly (i.e., not very invested in my satisfaction) employee pick out produce for them?! I was pleasantly surprised on this one. Given that I’m paying per piece for most produce, the citrus was flawless, apples were large, avocados were a perfect medium ripeness, and pre-cut butternut squash was not at all mushy or old.
- Aside from produce, most prices were comparable to what I would pay in store.
- Delivery was right on time (at the beginning of my two hour window) and the driver was super nice and articulate about which of the items were out of stock. I think he might have carried everything into the kitchen if I asked him.
- You can add items to your order up to about 20 hours before it’s delivered, and I got an email reminding me of that cutoff. This proved super useful. Unlike just forgetting a few extra items as I might at the store, I could just pull up the website and quickly add items as I came across them in the kitchen.
In general, I’m quickly warming up to grocery delivery since it forces me to plan not only dinners for the week, but also to think about what I need to replenish from my pantry, like dog food, cream for coffee, and breakfast smoothie ingredients. I didn’t order any non-edibles, like personal care items or paper products, and I imagine the markup on those is a little higher (as it typically is in a physical grocery store, too), but it’s probably worth the option in a pinch…or when you have an infant at home.
I’ll be posting the meal plan for this delivery in the coming days in a separate post, and will link it here when it’s up!
If you like the sounds of Peapod, here’s the link (again, I have no affiliation and don’t get any freebies or credit for your click).