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Fresh Direct prices like Charlie's Great Glass elevator?

JenMarie66 Sep 14, 2006 05:27 AM

They just seem to be going up and up and up. These days all their apples are over a buck a piece!! Yes, it's a little early in the season but c'mon. Lately, my corner deli/grocery has better produce and is (gulp) cheaper! I actually feel pissed that FD seduced me with their gift items and free delivery and low prices and punctuality and now they're doing me wrong. (Delivery charge, high prices, many deliveries later than 2-hour window, no perks, bad produce.) Anyone else feel the same way?

  1. s
    SlopePig Sep 18, 2006 05:45 PM

    We use FD for a handful of selected items that are v. good and reasonably priced: croissants (both choc. and plain -- recommend these highly), meats (a little expensive but good), selzer, coffee, ben & jerry's, baguettes ... and that's about it. We go thru a lot of selzer; that alone makes it worth our while every 2 or 3 weeks. We too gave up on their produce a ways back. Not just the prices. Never seemed to get the right amount of veggies for a single meal for our family of 4.

    1. JenMarie66 Sep 16, 2006 12:53 AM

      I think they take off because they're on a very difficult delivery schedule (and have been schooled, as the website says, to never seem to be asking for a tip).
      But as frustrated as I get with FD, I always feel like the people doing the delivery are great; they are always nice and helpful. During the heat wave, I forced two delivery gents to drink some ice water -- they seemed like they might pass out but were driven to keep up a very fast schedule.

      1. j
        Jack_ Sep 15, 2006 09:45 PM

        Yes there are a few things that are cheaper at FD than other sources but it takes a lot to save the delivery charge+fuel surcharge + delivery tip

        1. m
          MrsT Sep 15, 2006 09:25 PM

          I primarily use FD for meat and seafood. I do find certain things overpriced. I stopped buying produce from them over a year ago. There are certain things I do find less expensive at FD as opposed to the supermarkets. (Stoneyfield Yogurt 3 for $1.68 Health Valley Cereal, FD price $2.29) For everything else from toothpaste to papertowels I buy in Jersey City where the sales tax is 3.5% . There is also a great little farmers market in Jersey City outside the Pavonia-Newport PATH station that sells zucchini the size of baseball bats for 50 cents each. Not $1.25-$1.50 a pound at Grand Army Plaza.

          As for tipping--I try to give $2 for 3 very light boxes. Sometimes the run off before I have a chance to give them anything...go figure.

          1. m
            Matt M. Sep 14, 2006 09:01 PM

            We may start doing our shopping at Met food on Degraw and Henry and having it delivered if the prices at Fresh Direct continue to rise. As it is, we supplement our order with a trip to Park Natural (UNion and Court) for some organic items, Tinkyada pasta, etc.

            1. m
              Mike R. Sep 14, 2006 07:14 PM

              Are you talking about Fresh Direct or Fairway here?
              Judging from Fairway's latest circular, I'd say BOTH would be applicable.
              Anyone who thought that Fairway prices would be "so Brooklyn" just doesn't get it.
              While FW circulars had a nifty $10 off coupon from a $75 purchase last week, don't expect that to happen often. And your typical supermarket puts hundreds of items on special each week, not a handful.
              Naysaying aside, I go weekly, love the entertainment value...and buy selectively.

              1. n
                nathanjones Sep 14, 2006 05:20 PM

                this is the nature of seduction. i would not be surprised if this was not in the cards from the very beginning. get them in with low prices, cheap delivery, and amazing convenience. then, when you are hooked on not having to carry five cases of san pelligrino up three flights, once a month -- raise prices. i dunno, i am still more than happy to pay for the convenience.

                1. j
                  JennS Sep 14, 2006 03:11 PM

                  Aside from jacking prices, it seems like the selection is more and more limited. They don't have the Vermont Bread Company bread that they used to carry, or Kashi waffles, or about 20 other things that I now have to look for locally.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JennS
                    JenMarie66 Sep 14, 2006 04:18 PM

                    I've asked them about 10 times to carry ANY brand of baked/smoked tofu (not a strange request) but never get a reply or tofu. Now they're doing this thing on the website where they post a recipe and you can buy all the ingredients in 1 click. I looked at a feta taboulleh and and the total (w/out buying certain staples like olive oil) was something like $33!!! For a taboulleh recipe!! I wish they'd focus on good prices & services instead of figuring out new ways to make $$$.
                    On the other hand, I still order from them, so maybe I need to just shut my pie hole (or clench my pie fingers). Or start using ZIPcar to go to Fairway, which would still save money. ZIPcar should start Fairway carpooling events from their Park Slope location.

                    1. re: JenMarie66
                      m
                      Matt M. Sep 14, 2006 09:00 PM

                      We saw that last week adn had the same reaction. We clicked on a very simple recipe and saw a price of $36. It was outlandish.

                  2. e
                    eeee Sep 14, 2006 12:45 PM

                    I use FreshDirect to stock up on Diet Coke and toilet paper.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: eeee
                      e
                      erikka Sep 14, 2006 01:08 PM

                      Yes--all the heavy stuff like cat litter and bottled water. But their produce prices are INSANE! Plus, I can't help but feel bad for their delivery drivers--I've read about the schedule they keep them on and how they're overbooked. I wonder how viable FD will stay in the marketplace if they keep jacking up their prices at this rate? I know I certainly don't use them as much as I used to.

                    2. e
                      ErinNation Sep 14, 2006 10:38 AM

                      I agree with you. I started to place less orders as their prices started jumping and they had less specials... Key Foods and C Town sometimes gave me a better deal on the same items though I cringed to admit it. I still ordered for their in-house items though. I am a sucker for their freezer pizzas, tomato sauce, and chocolate pudding. Then I moved and their customer service was so rude to me when I asked about expanding their delivery area by two blocks to hit my new place. It did not matter the thousands of dollars I'd spent with them.

                      Now I have adjusted to taking the bus/train to Three Guys from Brooklyn and making a saturday trip to Windsor Terrace for deli stuff from Terrace Bagels and meat from United Meat Market. I get great stuff at a way better price than FD was charging me. I got FIVE Fuji apples for $1.30 last weekend, by the way. FD would have given me what, one? If you don't mind the trek to Fort Hamilton Parkway and 65th Street, Three Guys is where it's at. N train to FH Parkway or the 8th avenue bus from within Sunset Park.

                      I still need to find a great italian market and place to buy cheese, and I will probably still place the occasional FD order to some Park Slope friend's so I can get more pizzas and sauce, but necessity and their uncaring customer service drove me away from them and I am better for it I think.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ErinNation
                        j
                        Jack_ Sep 14, 2006 01:41 PM

                        Erin, Thanks for the tip on 3 Guys. I take it you don't have a car or you'd try the Red Hook Fairway, though I've become disenchantged with their produce. I think Terrace and United are both expesnive. United wanted $7.99 lb of grass fed beef hamburger. Staubitz on Court street gets $4.99

                        For a big market you might also try the ShopRite on Ave I and McDonald, right under the F

                        1. re: ErinNation
                          jen kalb Sep 14, 2006 05:06 PM

                          If you are going down to Three Guys, you can catch the crosstown bus over to Coluccio's on 60th St. near 12th Ave. (on the same block but just before the huge, ugly pathmark mall) for your italian products.

                          Im sure it would be possible to locate a good Italian butcher in that circuit too - the Chinese grocery store next to Three Guys on 65th St. has butchers, and great chinese roast meats are sold in that same complex (in the front of the little bakery). Also good fresh-cut halal meat at Birlik's, the Turkish store in Chinatown at the corner of 60th and 8th Ave. Maybe more out of your way, but Eagle Provisions, the Polish store on 5th Ave at 18th St. has a good butcher counter and meats.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            e
                            ErinNation Sep 14, 2006 09:21 PM

                            Thanks for the tip on Coluccio's. I've already discovered the Turkish place and Eagle Provisions isn't out of the way... the northbound D train seems to run on the N every weekend so I've become accustomed to the 5th avenue bus.

                            No, I don't have a car but I have carpooled to the Fairway. I echo what others have said about the produce being disappointing but I have 3 Guys for that. If there is a grocery store in the nabe (I live on the northeast corner of Sunset Park itself) that isn't gross, I'm all ears. The 8th Ave C town is horrific. The 5th Ave Key Foods is better but then I have to haul groceries over the hill. If Terrace Bagel is $pendy, is there a better choice? La Bagel is not what I'd consider cheap.

                            Back to the original post though, I'm so out of love with FreshDirect... it's like waking up three years into a relationship to see the warts and hairy back sleeping next to you, rent free. They crossed a line with the prices and lousy customer service response (I too was ignored with requests for basic products from brands they already carried). I was willing to pay a little more for the convenience but the money:BS ratio got out of whack. Goodbye hot chocolate croissants and tasty blue cheese dip, you are twice as much as you were two years ago.

                            1. re: ErinNation
                              j
                              Jack_ Sep 14, 2006 11:27 PM

                              Try ShopRite on Ave I and McDonald. We do shop there on occasion, good for staples like TP and Zip Lock Backs

                              1. re: ErinNation
                                jen kalb Sep 15, 2006 12:55 AM

                                If you are using Eagle, Id recommend going across the street to Lopez for their breads. I particularly like what they call sourdough, but its just a nice yeasty white loaf. Stuff like alsatian and multigrain, not to mention their tamales and FLAN (yum) are good too. There is a bagel store across the street from Nuevo Faro at 17th but I havent ever tried it.

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