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Ordering groceries over the internet?

We happen to live in an area (Hoboken NJ) where we can order groceries over the internet (Fresh Direct where we are). Lately I have been so frustrated by the stores in our areas (narrow isles, sorry looking produce, impossible to find anything, rude staff, thoughtless shoppers, overcrowded) that I started to order over the internet.

The prices don't seem out of line with what's in the store and the delivery charge is fairly small (then add in the tip). I was a bit nervous about not being able to see the actual item I was buying, but I'm getting over that too.

Anyone else do this on a regular basis? I am really liking not having to schlep to the stores here.

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  1. i use fresh direct all the time

    i have no problems - occasionally i will get a piece of fruit i would not have picked myself because it isn't perfectly ripe, but it is rare. once or twice they sliced the pastrami with the grain . other than that, it's all good.

    1. I've been using them weekly for about 6 months now (with the exception of a few weeks). Their fruits and vegetables tend to be of pretty good quality - generally better than my regular grocery stores nearby - probably not as good as the Korean grocery store, but their prices are also super-expensive. I've occasionally had some things I wasn't the happiest with - but I didn't try to rectify it. They claim to fix whatever they mess up.

      One of the benefits of them for me is that you can get the meat in vacuum-sealed plastic bags, so it's ready to be frozen and freezes nicely that way. Their meat is more expensive than what my grocery store has, but it's also much higher quality.

      I still go to my grocery stores, though - FD doesn't have everything I eat, or I don't like some of the things they have. As an example, today I was putting my order together, and was looking at the soups, there's a cambell's soup I've been getting at my grocery store and enjoying. FD only has the 'basic' soups from them - chicken noodle, tomato and clam chowder (Probably 1 or 2 other I'm not remembering, but you get my point). But, generally, this means a trip or two to the grocery store every few weeks for a small bag of items instead of buying everything.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mortini

        You mention that 'their prices are super expensive'; Maybe I need to check their prices more closely, but they didn't seem that out of line to me, at least for the basic stuff I've ordered up to this point. I suspect I will do more and more of my shopping from them. I've discovered a small fresh product store less than a block from my apt., so will probably get most of my produce from them anyway. The thought of never going into another A&P or Shoprite in Hoboken is extremely appealing to me.

        1. re: bnemes3343

          I meant my local korean grocery store prices are super expensive. They have things like boxes of Frosted Flakes for $9. Their fruit is high quality, but also super expensive.

          The only thing I've noticed that was consistently higher with FD was the meat prices, but, again, it's also much higher quality meat than what my grocery store carries.

          1. re: bnemes3343

            & certainly try out their produce at least - it's been generally good for me. Given my average, I'm just as likely to not be paying as much attention at the grocery store as I should and pick up an apple or whatever that I'd rather not.

        2. I don't do Fresh Direct on a regular basis because I actually like shopping for food. But it's really helpful when I'm away for the weekend, come back on Sunday or Monday and don't have time to go to the grocery store.

          I also was apprehensive about not being able to see the actual item. Overall, the stuff is OK -- probably not as great as if you shopped at a bunch of markets looking for the freshest stuff, but decent enough. I can see why a lot of people in my building do Fresh Direct very frequently, especially since the closest supermarket is .7 miles away and a lot of NYers don't have a car.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Miss Needle

            If you actually like shopping for food, you must live somewhere with nicer stores than I do. I used to like it when we were on the UWS in NYC and would frequent the smaller non-chain stores with great fruit and produce. The typical 'supermarket' in Hoboken is not a fun experience (although Garden of Eden is nice albeit pricey).

            1. re: bnemes3343

              There's really nothing nice in my immediate vicinity. But I enjoy walking (well, not as much as in this cold weather). So I get some exercise and my shopping done at the same time.

          2. I used to do that years ago, and I loved it. Unfortunately, the my grocery store stopped the service. It was wonderful.

            1. A bit off-topic, but along the same lines.
              On vacation a few years ago in Mexico. Having a few drinks in the pool and strike up a conversation with a couple from Resolute, Nunavit (north northern Canada). We started talking about life in general above the arctic circle.
              Turns out the lady of the house orders her drygoods for the YEAR in one shot. Comes in cheapest by barge that way.
              I was dumbfounded - its one thing to stock up for the week, but to plan your needs for a year?

              2 Replies
              1. re: porker

                when i was growing up, my folks did some business with a guy who was an obsessive coupon nut. He had a room in his basement *filled* with every sort of canned food imaginable. When the coupons came out on Sunday, he'd visit 2-3 different grocery stores buying the maximum available of the items he wanted.

                Not quite the same as buying a year in advance, but, still, long-range buying.

                1. re: mortini

                  Do we know the same person?? :) My friends parents used to do that. Their whole basement was literally a grocery store. They had a basket where you would just fill up on what you needed for that nights dinner etc. Crazy. A lot of the stuff was circa 1980 though.

              2. Please tell, what is fresh direct. Do they serve the Boston area??

                5 Replies
                1. re: emilief

                  they're a food delivery service in the NYC area - freshdirect.com. I don't know about boston, but I don't think so.

                  1. re: emilief

                    boston has peapod -- much less expensive and of comparable quality for many things!

                    1. re: emilief

                      emilief I dont know where you are near Boston but I shopped on Roche Bros site for 18 months for my Mom when she was house bound. Good product, few mistakes, variety and accurate delivery . She was in Quincy near Braintree line ...

                      1. re: capeanne

                        Another enthusiastic thumbs up for Roche Bros. delivery. The flat delivery charge is $9.95, prices identical to instore, and there is no minimum (the same cannot be said for Peapod). I was already tipping when I read the FAQs and learned that it's not allowed...but nobody ever declined a tip and since I use them for big stock-up orders I'll still be inclined to tip. The site is easy to navigate, with sale prices clearly highlighted, and the option to give specific requests for things like preferred deli-slicing thickness, size of fruits, and the like. Last week I was at the store when I noticed a staffer using a blackberry to fill an online order, so I spoke to her to convey my satisfaction with the service, which seemed to make her quite happy. Not everything they carry is available online, but probably 75% of their inventory is.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I just cancelled Peapod (Stop & Shop) both times I used them they sent me bad food which I ended up throwing out (meat past expiration date, etc), I've heard Roche Bros is good, so I am going to try them, thanks for the tip....

                    2. I use freshdirect as well. Lately it's more for bulk items that I don't want to haul from teh grocery store, so I only use it once a month or so. I used to do it weekly w/mixed, but mostly good results. Not being able to see the produce sometimes doesn't work in your favor in making buying decisions. It's great for sticking to a budget, though.

                      1. i've been buying from FD for about 4 years, now, on avg, about once a month. my pet peeves:

                        (1) many items really are quite overpriced (for the uws, w. village and washington heights, where i've lived /am living). i am spoiled for having lived close to fairway, zabars, and the union square greenmarket for years, admittedly, but many common items are often far cheaper even at the neighborhood drug store. and prices keep crawling up and up and up.

                        (2) the quality of the produce -- esp. fruit -- is far lower than what i'd buy elsewhere. i understand there are shipping considerations (underripe fruit is less likely to bruise), but you should be aware that you will be paying too much for low-quality fruit. vegetables are similarly overpriced, but not of as low quality.

                        (3) items are sometimes carelessly packed: corn tortillas under heavy canned items, bakery items like cheesecake crushed or overturned or still semi frozen (not a disclosed condition), yogurt containers exploded all over a box.

                        (4) the selection is not great for many items. (i.e. only vanilla and chocolate flavored pudding are available). they never have chicken liver though they purportedly offer it. there are no interesting cuts like sweetbreads or gizzards or hearts, which i enjoy experimenting with. they only carry the most expensive brands of many items.

                        That said, i continue to go back because i too often do not have time to visit my favorite grocery stores... zabars closes long before i get off work most nights, i have a hard time lugging very heavy items back to my apt, and certain items are well priced (milk, eggs, fresh herbs and some cereals). It's a bit of a love hate relationship. I really do wish FD had some competition in town!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: cimui

                          Hi cimui,

                          I agree 100% about your feelings to FD. 1 and 4 are the main issues for me to use FD more often. Nowadays I pretty only buy orange juice (Lambeth grove is great!), heavy items like drinks and canned goods from them. For meat, seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetable, I will rather go to better stores, farmers market, and such to buy fresh and good quality items, and most of the time the cost is not much higher (actually sometimes cheaper) than FD.

                          You know FD often send out these emails or postcards comparing their price with Whole Foods. The fact is, I actually Whole Foods to be cheaper for many things! I really use FD for the convenience and for things that quality is universal.

                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            i'm addicted to lambeth grove OJ, kobe. to my great shock, it's actually less expensive at food emporium (probably one of my least favorite grocery stores ever)!

                          2. re: cimui

                            I am finding the selection to be a bit less than great as well. On another note, I got a couple of Turbot fillets from them for dinner last night and they were extremely fresh (I don't mean that they weren't frozen at some point), but what I got had absolutely no fish smell. When I walk by the fish counter at my local supermarket I have to hold my nose most of the time.

                            1. re: bnemes3343

                              oh, that's true, benemes. FD does have fresh fish, comparable to what i get at my washington heights fish markets tho at almost double the price. (the upside is that FD is able to ID the source of its fish and the neighborhood fish markets are not... probably in part because of my sesame street level spanish!) FD fish and meat are *loads* better than food emporium and similarly priced.

                          3. I used to use HomeGrocer.com when they were around nearly 10 years ago; they had fresh, beautiful produce and nicely packed meats. Unfortunately, they went by the wayside. If FreshDirect were available in our area, I might consider using them....

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: OCAnn

                              i tried ordering once, but quit halfway through. i like to browse through everything myself

                            2. I'm in the Seattle area and order from Albertsons or Safeway every week. I do 100% of my shopping on-line these days.

                              Prices are the same as in the store including the weekly flyers. Produce has always been perfect. You are asked NOT to tip the drivers. And the delivery charge is quite reasonable between ($9.95 & $12.95).

                              I always figure that I'm apt to spend more than that delivery charge on impulse items in the store. Most of which won't be healthy choices. :)

                              It's especially helpful when ordering turkey, water or soda. I don't have to manhandle the stuff into the cart, onto the checkout, back into the cart, into the trunk, into my hand cart, up the steps, into the house. They carry everything right where you want it.

                              I don't know what I'd do without it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: why_itsme

                                Well, Albertsons has decided to cancel their home delivery service in my area. Guess Safeway will now get 100% of my business.

                              2. I use Vons.com. It sure is convenient. I've never had a problem with them, and if you spend more than $150 the delivery is free. Used them for the easter holiday. I really like that they save my grocery list. Makes shopping easier next time. The only downside is you can't get everything. For example, the fresh herbs. They only seem to sell basil and parsley. Otherwise, I really like this service.

                                1. I just cancelled my service with PEAPOD/ Stop & Shop; both times I've used them they sent either rotted fruit or meat past its expiration date, which I ended up throwing out, so when you use Peapod its like they are delivering garbage TO your house...in the Boston metro area I've heard Roche Bros is really good (high quality but limited delivery schedule) so I am signing up with them, I agree not having to go to the store for a big weekly shopping event (especially when the kids are home from college) is worth its weight in gold, hopefully Roche Bros works out for me...

                                  1. My son is in the master's program at Hunter and lives in the dorm. He uses Fresh Direct for his stuff all the time, and he finds it good. He's able to search and find free delivery coupons and got $20 off his first order - so he got $60 worth of groceries for $40. He can cook pretty well plus there's only a grotty looking D'Agostino's near him so he's all hooked up.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mrsbuffer

                                      he's at hunter? how close to hunter does he live? there are def. more options that just one dagostino. i happen to love fresh direct though

                                    2. I love FreshDirect but not for everything. I buy produce at the farmer's market, and now that I have a Whole Foods close by I get some items there. But I've had few complaints with FD quality, and when there is a problem I e-mail them and they give me a credit. I have been ordering weekly for as long as FreshDirect has existed.

                                      1. I used to order from Fresh Direct occasionally when I lived in NYC. My #1 pet peeve had to do with meats in particular. You can select a range of how much you'd like (by weight). I would pretty much ALWAYS get the high end or above of my selection. As a single person I'd prefer less rather than more. It almost feels like they were taking me for a ride.