Peapod and other grocery home delivery services
Having just moved *without a car* from a place where virtually every known foodstuff was available within a 10 minutes' walk or a short subway ride (central Brooklyn) to a town without a grocery store in Bergen County, NJ, I am very happy to report that my experience with Peapod so far is a very good one.
The meat and produce we've ordered sight unseen has been cheaper and better than the usual run of NY supermarket stuff (had a particularly good non-Perdue roaster this week, actually tasted like...chicken!). Deliveries are on time (you pick a time and they narrow the ETA down to a 2-hour window on the day of) and all perishables are received cold.
It's nice not to have to schlep all of the stuff (flour, sugar, cat litter...which one can we carry this trip?) back to the cave on our own, as well. A good solution for the hapless carless NYer in NJ. Others have experiences with this service or others in your area?
Generally very happy with Peapod. They usually end up sending my some piece of produce that is sub-par, but they quickly take it off the bill when I call or e-mail them. The tend to be a little "rough" with the groceries too - probably because they carry SO many bags at one time (with these massive carabinder clips).
Funny story - one of my very first deliveries was cancelled because the Peapod delivery truck was stolen with my groceries in it! What's that all about???
Ditto to what everyone has said about quality of product. I've lived in downtown Chicago for ten years after having lived a life in suburbia, and Peapod has especially been a blessing in the wintertime! My orders tend to be 50-60% paper, cleaning, pet and other household supplies and anything else we don't feel like schlepping up 14 floors.
Eggs are an issue, and frequently arrive with one or more cracked. I've noticed an upswing in late deliveries in the past year. (Leaner driver scheduling due to decline in business?) Almost never a missing or shorted item. Produce is very good quality over all.
Only one rude driver in ten years is a pretty good average.
We only buy meat and such from them in a dire emergency as we love shopping in the wonderful ethnic stores located all over Chicagoland.
Overall, they get a B++
I don't currently use a grocery delivery service, but when I lived in NYC, I liked using Fresh Direct for the reason you started: having heavy staples like soda, etc. delivered instead of having to schlep them home. I didn't usually order produce (prefer to pick myself and buy from farmers' market when possible), but I was always pleased with Fresh Direct's meat and fish and deli (sliced roasted turkey breast and roast beef). I like that they ask you to specify how thick you want it sliced. They have a good selection of poultry, and decent prices for things like duck legs.
re: Caitlin McGrath
It would be Fresh Direct for me too but they don't deliver to my zip code (maybe they will eventually). I prefer to pick produce as well and we do on Chinatown visits and so forth. Still NY-focused (it's easier for us to get over there and back than it is to get to the closest supermarket, believe it or not).