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Jan 1, 2013 09:31 PM

Online grocery ordering and delivery in Bethesda

It seems like Giant Food offers this service via their service called "Peapod". Has anyone tried it? Are there similar services offered by other vendors?

I'm searching for ways to help my elderly parents with their grocery shopping needs. I don't live nearby to do it myself, unfortunately. I'm not sure my parents normally buy enough groceries on a regular basis to meet Giant's minimum purchase amount of $50, plus the $10 delivery fee on top of that is a deterrent, but for occasional deliveries to stock up on heavy items like cases of water and stuff it could make sense.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or ideas.

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  1. I've never used Peapod. For water, you might try Deer Park or Drink More Water with whom you can set up a schedule. For dairy and meats, several of my neighbors use Stone Mountain creamery, which also has regular deliveries. If they have other specific difficult purchases, I can try to think of someone who might deliver. Also consider Amazon for some grocery items.

    I've used grocery delivery before. It's problematic. Someone else does the picking. Say you want bananas. You might get lime green ones or some that are overripe. I always felt like they were giving us stuff they would have trouble selling. I think you get the idea.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ttochow

      Thanks, ttochow. We just registered for Amazon Prime. That was kind of the impetus for me to start looking at online grocers.

      As part of the exercise I took a quick look at Amazon's grocery selection. I actually got a bit overwhelmed. A lot of the products seemed fancier than what my parents would use on a daily basis and / or the quantity-size seemed too large for two people, i.e., pasta came in orders of six or something.

      Have you found Amazon helpful for ordering certain groceries and, if so, would you mind giving me an idea of the types of products or foods they are well-suited for?

      1. re: uwsgrazer

        I use Amazon for groceries somewhat infrequently. If I do use it, it is normally for the fancier, non-everyday stuff, like you say. I just thought I'd mention it, but you'd already considered it.

        I have used Amazon to order cases of toilet paper and kleenex. I've never really been able to figure out if it is cheaper than, say, Giant. Someplace like Costco or Walmart is probably cheaper, but I don't like to go to those places (around here, they are not as nice as I have seen elsewhere).

        I don't like Giant's food offerings either. As an example, I needed red onions, but all they had were old, half-rotted ones that should have been thrown away. When I mentioned this to the produce manager, he shrugged and said "That's how they came. We've got to have something out there in case somebody needs them." Who'd have bought them, I have no idea. I wish I could say that is unusual. I can't go into Giant expecting to get specific produce for a specific recipe - I have to see what is good and available and work with that instead.

        And thinking about it more, I think it WAS Peapod that I used. This was in Boston, and I think it was affiliated with Stop-n-Shop then. That was years ago, so my experience with them might be dated.

        1. re: ttochow

          Buying paper products via Amazon is a great idea, especially now that my parents are registered for Amazon Prime service. I'll definitely mention this to them as a way for them to stock up on supplies without the hassle of shopping for and lugging stuff around themselves. Thanks for the idea.

          My parents actually do most of their shopping at Giant and Trader Joe's. They're pretty picky so I guess they just work around the quality issues you mention and / or maybe their Giant location (Bethesda) has better quality control.

          1. re: uwsgrazer

            This is unrelated, but one thing I enjoy about Amazon Prime is their free movies and TV shows. If your parents are into that sort of thing, a Roku player might make a nice gift. You can also rent or buy movies through it, and I find that Amazon is significantly cheaper than iTunes for the movies I tend to rent. A lot of the free movies from Amazon are older, and I think - but do not know for sure - there are Roku "apps" that will let you view older movies for free. My parents would have loved it.

            I had no difficulties getting it set up - I had someone else do it!

            1. re: ttochow

              I doubt that feature would be of interest to my parents, but I think I'll keep it in mind for myself in the future!

    2. I've used Peapods. I don't love Giant's food selection, so I didn't love Peapods. I use Relay Foods now and love it. It's new so there are some quirks still, but it's local food and they have a weekly subscription that makes it easy to get the basics.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bood

        I see Giant isn't very popular among 'hounds. I don't blame you but since my parents are reasonable familiar, and seemingly satisfied enough, with their products it doesn't seem to be a deal breaker, so far. What I suspect they may balk at is the cost of the service. But maybe I can convince them that the convenience factor justifies spending the money. Anyway, Relay Foods sounds pretty interesting. I called them and they even deliver to my parents' area.

        Based on my quick review of their products some stuff seems reasonably priced, like bananas at $0.59 / lb and apples at $0.89 each, but then other stuff seems too high, such as sweet onions at over $2 each. Maybe it's a seasonal thing but have you found kind of irrational pricing? Maybe that's one of the quirks you refer to? I take it you have overall been satisfied with the produce quality and costs, is that right?

        What's the "weekly subscription" you refer to? You mean you can just have basic stuff like milk delivered to you automatically?

        Thanks for the link to Relay Foods!

        1. re: uwsgrazer

          Prices around here are crazy. I was at Giant today, and they had tiny tangerines at $1.50 each! And aren't they in season? I saw sweet onions today at Giant - but didn't look at the price - and they are probably twice the size of standard yellow onions. Maybe that's the case?

          The Bethesda area is known for adding a premium. I had a Cinco de Mayo party that, of course, needed lots of limes. Giant and Safeway had them for 2/$1. Grand Mart farther away (Rockville) had better quality ones 10/$1! I've seen avocados at $4. Crazy.

      2. I just saw a Safeway truck delivering groceries to a residence in Bethesda. In a sense, I prefer Safeway to Giant - it's a bit like saying I prefer Wendy's to Burger King. I wouldn't go to either if they weren't so convenient. The perishables at Safeway seem to be of better quality, and they tend to stock more of the brands I like. Perhaps it's another option for you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ttochow

          Wow, that's great ttochow! It seems like Safeway's delivery fee is a bit less than Giant's (at least for the service with the wider delivery window, which would be fine for my parents). That's a good thing as I suspect my parents will typically place smaller orders, so with a lower delivery fee hopefully they won't be as reluctant to use the service.

          I'll let them know about their local online ordering options. In the event they use any of them (Giant, Safeway, Relay) I'll report back. In the meantime, I'm still very interested to hear any ideas or comments from fellow 'hounds.

          Thanks again.

        2. It's been a while. I just learned of the following:

          They have a lot of a la carte stuff. The prices of things I know about are significantly cheaper than Giant or Safeway.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ttochow

            Cool -- thanks. I'll run it by my folks (right now, I'm still gathering information since they are, thankfully, still able to shop on their own). Good to know about the a la carte stuff, as I think the boxed orders could be too much food, and too random at that, to work for their needs.

            1. re: uwsgrazer

              I believe you have to get one of the boxes - the a la carte is to supplement the box. You can substitute within the box, but must maintain number. ( For example: you can get additional spinach if that is an item in the box and eliminate bananas.) The box price includes delivery costs. At least that is how I understand it.

              1. re: mscoffee1

                Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.