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Instacart- are people using it? How is it working out?

  • g
  • galka May 1, 2014 10:50 AM

I just read that that they are now including Russo among the stores they deliver from and I am tempted to try it. it is such a zoo on weekends. Their delivery fees look quite reasonable and the list of groceries is ok. Plus you can make a special request for each store. Any hounds out there who already tried it?

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  1. Wow. You have to join to learn anything at all about this service. Will just have to read the responses here.

    1. Nope. Not letting anybody else pick out my produce for me. And besides, if you know how (and just as importantly, when) to hit Russo's, you can be in and out in 20 minutes with two giant bags.

      (Hint: keep Yogi Berra's adage "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" in mind.)

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        Hope you never need to use a delivery service, but I have had to on occasion and have nothing but raves for Roche Bros/Sudbury Farms online order/delivery service.
        When I last used it, a couple of years ago, there was a $10 flat rate. Not everything in the store is on the online shopping inventory; I noticed that my favorite liverwurst was absent. But you can find just about anything you'd need and the system allows you to be quite specific in your requests for produce, meat, seafood, and the like. I was wary of other people selecting these things for me, but my wishes were followed to the letter. E.g., I requested that the Granny Smiths be shiny, dark green, and have white freckles because that's when they are tartest, which I like. That's what I got.

        1. re: greygarious

          wow, now THAT is cool ! plus you taught me a new apple lesson. thx!

        2. re: Jenny Ondioline

          I'm with you. I select my own produce and other groceries

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I also pick out my own groceries, but life circumstances make it tough for some for a variety of reasons. A close family member was caring for elderly parents and her own children as well as juggling a full-time job. The Stop and Shop Peapod deliveries were a godsend and helped her to retain just a bit of sanity and take one thing off a too-full plate. She was pretty happy with the quality, too. I can also imagine that it would be a real benefit for people who have difficulty with mobility.

            1. re: bear

              Obviously, being in circumstances such as that makes delivery services worthwhile, and I support their use in those circumstances.

              But for myself, as someone who works from home and therefore has no one to talk to except for three cats and a parrot for 8-12 hours a day, I genuinely like going out and doing my shopping, just for the getting-out-there aspect of things.

              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                Oh, I get it. I don't even mind Russo's at madhouse hours, and the same goes for the Somerville Market Basket. Of course, I tend to shop in small batches a few times a week so I'm not trying to do a week's shopping at once, and I'm grateful that I have the flexibility in my life to do that.

                Now, if I could just convince my husband's 92-year-old great aunt and her husband to use one of the Cape delivery services...they and the roads might be a little safe.

        3. I've been using Instacart in the SF bay area for a month and it's been great on the whole. Some shoppers are more careful about produce. It's a godsend not having to go to Costco. The prices vary a bit from the store prices, but sometimes they are much lower. You can leave notes about what you want e.g. thick asparagus rather than thin, and you can order things not listed on the Instacart website. All in all it's a fantastic service with great customer support and response.

          1. I noticed an article today that listed local participating grocers: Harvest Co-op, Whole Foods Market, Shaw’s, Costco, Market Basket, and Russo’s.
            http://www.boston.com/business/news/2...

            1. I was excited when I saw that Market Basket was an option, but their pricing doesn't match up with the actual in-store prices. For example, a can of Cafe Bustelo is $3.00 in the store. On Instacart it's $5.79!

              I use Peapod sometimes, so I know about paying for convenience, but the whole purpose of MB is the cheap prices.

              1. It's bullshit, the "delivery fee" is nominal compared to the arbitrage between the true price in-store and what they list on their website. If you want someone to go shopping for you and charge you an honest and transparent fee, I suggest TaskRabbit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Luther

                  Gosh, I did NOT have good luck with TaskRabbit at all.

                2. The price gouging is a bit hard to swallow, but the lines at the Russo's meat counter might make it worthwhile. I've gotten near homicidal over there. I once had a woman literally step on my foot to get a ticket. It was a red letter day for humanity.

                  1. Like all modern shopping - it's hard to get a grasp of the cost for this service.

                    Ignoring the small or fast orders it's:
                    <store-prices> + <markup> + $3.99

                    About the <markup> the FAQ says "prices are our own and vary from the store’s price," except for alcohol where it says "add a delivery fee to the store’s price for each item". My take on that is that they are making some money on the markup, but also that they have a challenge getting current with the store's prices, hence the "vary from".

                    It doesn't bother me that they charge N% more for the markup. That depends on N, doesn't it?

                    N is probably an average. I'd be surprised if it was just N% on each item. Like all pricing - they can tinker with that in lots of interesting ways. Let your paranoia out for a run :).

                    Does anybody who's using it have a good handle on what N seems to be? Further, is that delivery fee on the alcohol listed on your receipts. I guess one could go to a few of the stores they support with the app installed on your phone to get a current answer.

                    I guess we all know how they will treat their runners overtime - :(

                    FYI, if you poke around you can find links that appear to get you a $10 reward to sign up in addition to the one free delivery.

                    1. It's definitely much more expensive than going to the store, but when I broke my wrist over the winter, it was really really helpful (I carry my groceries home). They did a pretty decent job of picking out produce for me, and often called me from the store with questions.

                      1. A little late to this thread, but I've been using them for staples from Market Basket and have been pretty happy with the service.

                        It is definitely a markup from MB in-store prices -- but critically, MB-via-Instacart ends up being cheaper than going to Shaw's or S&S in person, at least for the items I buy. I find MB too claustrophobic/crazy to shop at in person during hours when I can actually go -- so it is a better deal for me.

                        Shoppers have generally been pretty good, though I've seen some variations. Mostly that variation has been in their ability to find specific items, which can be compounded by Instacart's incomplete inventory. That said, I haven't gotten a piece of bad produce once.