Instacart – Part 1

Over the past five years, several grocery delivery services have emerged. Some of them nationwide and some of them just in larger cities with hopes to roll out and expand over time.

I have done grocery pick up in the past.  This would be placing your order online, via some app or website and then, instead of having to trudge through the store, you pull up, pop the trunk and your groceries are loaded for you.  In my opinion, this experience had several flaws, and may have improved over time, but I did not give it another shot.  In addition to a couple items being incorrect, you pay a pick up fee and you forgo in-store pricing.  The sum total of these two could run as much as $25 to $30 on a $150 grocery bill.

Enter Instacart.  They’ll bring the groceries right to you! For a delivery fee, around $7, with an optional tip to the driver, call it another $7, a what was optional, but now part of the price 5% service fee, and you forgo in-store pricing (in many grocery stores I believe).  So your $150 in groceries, costs you approximately $21 in fees plus I would estimate $15 in up charges since you didn’t get in store pricing for a sum total of $36. Over the course of a year this is substantial! If you shop weekly, 52 weeks a year that is an additional $1,872 per year!!

Now hold on…the counter to this $1,872 additional expense is how much time you saved not rolling through the aisles looking for the obscure gluten free brand of pretzels someone in your family just had to have.  Maybe you are freeing up time on a weekend to do more with family, friends, or for yourself. There are many ways of crafting a strong argument for why it’s worth the additional money to have them brought to you, but I will explore those arguments in a future post.  

For today though, I would simply argue if YOU are not physically in the store, you are not likely to buy $36 worth of sh*^ you don’t need.  There’s no child grabbing a $7 three-pound bag of cheese puffs, no impulse buys, no filet switcharoo instead of the ground beef, no “let’s do organic” on the 4 oz blueberries this week.  I would argue you don’t spend that $36 on additional items and more importantly those purchases are probably items you didn’t need in the first place.

As mentioned above, I am working on a post that gets more granular with what I can find to be the true dollar difference between doing it yourself and having it delivered via one of these services. For today though, for better or worse, I’m calling it a tie!