Food & Drink

instacart review

Okay, so this may seem like kind of an odd topic for me. What does a personal grocery shopping & delivery service have to do with retro fashion or vintage lifestyle? Well, I’ve always been passionate about self care in whatever form it takes, whether that’s treating yourself to a face mask, seeking professional mental health care, or doing some yoga. I wrote last week about having a Summer of Self Love, and for me, Instacart definitely fits in that category. The service just came to Milwaukee, and I jumped right on board. Now that I’ve ordered a few times, I feel ready to share my thoughts.

When I’m not feeling my best, grocery shopping can seem really overwhelming, which means I end up eating weird half-meals which (surprise) doesn’t actually make me feel any better. I considered meal kit services like Blue Apron, but a) I’m picky and b) they’re expensive. I looked into other grocery delivery services, but the limited options and delivery costs always turned me off when I already felt kind of guilty about being too lazy to do my own shopping. When Instacart launched in my area, they offered a free year of “express” membership, which meant free shipping on any order over $35. So I figured now was my chance!

Instacart is very much in the same vein as Uber, Postmates, etc. You create a shopping list from local grocery stores online or in app, and a local “personal shopper” will go and shop for your groceries, then deliver them to your door.

Overall, Instacart is basically exactly what I’ve been wanting…it’s quick and easy to order your food, you can get it within a few hours, and the delivery fees are, IMO, very reasonable/accessible.

That said, there are definitely downsides. The biggest one being glitches in the online shopping interface. I don’t know if some of this is because it’s still new to the area and they’re working out kinks, but there are definitely some weird mismatches where the system told me the price was per piece, so I asked for three of the item, only to have my shopper be directed to get me three POUNDS of the item. There’s also the issue of substitutions – I’m not 100% clear on what the actual procedure is on these. One time I got a text from a shopper that they didn’t have something I wanted and asking me if I wanted her to substitute something else…I told her no, but she got me a completely different item as a substitute anyway. Another time, they were out of the granola bars I requested, and the shopper called me to ask if it was okay to get the 90-calorie version of them instead. Yet a third time, my shopper just noted substitutions in the app without personally reaching out to me at all. I wish that you could set a preference on your account about whether or not you receive substitutions and if you need to approve a substitution or not before check out.

My other complaint is the weirdness of what does or doesn’t show up in the search. You can make “special requests” and put in items that don’t pop up, but randomly items that I know a store has won’t show up. I’d say that being able to “browse” and online shop in the way that you’re accustomed to is one of the major ease benefits of the system, so putting in all your own third party information kind of defeats the purpose.

I’m also super picky about produce, so I don’t know that I could really trust someone else to pick out my produce for me. That’s entirely my problem, haha, but it is something to consider. Despite some of the glitches, I really have enjoyed shopping with Instacart…it makes it so much easier for me to do my shopping, and I’m actually planning/budgeting better, since most of the time I spend all my energy dragging myself to the store and don’t actually have a decent plan. I’m notoriously terrible at making a proper list when I want to try a new recipe (stop me if this sounds familiar: “Nah, I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember…”), so it’s super nice to have the recipe actually in a tab in front of me while I’m placing items in my cart. Cooking has always been something I really enjoyed, and I’d lost that recently when all I could really manage was to get food to keep my human body going.  I’ve tried two new recipes in the past few weekends, and while there’s a lot of other stuff going into that, trying out Instacart has definitely helped.

Have you ever tried a grocery delivery service like this? It definitely would be SUPER helpful if you don’t have a car. Try my referral link to get $10 to shop with! Buy yourself some candy from me.

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    Thoroughly Modern Emily
    May 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Produce has always been my sticking point, too! I spend a lot of time selecting the perfect tomato, and am not sure I trust someone else’s judgment. But for those weeks when the choice is giving up produce-selecting power or eating easy mac and cereal for days, a delivery service definitely seems worth it!

    1. Reply
      Penny Snark
      May 30, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Yeah, the produce is tricky, but I’m hoping maybe at least during the summer I can start buying produce at the farmer’s market and getting my other stuff delivered!

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