I Had My Groceries Delivered by Instacart: Here’s Why I’m Sticking with Walmart Grocery Pickup

Instacart vs Walmart Grocery Pickup

Have you tried having your groceries delivered? I have, and the experience wasn’t enjoyable at all. While I should have probably done more research on my part before typing in my card information it was the most frustrating online shopping experience I have ever encountered from start to end. Today, I’m going to tell you all about it so if you’ve been considering jumping on the grocery delivery bandwagon you know exactly what to expect.

See Also: Shopping Hacks to Save Money on Fruits and Veggies Each Month

Introducing Instacart

I’m sure by now you’ve probably heard about Instacart. They are mostly discussed online as being a way to make some extra cash by delivering groceries. After seeing it mentioned in so many different online groups and seeing a ton of people recommending it for the income they were something on my to check out list. Plus, a couple of weeks ago when doing some in-person grocery shopping at my local Farm Fresh I noticed the advertisements there encouraging shoppers to have their groceries delivered.

This weekend I’ll admit I was being lazy and didn’t do my Walmart Grocery pickup order. So, Instacart popped into my head and since delivery was the same day I figured why not.

See Also: Tips for Making Mealtime Unbelievably Easy

Shopping on Instacart

Instacart

Once I was signed up for Instacart (the easy part) I was presented with a selection of stores available. Since Farm Fresh is one of my favorite grocery stores selecting them was a no-brainer. However, when I got to the actual storefront for Farm Fresh that’s when the madness began.

I will say, at first, I thought, this is going to be easy since everything is so organized.

Farm Fresh on Instacart

However, as I started shopping, I saw what a nightmare it was going to be.

First, a lot of the items don’t have photos and have similar names, so you can’t really tell if what you’re getting is what you want. Second, everything is charged by the pound so there’s no way you can order accurately since in the store it’s already packaged. Third, the prices are boosted up (later after I’d already placed my order I did some research and found out that Instacart can boost up the prices by as much as 20%).

For example, look at the photos below. The top photo shows chicken drumsticks at Farm Fresh for $1.39 per pound. However, in the bottom photo, you can see drumsticks at Walmart for $0.96 per pound and the total is $4.76.

While it’s not a big difference I have a grocery budget and spending $185 on groceries was not in my plans (more on this later).

More on the Instacart Website

I’ve already discussed how annoying it is that quite a few items are missing photos. But, the website usability is annoying too.

When shopping at Walmart for my pickup order I just click add to cart and it goes into the cart and shows in the cart on the sidebar. Not with Instacart. Nope, not happening.

First, you must click on the item, it opens in a new window and then you must click add to cart. To view the cart, you must click on the cart icon, which was an all-around pain since this time I shopped without a list and I like to easily be able to compare prices.

Instacart: The Checkout Process & Fees

Once you’re ready to check out the real fun starts. You’ll notice that you’re hit with a service fee of $15 (well in my case it was $15 I’m not sure if this had anything to do with my order or not), plus there’s the sales tax, and the delivery fee (my first delivery was free but apparently normally it’s $5.99 unless you pay $149 per year to get free delivery for orders over $35).

Sounds normal, right?

Well, since I originally heard about Instacart as a way to make extra income I already knew that the service fee doesn’t go to the drivers, so I opted not to pay it and I’m glad I didn’t (more on why later). I already had set aside $10 in cash as a tip for the driver, so I felt the money was better spent going into their pocket especially after the awful ordering experience so far.

The shocking thing was that my order, which was priced at $149 after sales tax was added warranted a $180 hold on my card. Again, this could be due to my lack of not researching this first, but with Walmart Grocery pickup they charge me what my order is priced at.

So, I was a little put off with this as I was already $49 over my grocery budget for the week and now they were trying to squeeze me out of another $31.

AND when I started shopping it told me delivery would be available within 2 hours. Wrong! After authorizing my card to be charged the email tells me that my estimated delivery time is 6 hours away. I was so glad I didn’t pay that service charge, however, not paying the service charge could have been what delayed my order. I guess I’ll never know.

The Instacart Shopper

Obviously, the shoppers are everyday people like you and me and not a Walmart employee who has been doing grocery pickup for a while and knows where everything is at in the store. Also, it’s not their money that they’re spending so it is probably more than likely that when it comes to replacements they just pick up whatever they see first (if they even look for the original item altogether).

The good thing is once your shopper is in route Instacart sends you a text message, so you can track the process. I kind of felt bad because according to the progress alerts it took my shopper 30 minutes to get to Farm Fresh, which is five minutes away from my house. So, it’s possible that my delivery may have also been off because we don’t have a lot of drivers in my city yet.

Anyways, once the shopper was in the store, I thought things would be smooth sailing. Nope, wrong again!

She replaced about 6 items for higher priced items (I’m talking about double the price items). Again, this could be due to Instacart not using the store’s prices and making their own or it could have been the shopper just picking up whatever came to her eyes first. I guess I’ll never know.

I know when the total crept up to $180 I was thinking oh no don’t tell me I am going to be paying $200 for 39 items. If only I hadn’t been lazy I could have gotten 65 items (similar items shopped via Farm Fresh but a larger quantity to last for close to three weeks) from Walmart for $144 or 31 items for $55.

See the difference here?

The Delivery

The shopper spent about a half hour in the store. I received a text once she was in transit. It took her the five minutes to get to me, but she didn’t even ring the doorbell. My kids happen to notice a shadow in front of the window and low and behold groceries were sitting in front of the door. When she made the last trip up we still tipped her the $10, but I was so disappointed with this experience and I refuse to do it again.

$185 worth of Groceries via Instacart

Final Thoughts – Why I’m Sticking with Walmart Grocery Pickup

Overall, I spent $185 on groceries that for the price should last me for 3 weeks. The prices are inflated and unless you specify replacement options on everything or tell the shopper not to replace it at all, there’s no telling how much your final total is going to be plus you could get stuck with brands you don’t even like.

With Walmart Grocery Pickup, even though it’s impossible to get a same day pickup time in my area, the ordering process is quick and easy and so is the pickup process. Whenever they replace something they keep it in the same price range and brand and what you’re told your order is going to be online is what it is. Plus, if you’re ordering more than $35 the service is free. The best part is, you don’t feel pressured to tip even when you have had a horrible experience, but when you do you know that they really deserved it because the best possible service has been experienced the entire time.

Basically, I took this Instacart experience as a lesson learned. While it doesn’t make me not want to shop at Farm Fresh anymore, I’m going back to being a loyal Walmart Grocery Pickup customer and will save Farm Fresh trips for when I’m out running errands in the area already and just need to pick up something from them that Walmart doesn’t have. For now, I’ll just keep putting in my savings catcher receipts and hope to score some of my wasted money back that way.

Have you ever had your groceries delivered via Instacart? What was your experience like?

43 Comments

  1. I have used a local grocery delivery service years ago, but the company went out of business . And I haven’t used a similar service since. I keep hearing people speaking good things about Instacart, but I’m glad you shared your honesty about them. I think I’ll stick with going to a grocery store myself and shopping.

    #ProductReviewParty

  2. Insatacart sounds really great I would love to try this, This looks so easy and hassle-free.

  3. This sounds really great. great job from Walmart. I have to check this out.

  4. Aduke Schulist says:

    I like the idea of having my groceries delivered… even ready for me at pickup, but there is a part of me that also wants to pick it out myself. I think I would use this service though.

  5. I really appreciate your honest feedback about this one and for sharing your experience. I’ll check more about this for sure.

  6. Susan says:

    ok wow. So glad you wrote your experience with it. I won’t be using it now. I had heard of it but nope you just saved me money by writing this! I can’t believe she didn’t ring door bell. I love your comparing it to Walmarts service.. I had not yet tried them. #productreviewparty

    1. admin says:

      Hi Susan,

      No problem. I hate to see others wasting money and since this service is popping up everywhere now I figured I should give some insights into what to expect.

  7. This looks so easy and hassle-free. Great idea from Walmart. I think I should try this one

  8. What a great idea from Walmart. I think I should try this one. Looks like it is so easy and no hassle at all.

  9. We’ve never tried having our groceries delivered via Instacart. We’ve never tried Walmart’s grocery pickup service either although we shop at Walmart every week. We thought about it. Maybe we’ll give it a try one of these days. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  10. Catalina says:

    It is nice to read about stories that did not go well. And I love how you explained all the positive and negative aspects of the both services.

  11. We don’t have grocery delivery in my area but we do have WalMart pickup and I LOVE it! The people are so dang friendly and I still feel like I get good deals on my items!!

  12. I have never gotten my groceries delivered. I feel like I need to touch and see the food… and I often shop a few times a week for recipes. BUT, this would be super helpful on those insanely busy weeks. I need to look into it more for our family!

  13. I’ve never heard of Instacart until now. I still have not used any of the grocery ordering sites yet, I actually like going when the kids are in school.

    1. admin says:

      Amy,

      I used to do that but it seems even busier then. Plus, I get so worn out from shopping, then putting the groceries away that it makes me less productive for work. On occasion when I’m out I will get things that have to be picked up in person such as fresh seafood, but that’s a 10 minute in-store visit max lol.

  14. Dogvills says:

    I have not tried having someone do my grocery shopping for me. I am that picky! If I would go that route, I would rather do it with larger, more reputable companies, i.e. Walmart. Thank you for your honest review.

  15. InstaCart looks like a great service! I think it would be much more convenient to have groceries delivered, although I do like walking around the store. I’m not sure if we have something like InstaCart in the UK so I’ll need to do some research!

  16. I’ve never tried this because our grocery store is across the street, but I’ve always been curious. It definitely doesn’t sound like something I’ll ever do.

  17. Thanks for the warning about Instacart. Maybe they’ll improve this service. I would love if it worked with Sprouts and Kroger. But I think Kroger has a click list option, but they charge where Walmart is free.

  18. Delivered groceries are seriously the future. Just had my first time and I don’t think I will go to the store again.

  19. I love the grocery pick up!!! I do this once a week and it saves so much time and has actually helped me to budget my groceries better because I can fill up my grocery list while staring at my fridge or pantry and know exactly what I need without assuming. It’s been a godsend. I still go to Sprouts for my organic produce unless Walmart happens to have it, but it’s really helped me so much!!

    1. admin says:

      Heather,

      I love grocery pickup too. It is what keeps me within my food budget each month. My SO usually gets the groceries after he gets off work and all I have to do is put them away.

  20. I am so sorry to hear that you had such a negative experience with Instacart. I haven’t used this service myself but I can imagine that if it were set up properly it would be a helpful thing!

    1. admin says:

      Nancy,

      Absolutely, I love the idea, especially for when you’re cooking and realize that you’re missing something. But, unfortunately, since the service has been around for at least 2 years if they aren’t implementing customer feedback and making changes based off that I think it’s not very likely that they will be changing anything.

  21. WOW! That sounds like such a negative experience. I have not thought to use this to be honest. I do shop online through click and collect sometimes and have always found that to be a positive experience.

  22. Heather says:

    I’ve never done any of the grocery delivery programs other than Amazon. I need to try the Walmart option though. Time’s precious, and if I could cut out an errand or two I’d be happy. Sorry your experience with Instacart was a slum dunk

    1. admin says:

      Heather,

      I haven’t tried Amazon’s grocery delivery program. I may have to check it out to see if it could be another grocery delivery option for me. Well, that is if it’s even available in my area yet.

  23. Joyce Duboise Santos says:

    This is the best thing to ever happen to us, haha! I’ve also used it before and it’s FANTASTIC! It definitely makes life much easier – especially when you’re in the middle of cooking a huge meal and you forget something!

  24. Elizabeth O says:

    Oh dear it doesn’t sound very well thought out, I am sorry you had such a bad experience. I do prefer to do my own grocery shopping as I like to pick of my fruit and veg myself instead of getting what I am given.

  25. That’s definitely a terrible experience with them. Also, I love saving money and I don’t like the fact that they have the option to replace brands that I prefer over more expensive ones or different ones. Looks like Walmart has better service.

  26. I have never tried having my groceries delivered. I would use a service like this if I could figure out a reliable one. Sounds like this was a frustrating online shopping experience from start to end. I am sure this is an area that will be offered at many many stores. I like the idea.

  27. Drake Conan says:

    For a busy person like me, this is something that I really need. Looks like it is user-friendly and no hassle at all. I’m gonna check this on Walmart.

  28. It seems like this was more of a headache than a help! I don’t think I’ll try out the service if they can’t even have items pictured on their site.

    1. admin says:

      Kendra,

      Yes, the website definitely needs more to make it user-friendly. If it’s like this on the shoppers end it makes me wonder if it’s any better on the person’s end who is actually getting the groceries.

  29. Gladys parker says:

    Wow, instacart really raked you over badly. I believe we have that here although, I have never used it or thought about using it. I will think about it now, NOT to ever use it kinda thought!

  30. Jennifer Van Huss says:

    I’m old fashion!! I love going to Walmart and being IN store. I’m sure that the grocery delivery would save time and money (there’s no things to tempt you in the check out!), but I use the alse to remind me of thing I may need that I didn’t write down!

    1. admin says:

      Jennifer,

      I used to love shopping in store too. However, with three kids it’s more hassle than it’s worth. While having groceries delivered to my home did seem like a good idea at first, I’ll settle for grocery pickup for now.

  31. Oh, it doesn’t seem to be too user-friendly and at this point, I’m not really looking to change services or learn a new platform. But I could see how it could benefit others!

  32. That sounds like it was a mess. It sounds like they need to revamp their entire website to work a lot more smoothly. I have never tried Walmart pick up either but I have been wanting to do that.

  33. We have instacart options here but I have never tried it. I’m too picky with my vegetables and fruit so I wouldn’t be able to have someone else shop for me.

    1. admin says:

      Ashley,

      I know what you mean. I only had limited fruit needed this week, so it wasn’t too much of a big deal. I’ve been a faithful Walmart grocery pickup customer for months and never had a problem with their fruit and veggie picks though. Also, with the fruit, I did get via Instacart that turned out good.

  34. Yeah, I would rather use Walmart myself. It’s so easy to see everything, and it’s incredibly user friendly.

  35. We tried to get groceries delivered when we were in the states.
    The set up was really easy and quick but we couldn’t actually use it as our resort didn’t except deliveries from other venders. 🙁
    Haven’t tried it here in Canada yet but would love to!!

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