As part of the Safeway gift card giveaway that I wrote about Friday, I agreed to review Safeway's Home Delivery Service. Before I get to the review, let me remind you to go to that post and get some free groceries!
To get started I went to Safeway's home page and signed in just as I would for their Just For U program. I then clicked on the "Grocery Delivery" link in the top navigation bar and then preceded to "shop by aisle". I drilled through several layers of sub-menus and added some eggs to my cart... well not really. As I tried to add those eggs, I was asked to sign in. Turns out that being signed into Safeway's Just For U program doesn't get you signed into the delivery service. So I registered for the delivery service and started over again.
Again, I tried to buy some eggs by aisle. I clicked on the "Dairy, Eggs, and Cheese" aisle. Then I'm giving choices like butter, cheese, eggs, etc. I click on the eggs. The next screen makes me choose between eggs and egg substitutes. I click on eggs again. Finally I have a list of 16 egg products, a good variety of different brands and sizes. The default order of the eggs is alphabetical - reasonable enough. I can sort the list in five ways: alphabetical A-Z, alphabetical Z-A, price highest-to-lowest, price lowest-to-highest, and Club Card Specials first. The two that make the most sense to me are price lowest-to-highest and Club Card Specials first as I'm just looking for the cheapest eggs I can find. There are no Club Card Specials, so that doesn't help me at all. The lowest-to-highest price helps, but shows me a 6-egg package at the beginning. Fortunately, since eggs typically come in a standard dozen size, the second listing is perfect. As you might imagine, I wouldn't be as lucky if I was looking to buy a gallon of milk. The most helpful missing sort is the sort by unit price. They have this information for every item on the list, but they don't allow you to sort based on it. Boo Safeway, boo!
That was my next task, buy some milk. I decided to use the search option this time. That was a mistake. There are some 60 products or so with milk in it. They range from things like milk chocolate to Milk Bone dog treats. Fortunately there are "shelf matches" in the left navigation, but that is ordered by alphabetical order instead of most matching products. So the shelves that you see are Athletic & Health, Baking, Candy, Cheese, etc... you have to "more" to get to the shelf of Milk & Cream. I can then see that there's a sub-aisle with fat-free milk. I pick that and find a good set of options... but no organic milk options. For that I would have to click the organic milk and then look for the fat-free milk option in there. This is an issue at the technical level, it seems that Safeway doesn't allow for a single product to be mapped to two spaces. As a software engineer, I will declare this the result of poor data architecture.
Aside from the problems I had finding the products I wanted, I found that the prices were not very competitive. Some products seemed to be priced at what I'd find in the store, but most of the time things seemed a a good 20% more expensive. Of course, since I wasn't shopping from inside the store, I was just using my memory... don't quote me on saying the prices are different.
So what did I purchase? It looks a little something like this:
Errr... but it looks more like this:
The order came through with no substitutions (which are always a possibility). The quality of the bananas and the onion is as good as if I picked it myself (maybe a little better if you ask my wife). The date on the milk was an acceptable 13 days away. The price came in a little cheaper than the estimate (weight of chicken and fruit can make the final price fluctuate), which was nice. Also I managed to save 44% ($26.67) by using my Safeway card... I consciously bought items that were on sale.
Use or Don't Use?
I like to go grocery shopping, so I might not be the best judge. When you add in the complex navigation and the pricing, I'd personally skip the home delivery. However, for those that dread the grocery store or have a medical reason that makes getting to the store a hassle, it could be well worth it.
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