My First Instacart Experience

I just want to start off by saying: this is not a sponsored post. None of my posts are.

Okay, now that’s out of the way. When I first heard about Instacart’s recent arrival in the Buffalo area, I was intrigued, but didn’t necessarily think it was a service I’d ever use.

This week, I decided to give it a try. My husband and I both have a busy week, filled with our day jobs, plus a ton of ‘extracurricular’ stuff (side job stuff, basically). The evenings I’m free, I look forward to going home and being able to relax. I don’t terribly mind grocery shopping, but after working an eight-hour day, the last thing I want to do is go spend an hour strolling the aisles of Tops or Wegmans, then another 15ish minutes carting the stuff home and upstairs. And then you’ve still got to put everything away!

So I decided to try Instacart through Tops, if only just once. I realize it’s a luxury, with definite upcharges and costs that many people may not be able to afford. But I had a little extra cash this week, and as I said, a busy schedule – so I spent about 10 minutes ‘shopping,’ and then had everything delivered.

The whole process was pretty seamless. Prices on some items ARE higher than in the stores, and the sales in the store aren’t applicable online. But not everything is badly-priced. There’s also a delivery charge (unless you spend a certain amount, which I did) and a service charge (which goes to Instacart). Plus you can add a tip, which I did.

Financials aside, I enjoyed it. It’s not like shopping at the store, so looking through all the items is a little more time-consuming in some sense, but if you’ve got a list of what you want in mind, it’ll be easier.  You can select ‘replacement items’ for if an item isn’t in stock; I didn’t do that, so my shopper replaced some of my items for me. I was able to approve or deny those replacements, which I appreciated. I approved all of them.

Overall, I really enjoyed how transparent the whole process was. I got text alerts to tell me when my shopper had started. Each time they replaced an item, I got a notification asking to approve it. I even got a notification they were checking out; then I was able to track the car on its route to my apartment in real-time.

The only part I wasn’t crazy about: the charges on my bank account, though I know those will drop off in a day or so. After placing my order, a hold for $165 (the cost of my order plus about $20) was put onto my account. The upcharge is due to the possibility of replacement items, etc. After my order was delivered, another hold for the actual amount (something like $140) was put on there. After I added a tip, that amount ($13) was also put through as a hold. I know it will be a few days before that extra initial hold comes off, but if I was pressed for money, that could be a real issue, so keep that in mind.

So the question now is: will I use Instacart again? The answer is… maybe? As I said earlier, it’s definitely a luxury and I realize not everyone can do it. But it sure is nice to take all the legwork out of grocery shopping and give it to someone else. I don’t grocery shop every week anyways (I usually go once a month), so doing this once in a while isn’t terrible. Maybe next time I’ll try it at Wegmans. 🙂

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