Using Instacart for the First Time

After a very full day of doing absolutely nothing… I ended up using Instacart for the first time. Because being lazy all day wasn’t enough, I wanted to involve a complete stranger in my laziness.

For most of the day, Liz and I just lounged around in bed. We watched old episodes of The IT Crowd for a long time.

We had breakfast in bed, watched four or five episodes. I think I fell asleep for a while. And after waking up watched a few more. We then watched a movie or two, during which I’m fairly certain I fell asleep again. It really was the laziest of days.

After all our holiday travels, this was our first day back home in Chicago. And Liz and I wasted it masterfully.

Around 5:30 PM, I decided to try out Instacart, a delivery service that lets you order groceries online – and someone will pick up your items, and deliver them to you.

I’d kept tabs on the service for a while, and they became available in Hyde Park a few months back. I decided to give things a whirl, partly because our nearly grocery store (Treasure Island) tends to be more expensive, when it comes to staple items.

I had a small list of items, and included several veggies in my order. I was able to add notes to the veggies, saying that if they looked questionable it would be fine to skip.

In addition to notes, the checkout process also gives you the option to specify a replacement, if the item you want is out of stock. Pretty nifty process.

I ended up getting a call from the shopping, asking me about the vegetables. She mentioned that a few items were looking not so great. She offered to try to find other replacements, but I ended up telling her to just skip a few things. It was kind of a nice feature, to have someone call and double check on things before making a decision.

The location I used was Jewel-Osco, but I saw that Costco is also available. I’m not sure if I have to be a member myself, or if this is something that the shopper contends with.

For my first order, the delivery charge was free. For future orders, I think that there’s a $3.99 charge for orders delivered within 2 hours. There’s also the option to “tip” the shopper as well. All told, it’s a very convenient service… but I’m not sure just yet whether the numbers add up to use this service frequently.

If shopping at Costco is an option, there may be savings to be had there on regular items like paper towels and such. There’s also an annual subscription available through Instacart called “Instacart Express.” Similar to Amazon Prime, it’s $99/year, and gives you free delivery on 2 hour deliveries over $35.

I may need to do a little price comparison, between what things cost at Treasure Island versus what it would be to get them elsewhere. I don’t think Amazon Fresh is going to hit Chicago anytime soon. And I’ve not really looked into PeaPod yet, so there’s some more research in my future.

For now though, my first experience with Instacart was really effortless. It’s tough justifying the service, especially since I live so close to a grocery store already. But for today, which has been by far the laziest day I’ve had in 2014, it seemed like the icing on the proverbial cake.

Oooh cake. Should have tried to get that delivered too.

// Note: All links to Instacart on this post are through a referral code. If you sign up using any of the links on this page, you’ll get $10 added to your account along with free delivery for your first order (I also end up getting $5 if you end up placing an order).

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