Following up on my post about grocery delivery services from a few days ago, I conducted an experiment. The day after that post, in which I asked whether anyone had experience with the local Peapod service (which partners with Giant) or the Safeway.com delivery service, I saw a Peapod truck delivering groceries to my building. So I, being the contrarian that I am, decided to give Safeway.com a try. Well, that's not the exact thought process that went through my mind… I did some pricing of things that I needed, and found that the Safeway.com prices and availability were generally a bit better, so I decided to give them a try.
Here's my evaluation.
First, at least for my shopping needs, Safeway.com's prices seem better. And their delivery was right on time, near the beginning of the 4-hour window that they gave me. The fellow who brought the groceries to my unit was very quick and nice.
Second, Safeway.com's delivery charge is higher, at least from what I remember Peapod's deliveries in Chicago costing. But, they do not let drivers accept tips, which effectively makes the delivery cheaper. (Query: what's an appropriate tip for the delivery? My roommates and I used to do $5 per delivery, unless it was a really big delivery. And we frequently had the same few guys making the deliveries and they seemed to like us.)
That said, two of my eggs were broken, and a few of the items were unavailable. That never once happened with Peapod. They delivered eggs with the cartons in super-duper bubble wrap and they were always prisine, and I never had an item that was unavailable. Also, I really like Peapod's frozen ("cryofreeze" or something) meats, which will stay fresh until thawed for about 80 years or so (great for stocking up during sales!).
The other comments that I would have are about the actual web interface for placing orders. Peapod's is much easier to use! Very much so. Perhaps the better focus would be on how difficult to use Safeway.com's interface is. Seriously, if I weren't pretty sure that I was using it the way it was intended to be used, I'd be certain that I was using it wrong.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Peapod's DC presence isn't as good as its Chicago presence. But I think that I'll be finding this out next time I order groceries! Since Safeway.com didn't give me a top-notch experience, I think that I need to try Peapod, even if it's slightly higher-priced. If the service is on par with Safeway.com, I'll go back to Safeway.com—but if its service is on par with how it was in Chicago, then Peapod has just retained a customer (for you corporate accounting geeks, that makes me a non-cost win-back).
PS- Forgive any formatting peculiarities in this post—this is my first post-by-email. Life's been too busy lately to log into blogger to post. But if this works, hopefully you'll be hearing more from me.