My Review of Instacart

I always wish for more hours in the day so I can get everything done, or for a personal assistant who could take care of the errands on my to do list.

Since my skills in bending the time-space continuum are non-existent and hiring an assistant is out of my budget, I need to find other tools to get everything done. Enter Instacart.


Recently, Instacart, a new grocery delivery service in the Boston area, contacted me about trying their site. They offered me $35 in free groceries to give it a go; though, honestly, they had me at deliver. One problem is that Instacart has not yet expanded to my town. They deliver to my office, however, so I was able to give it a try one day last week.

It was so easy. So easy, in fact, that I’m kicking myself for not trying a grocery delivery service sooner. This is how it worked:

  1. I logged onto the Instacart website before leaving for work one morning.
  2. I had the choice of delivery from Whole Foods, Shaw’s, or both in the same order.  I selected Whole Foods.
  3. I did my shopping, choosing foods like granola bars, lemons, limes, raw honey, and carrots. It took about 8 minutes.
  4. I selected a window of one hour later that day for delivery, but I could have gotten it within an hour of ordering if I had wanted.  I was able to include delivery instructions (in my case, it was text or call upon arrival and I’ll meet you in the lobby of my office building).
  5. I received a text message confirming my order, and a phone call from the store asking questions about my order; one of the items I selected was out of stock and the delivery person, Barry (that’s him in the photo), wanted to discuss replacements.
  6. I received texts when Barry was a few minutes away and a thank you after I had received my items.

The customer service—Barry—was great; he was friendly, enthusiastic, and on time. I especially appreciated how the website suggested replacement items at the time of ordering—just in case, and that Barry called to confirm the replacements. Plus, I could tip Barry at the time I placed the order, which I meant I didn’t have to fork over cash when he dropped off my food.

instacart_redshuttersSpeaking of Barry, he’s one of Instacart’s personal shoppers, people who receive client orders, do the shopping, and make the deliveries. Instacart doesn’t have warehouses or trucks. It offers the means to connect clients and shoppers and makes the connections with grocery stores. Cool idea.

How do the prices compare? I visited a Whole Foods near by home (not the one Barry shopped in for my Instacart delivery) to see. I had a hard time finding the same produce. For example, I had purchased conventional green apples; the store only had organic ones. I found baby carrots but they were not the same brand Barry had picked up for me. The prices I paid through Instacart were similar to those ones in the store, but since they were not the exact items, I couldn’t do an accurate comparison. I did find the same granola bars—Natures Path Dark Chocolate Chip Chococonut Granola Bars—and they were the same price. My advice here is to do your research before  using any grocery delivery service, and don’t forget to factor in convenience. Not having to find a parking space at Whole Foods is priceless!

Instacart serves San Francisco and Chicago, as well as Boston. Sign up on the Instacart website to see if your home—or office—is within their delivery zones.

Want to give Instacart a try? Use this link or enter the promo REDSHUTTERS10 to get $10 off your order. Happy shopping!

Disclosure: I received $35 of free groceries from Instacart, but all of the thoughts in this post belong to me. 

One Response
  1. January 30, 2014