Grocery Delivery Tips and Tricks: Find the Right Service for You & Get the Items You Need

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Does the thought of trying to secure a grocery pick-up or delivery time slot before next year rolls around give you anxiety? Are you not sure which service to use or if you should get your order delivered or try curbside? Wondering which grocery services allow you to use your EBT / P-EBT? Kidding Around’s Melanie is breaking down the ins and outs of Greenville’s grocery delivery and curbside pick-up services to help you get the items you need!

If you’re wondering what grocery services are available in Greenville and the Upstate, don’t miss Grocery Delivery Services in the Upstate.

If all of this grocery delivery and pick-up stuff was foreign to you before the pandemic, we’re right there with you. I’d barely had more than a pizza delivered previous to last year, and now I feel like I might become addicted to grocery shopping from bed without screaming kids in my ear as I shop.
As well as without the downfall of shopping while hungry and coming home with that gallon size can of nacho cheese and not knowing how it got in my cart. 

Ok, that’s a lie.  I know how it got in there.

Shopping from the comfort of home has its challenges and pitfalls, so the ladies of Kidding Around are going to try and impart the wisdom we’ve gained over the last few weeks with our readers in the hope that it makes your lives a little easier during this challenging time. 

Why Readers Love Grocery Shopping Services

We use Instacart. Have for 2 years. I’ve started using it for curbside pick up some places to save money on tips. But I’ve used for my own grocery delivery. Flower and birthday cake delivery to my parents when covid meant we weren’t together for birthdays. Sick kids so need something fast from the drug store. Having groceries deliveries to our hotel/beach house when we have traveled so that it was there as we got there or even before. I think the biggest thing is making sure you put descriptions, especially for produce, in the boxes. For instance, my three small kids and my husband, I usually order 12 bananas when I do my weekly grocery order. In the description, I always put “half green and half close ready to eat”. I also think about when I plan to eat something- for instance avocados- and would say “I need 2 hard avocados for later in the week” or “I need 2 ripe avocados for tonight”. During checkout, if it says something has low inventory, I select my alternate selection or tell it to refund me if what I’m ordering isn’t available. Finally, I try to follow along on my phone as my shopper is shopping so that if they chat me in the app, I can respond. It has been a life saver for us.

Laura Jones

Snagging A Grocery Time Slot 

With the sudden and unexpected surge in these services, retailers and third-party services were caught off guard and unprepared. In addition, an onslaught of new customers has made time slots hard to come by, which made it sometimes hard to find a way to safely get your groceries without dealing with the worry of social distancing inside of a store.
Here are some tips that have worked for us. 

  • Times often turn over to the new available day at midnight for Wal-Mart’s Grocery App. I spent quite a few nights waiting for midnight to snag a time slot. Once I got distracted binge-watching a show and didn’t realize until 1:30 am. There were only three time slots left for that day. So where snagging a grocery delivery or pick-up time is concerned, the late bird gets the worm. 
  • Planning ahead and scheduling time slots regularly helps also. The unique thing about the Walmart system is that you can reserve a time, place an order for what you think you will need, and then remove and add things as often as you need right up until a few hours prior on the morning of your order.
  • Amazon does not let you adjust your order once placed, but Instacart and Shipt do up until your “shopper” starts shopping.
  • Lowes Foods allows adjustments, but you must select an entirely new delivery time slot. This could be problematic if you placed the order last week for tomorrow and just realized you needed to add something.  

Getting The Grocery Items You Need When You Need Them

The inventory can and will change several dozen times between you placing your order and when a shopper selects it on your behalf. This often makes it hard to know if you will get the things you need when you order. For example, I recently ordered hot dogs and hot dog buns. Unfortunately, the hot dogs got cut, but not the buns, which made dinner interesting that night. Wal-Mart allows you to opt-in for items to be substituted, but we’ve found that to be an adventure in and of itself. Here are some tips that might help you snag those coveted items.

  • Selecting an early time slot on Saturday morning has been a trick that worked with Instacart. Depending on when the store’s trucks come in, it could make all the difference. 
  • Instacart and Shipt shoppers seem to be the best way to snag hard to come by items. Remember, to tip well – especially when toilet paper procurement is involved. 
  • When you rate your shopper well on Shipt, they try hard to partner you with them again. If you really liked the service from a shopper, ask when they work so you have a higher chance of getting them if you place your order during that time.
  • With Shipt and Instacart, your shopper can communicate with you in real-time regarding your order. This goes a long way in helping you get what you need when things are out of stock.

Paying That Extra Bit For Someone Else To Do Your Shopping 

That old saying, “Nothing In Life Is Free,” might be true, but right now, there are some ways to get the work done for you without an extra cost involved. 

  • Walmart Curbside pickup is free, but be prepared to wait for your order to be brought out. The pick-up area associates stay very busy.
  • If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, then deliveries of $35 and up are free for you from Whole Foods. 
  • You can get free curbside delivery from Target, but only by ordering through the Target App.
  • Sam’s Club offers a service called Free Club Pickup. You can order items online, and check in on the App when you arrive. 
  • CVS is offering free 1 to 2 day delivery of prescriptions and everyday essentials through their App.

Which Grocery Delivery Services Take EBT, Cash, Giftcards, or Credit?

While we could snag some freebies in the previous category, there’s still no such thing as a free lunch. Obviously, every place will accept all major credit and debit cards. It’s all the other forms of payment that might confuse things. 

  • Instacart and Shipt are third-party companies who you are paying an upcharge and a fee to shop for you. For this reason, they only accept payment by credit card. This excludes any type of store gift card, even if it is for the store you are purchasing from. The exception is Target if you use the Target app and select same-day delivery, then you can use a Target gift card.
  • Instacart also accepts Apple Pay and Google Pay 
  • Walmart Pickup will not accept cash or check for curbside pickup. You must pay by credit card or Wal-mart gift card online, or by EBT/P-EBT
  • Wal-mart Pickup is the only delivery/pickup option for those using EBT/P-EBT
  • Lowes Foods will allow you to pay for your items online or at pickup with credit, debit,  cash, or online through PayPal. 

Most importantly, remember that stores are trying to keep up with the demand as best as possible. Yes, things are going to be out of stock when normally they wouldn’t. Patience and kindness will go a long way while we are all trying to navigate these crazy times.

We hope this information helps you navigate the world of contact-less grocery shopping a little bit easier. More details on how each delivery service works can be found in Grocery Delivery Services in the Upstate.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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