We routinely use the Curbside Express grocery delivery service. I see from my blog analytics that previous posts on this topic are spiking in popularity so I thought it was a good time to create an update tailored to people who might be trying the service for the first time. Note that your first delivery is free.
1. Be flexible about substitutions. You can opt-in/out of substitutions for your items. Each item has a little space for notes so you can spell out any limits like “Only same price or lower” or “Any smaller size combined is fine” or “No XYZ brand please” They will call to discuss out-of-stock options, but the more information you provide ahead of time, the better. Yes, you can request rain checks.
2. Scheduling a weekday delivery is usually less glitchy than weeknights or weekends.
3. The weekly circular prices end on Wednesday night. The new circular is not online until Thursday. So if you shop on Wednesday for a Thursday delivery, you get Thursday prices.
4. Answer your phone. They will call you when they’ve shopped your order. If you can’t be reached, you miss the chance to address shortages or substitutions. Turn on your phone two hours before delivery and answer calls from 412 and 724.
5. If your delivery is late, call the store number on your order verification. They will figure it out and if Shipt isn’t responsive, GE will deliver directly. Most drivers will text you about their ETA. You have a window so late means after the window closes.
6. Be clear about delivery. Do you want them to carry items into your home? Leave at the door? Do you have pets who might escape through an open door? I’ve found drivers to be helpful and a accommodating. As soon as I say “cats” – they know why I keep slamming the door shut.
7. Giant Eagle will deliver most of their prepared foods so you can incorporate a hot meal into your delivery minus the food delivery fees. Even with same day delivery pricing at $9.99, it might be less expensive than a food delivery service.
8. You can schedule ahead so if you have a highly sought after delivery slot preference, shop a week ahead of time. Maybe plan to get your pantry staples and routine items, then make a quick trip IRL to get last minute things.
9. On more than one occasion my shopper tells me they went into the back to get a certain item. I really appreciate that effort. It’s not like they have a complete second inventory, but they know their store better than me. BUT don’t argue with the shopper about checking in back. They do that on their own and asking them to interrupt a super chaotic process to triple check an item is not cool.
10. Ease up. Your items are going to be packed in brown paper bags inside blue plastic bags. They generally do a solid job of sorting like items, but if this is a big trigger for you, take a breath. Or you need to shop for yourself.
11. Yes, you can order gift cards via this service. Yes, you can order groceries for someone at another address if you want to shop for a family member.
12. These folks work hard at not great wages to do this task for us. Be polite. Tip well and to scale of how much effort the driver has to make. If you need 25 bags carried up two flights of steps? Tip big. Bonus is that the same driver will start picking up your order and that good will professional relationship will pay off for everyone.
One time, Giant Eagle forgot to give one of regular drivers my meat order. On her own accord, she drove back to get those items. I called the store, they acknowledged the error and when I asked how the driver would be compensated, they told me they’d give a gift card. I asked the driver and she confirmed they “took care of her” and she would use it for gas. I also tipped her again because she really did me a huge favor to correct a mistake that wasn’t her responsibility to address.
I’m self-isolating right now because I have a gastric virus. So I made sure to say “it’s not you, its me” when I left instructions to drop items at the door instead of our usual scenario. Ask your driver if Shipt is providing tools for them (as of yesterday, no) such as hand sanitizer for cars, wipes, etc. All the drivers I’ve spoken with have these items with them at their own expense. You would think a grocery shopping service would be ale to provide these items, right? Tell Shipt to do this
This resource isn’t perfect, but it does make shopping manageable for folks with constraints. The few out-of-stocks on my list were far outweighed by the fact that I didn’t have to wait in a big line at a store filled with people and a lot of empty shelves. No parking lot to contend with. No grocery cart to disinfect. Minimal unloading or hauling of groceries.
Lean into the resource, but remember that there are human beings doing the legwork for you.
Note: I do realize that not everyone can afford Giant Eagle, but it might be possible to benefit from a partial order. Or to order for a third party if you know they have some needs.
These tips might apply to other delivery services as well, but I haven’t used them. Please leave a comment with other tips and suggestions for neighbors looking for this type of information.
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