Grocery Delivery – A Tour and Review of Peapod

I love behind the scenes tours. I think it’s the latent engineer in me, but I just like knowing how things work. So, when I got invited to tour a Peapod “wareroom,” I was pretty excited. As you may know, Peapod is Stop & Shop’s home delivery service. We have used it on a number of occasions when I was too busy to shop. It was a lifesaver when I was 8 months’ pregnant and caring for a toddler as well. Big Guy does a lot of stuff around the house, but grocery shopping is just torture for him.

Anyway, Peapod warerooms are housed in actual Stop & Shop stores. This allows them to have access to the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, etc., without holding stock in a regular warehouse. When you place an order, those items (including deli orders) are collected in advance from the full-size store and placed in special bins in the shopping area upstairs.

During our tour, we got to follow a Peapod shopper as she put together an order. The shoppers use a special scanner strapped that tells them the products and quantities to select. They shop through an area that looks like a compact Stop & Shop store. Then they add in frozen items, produce, meat and other sensitive items. Cold items are packed in insulated cases with ice packs, while frozen items as packed with dry ice. When the orders are complete, they’re packed into trucks for delivery. The delivery system is computerized to make sure that each family receives their order during the time frame they specified.

As part of the tour, we were each given a $50 gift card to try out the service. I was thrilled to try Peapod again, but it took me some time to find a day to do the shopping where I knew I could be around for delivery. Shipping is $9.95 for orders under $100 and $6.95 for those over. You can tip the driver in cash or by adding an amount to your delivery receipt.

Pros

  • Ease of shopping
  • Same sales that you’ll find in-store
  • A variety of delivery times with discounts for less popular times
  • Shop from lists of your own favorite/commonly shopped items to save time
  • Manufacturer coupons are accepted (give them to the driver in an envelope and they’ll apply them to your bill)

Cons

  • Brands and package sizes are limited to more popular options
  • Delivery costs/driver tips (optional) may make it feel too much of a luxury for regular use

Special Highlights

Nutrifilter
– Peapod has a special filter you can use to find items that match your own dietary criteria. There are some built-in filters, like peanut-free, low sodium and Weight Watchers, but you can also create your own with mix-and-match features. Features include, fat, cholesterol, protein, vitamins/minerals, Kosher, organic, gluten-free and more. As you shop, items that match your plan will appear first with a special icon to let you know they’re ok. The system isn’t perfect. Sometimes that should match a filter aren’t recognized (this is a particular issue with fruits and vegetables, in my experience), but it’s a good start.

Customer Service
– Peapod has excellent customer service. They are always quick to resolve a problem and reimburse you when necessary. I just can’t say enough about it.

My Experience

I have used Peapod a number of times and have generally been quite happy with the results. While I was still happy with my experience this time around, there were a few anomalys I want to note:
1. The driver was a bit early. I was glad to see my driver early, but typically the store would call to see if an early delivery works for you. It was only by 10 minutes or so, so I guess it wasn’t worth calling ahead, but I was a bit surprised by the knock on my door!

2. We received an incorrect item. In all of the times I have used Peapod, this has never happened. In fact, after watching the quality control in the system, I’m not sure how it could happen. As shoppers place items into your order, they scan the item in as a way of confirming that it’s correct. In our case, they swapped out one flavor of sausage for the one we had ordered. Since we had specified “no substitutions” on our order, I gave customer service a call. In no time at all, we had been reimbursed for the mistake.

3. We received some scrappy corn. Whenever I mention grocery delivery to people, they either worry about cost or the the quality of produce and meats. Honestly, I have never had a problem. And, I know that Peapod will reimburse you for any products that sneak by that don’t make their high standards. This order was the first time that I was unhappy with my produce and it’s really a specific complaint. I am picky about corn. I won’t take home an ear of corn that looks ratty at the top when you pull back the husk. Those ears often aren’t as juicy or flavorful. Our corn was packed without anyone looking under the husk and it just wasn’t very good at all. Lesson learned… some things you just have to do yourself!

Bottom Line

Peapod is a convenient way to get your shopping done when you don’t have a car, you’re feeling sick, or you just don’t want to drag your kids through the supermarket. You can also use it creatively to order all of your heavy/bulky items once a month or every other month. You can generally rely on the same quality (if not better) than you would receive during your own shopping trip and it arrives at your door just as it would if you came home from the store. [Note: Peapod uses plastic shopping bags. We use them for trash, so it’s fine for us, but reusable bags aren’t an option at this time.]

3 Responses to Grocery Delivery – A Tour and Review of Peapod
  1. Selling Out, Buying in and Holding True
    August 18, 2009 | 9:43 am

    […] “insider” information and tours. As I mentioned in my Peapod review, I love a good backstage […]

  2. Rebecca
    July 10, 2010 | 11:46 am

    How much do you tip the driver for orders under or around $100? 20%?

  3. Christy
    July 10, 2010 | 12:59 pm

    I usually tip about $10, since I’m already paying for delivery. I tip higher for an order with a lot of heavy stuff.

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