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August 5th, 2004

Somewhat Unimpressed by Peapod

I’m late to the game: I just tried Peapod for the first time. They only recently started delivering products to our area and were offering $20 off the first order, so I decided that was enough incentive to avoid driving two whole blocks to the supermarket.

The online shopping experience was decent enough. The site is well-designed and even when it times you out after having been idle for 3.7 seconds, it remembers your cart. They used some wacky client-side scripting, but it worked almost flawlessly in Opera and Firefox and I appreciated that I could get a further discount if I had our groceries delivered during a certain large window of time.

And even the delivery went well. The guy was very friendly, we got a complimentary copy of the Wall Street Journal and the produce that they selected on our behalf was at least as we could have done ourselves. So what’s my complaint?

The selection. We buy a lot of our stuff from the so-called “health food” aisle. We like the cereals better, we like the pasta better, and the snacks are better, too. But our online choices were quite limited compared to the local Giant. Now, Peapod partners with Giant, so from the persepective of a clueless consumer, I’d expect them to have a similar selection of products, but I’d say that a good 40% of what we normally buy was not available from Peapod. Entire brands were excluded, I found. In only one case was I able to get something on Peapod that wasn’t available at my local Giant.

“But,” you say, “you’re still being unreasonable. Why would you expect Peapod to have the same selection as your local store?” Because when I signed up they specifically which store I normally shopped at. Whether or not they actually get their food from that store, I don’t know (I suspect not), but why bother asking what store you shop at if they already have your delivery address unless they plan to offer you items only available locally?

In any event, it was an alright overall experience, especially with the discount (which was almost negated by the shipping and tip), but I doubt I’ll be using Peapod again unless another big discount falls in my lap.

Posted in Miscellaneous

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