High demand delays grocery pickup and delivery services | Coronavirus
With the increasing demand as people stay at home, the pickup and delivery service at the local grocery stores takes much longer than usual.
While stores like Walmart and Safeway haven’t done away with grocery collection, shoppers will likely wait days before their order is ready or before they can even place an order.
When someone places a pickup or delivery order, they select items online and choose a time slot from a list of available options. These time slots are booked a week in advance for some, and residents have trouble using the pick-up service.
According to a Sahuarita Walmart representative, pick-up orders were booked through the week through Tuesday of last week, so the service was not available to anyone who hadn’t reserved time.
Currently, when customers go to the website to order, “There are some technical problems. We’re working on the problem now. “
Walmart corporate headquarters were reached for comment. Walmart began nationwide on Saturday limiting the number of customers allowed in the store at one time.
The Fry’s Marketplace in Rancho Sahuarita was also fully booked at pick-up times.
Pam Giannonatti, Kroger / Fry’s corporate affairs manager, said they shortened the window for pick-up orders but since then increased the availability of additional pick-ups by a few hours.
“We’re open from 10 am to 7 pm to better serve customers in Sahuarita, and we also have deliveries six days a week,” she said. “So we’re doing everything we can to get the product down there, keep the shelves full, and keep the stores open in these unprecedented times.”
Deliveries were available on Monday, but the next availability is not until Saturday. The earliest availability for collections was Sunday.
Giannonatti said demand is causing these pickup and delivery delays.
“The demand is so high and everyone is using this service and filling these posts,” she said. “People are really using these services right now, which is great because we want to encourage that social distance and we are doing our best to get these jobs done.”
Fry’s uses Instacart, an online grocery delivery service that allows users to order and receive groceries for their home deliveries.
Sprouts, which does not offer a pick-up service, also uses third-party Instacart for deliveries.
As of Monday, their earliest delivery time was Saturday evening. However, there was high demand on the Instacart website. “If you select Available First, your order will be accepted by the first available buyer.”
Instacart reported a 30 to 50 percent increase in shipments per day as early as the first week of March, a trend that has continued.
The Green Valley Safeway had delivery times starting Monday April 12th. At that time, no pick-up service was available at either location.
Nancy Keane, Public Affairs for Safeway / Albertsons in the Southwest region, said demand is driving long waiting times and / or unavailability of pickup and delivery services.
“Our grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery, and drive-up-and-go services saw above-average demand,” she said. “As we add open slots for delivery and collection, these are quickly reserved by customers.”
She said Albertsons and Safeway are in the process of hiring more employees, including delivery drivers and buyers.
Safeway continues to follow improved disinfection protocols and deliveries are now “contactless”.
To apply for a position at Safeway / Albertsons, visit www.safeway.com/careers. Several positions are available at the Green Valley and Sahuarita locations.
While Costco offers two-day delivery for non-perishable groceries and household items, it currently takes five to six days for delivery on the website.
Delays and reduced availability of pick-up are likely to persist.
Keane asked non-seniors and healthy customers not to shop at Safeways on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. These are the set hours of business for senior citizens and vulnerable shoppers.
Giannonatti urged people to watch their purchases during these times.
“I think what is important is that when people shop, they only get what they need,” she said. “Shop responsibility so we can make sure everyone has access.”