Hi there. I know, I know, I haven’t blogged in forever and you probably thought I was gone for good. Well, I had an idea for a post about grocery delivery and when I asked about it on Twitter the response was, yes! Write it!
Would it be weird to revive my blog just to write one post about my thoughts on Jewel grocery delivery vs Mariano’s grocery delivery?
— Erin Vandenberg (@looplooks) August 1, 2018
So, here I am! I had some bad luck with cars earlier this year and one of those instances left us with just Jason’s low slung sports car, an alley filled with snow, and no way to get to the grocery store. And while, yes, I could have just ordered pizza or sushi or a million other things you can get delivered in Chicago, I decided to use the opportunity to try out the Jewel-Osco grocery delivery I’d been hearing about.
And now, more recently, I’ve been trying the Mariano’s delivery.
When I first used this, I was AMAZED. You create an account, you shop for food just like you would any other thing online, you pick a delivery time, and VOILA, your groceries show up! The delivery guy will even bring them into your kitchen for you and they don’t accept tips.
You can also tell them if it’s okay to substitute an item with something of the same brand but different size or same size but different brand and you can put comments on each item if you want.
Delivery is super cheap (usually under $7) and it’s free if you order over $30 and choose a four hour delivery window.
When they deliver your groceries they bring an itemized receipt and go over any substitutions or out of stock items with you. And, yes, you can purchase alcohol this way. You just have to show your ID to the delivery driver.
For most deliveries Jewel uses their own shopping and delivery staff. However, I’ve found that this lead to some inconsistencies, especially when it came to produce.
For example, I ordered a pound of brussels sprouts but the shopper filled up the bag and delivered almost 5 pounds! Another time I ordered 4 tomatoes and got 4 pounds! Allegedly they will refund you the difference if you call them, but my friends and I have had differing experiences with this.
Jewel brings your groceries in the disposal plastic bags that are allegedly banned in Chicago. I don’t know how they get around that. I find this annoying and wish they would bring them in paper.
Also, you don’t know if something is out of stock until the delivery comes and they don’t carry the type of ice cream sandwiches or steak that my husband likes. Mostly for this second reason I decided to try Mariano’s.
Mariano’s delivery is powered by Instacart. I know that Jewel has a two hour or less delivery option also powered by Instacart but I haven’t tried it. Mariano’s only has Instacart.
The main differences? Mariano’s has a mobile app in addition to their website that you can use to make your grocery list. You can also create favorites and save lists in the app. With Jewel you can see your past orders, but you can’t create shortcuts like that.
Another difference is that Instacart allows you to enter a tip for the driver. They auto-calculate it based on your order but you can override it if you want.
Mariano’s offers one hour delivery windows and delivery is always $9.95. The first time I saw that I was shocked since Jewel’s delivery fees are so low comparatively. However, I logged into Jewel, filled my cart with the same or equivalent items, and found out that even with the higher delivery cost Mariano’s was cheaper. Crazy, right?
You get a text when the shopper begins shopping and they also text you if something is out of stock and they make a substitution. Apparently you can decline a substitution but I’ve never done it so I don’t know what happens then. I prefer that they let you know in advance. And so far I haven’t had anything be so out of stock that they couldn’t find something to sub it with.
They also text you when they are on their way for the delivery. I like this feature.
If only they came in this cute little truck!
However, when they drop off the groceries they just hand them to you and leave. I assume this is because they’ve already texted you about what they substituted or what was out of stock. They don’t go over the receipt, though. And because they may substitute items that are slightly different in price or may not be able to the exact poundage of produce or meat that you ordered your receipt might not match the online estimate exactly.
Jason dislikes that they don’t go over the receipt with you. I don’t mind. Honestly, grocery delivery is a sanity saver for me so having to review an email after the fact is better than trying to find the time to actually go to the grocery store some weeks.
Oh, also, Mariano’s brings the groceries in paper bags which is perfect for us! We can use them to take recycling out to the bin in our alley.
So far I love grocery delivery no matter who I get it from. However, there are some downsides. The biggest one is that you can’t use coupons. If the item is on sale at the store, great! But otherwise you’re stuck with the regular price.
Also, if you’re a fan of Ibotta you can’t currently use this with grocery delivery, either.
Finally, it’s not always clear on either site how much of something you’re ordering when it comes to produce or meat. Am I ordering one shallot or one pound of shallots? I’ve started putting in comments and so far that helps with Mariano’s, at least.
Although Jason prefers the itemized receipt from Jewel, I prefer the prices, options and, so far, the better shoppers at Mariano’s. The Mariano’s/Instacart interface is a little easier to use, too.
In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter which one I use. I LOVE grocery delivery. I love being able to build my list throughout the week and have it delivered when I need it. It saves me from dreading a post-weekend trip grocery run. It saves me time if I need to get groceries during the week. And it keeps both of us from impulse shopping!
If you have grocery delivery in your area and haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for?