I was one of AmazonFresh’s earliest adopters. I watched impatiently as they rolled out the service in Seattle, waiting for them to come this far south. I couldn’t have been more excited when the announcement finally came that those of us in the suburbs would finally have access to the same home delivery our city-dwelling neighbors enjoyed.
AmazonFresh in Seattle – A Look at the Service Deterioration
For the first few years, we ordered twice a week. They carried a lot of vegetarian and organic food we couldn’t get out here. Sure, it was more expensive for the most part, you couldn’t use coupons, and they never had sales, but the groceries arrived on my doorstep before dawn, and they’re the ones who lugged them up the steps, not me. I shopped from home, sometimes as late as 11 pm, and my groceries were in by 6 am. It was heaven.
I was so enamoured by the service that I used AmazonFresh to replace my laptop when it died at 10 pm. Sure, there were only about four laptops to choose from, not a huge selection, and the prices were steep, but I’d have no downtime during the busiest season of the year, so it was worth the extra expense. Over the years, I’ve purchased many expensive business items this way spending thousands every year through AmazonFresh.
Then about two years ago the organic products that I loved started disappearing from their virtual store shelves, so I started ordering less often. Instead of twice a week, we were now ordering once or twice a month. Still ordering the things we couldn’t get out here, but our orders went from $100+ several times a week to just barely meeting the minimum at $100 once or twice a month.
Shortly after it became almost impossible to get a delivery date that wasn’t two days out and more and more items required delayed deliveries (add just one of these items to your cart and you have to decide – delay the entire order or forego that item). Then orders started arriving with missing items that had sold out even though they’d been shown in stock and ordered. Of course, it was always the one ingredient I needed to complete the recipe I’d shopped for. And yes, they were offering access to more restaurant food downtown, but that change of focus meant slower service as well.
Even with all of these new changes in service I still used them on occasion, but because they’re more expensive, only when necessary. So imagine my surprise when I went to place an order with them today so they’d pick up the mountain of reusable delivery bags and boxes we have here only to find out that AmazonFresh is gone and replaced by Prime Fresh. Of course, they don’t tell you about the $299 until you’re ready to checkout, so I wasted an hour shopping. Though the prices appear to be the same and still inflated from my local grocery store, they’ve now tacked on a $299 a year membership. Sure, it includes an Amazon Prime membership which is currently $99, so that means it’s $200 for the privilege of home delivery groceries from Amazon, and that’s a price I’m not willing to pay, especially since the selection and service have gotten poorer. There is a free 30-day membership, I opted not to try it out. We’ll dispose of these bags and boxes some other way.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Amazon Prime Membership, and I use it several times a week and sometimes even several times a day. It’s a rare occasion when a package from Amazon (or 5) isn’t on my porch or in my mailbox. I just don’t see any added value for the extra $200 for Amazon Prime Fresh, and I can barely get next day delivery, I highly doubt they’ll ever deliver on their promise of same day delivery here.
Home Grocery Alternatives to AmazonFresh
Thankfully there is still Safeway home delivery which charges $9.95 a delivery in my area but they have discounts, store coupons, sales, member buys, and more. There are few other choices for home delivery as well. Google Express will deliver non-refrigerated or frozen items for $95 a year or $10 a month, and Instacart Express provides free delivery on orders over $35 or for a fee for non-members. It uses personal shoppers to purchase and deliver your groceries. Unfortunately, neither of these options are currently available in my area, but perhaps this is their chance to get a foothold into the areas once held strong by AmazonFresh.
What’s Next for Me?
I guess I’ll just have to start going to the grocery store again. It’s harder than it sounds. I have a neurological condition that makes it difficult and a shopping trip can wipe me out for the rest of the day. So much for technology saving us money. I don’t mind paying a premium for a service, but I was already paying for it with higher prices, not being able to use coupons, and tipping the driver. Adding a $200 a year service fee on top of that is just nonsense.
Will you be converting to Prime Fresh?