I’m always looking for ways to save more money on groceries. And saving time and avoiding stress in the process is like a perfect trifecta. And that’s just what grocery pickup does for me.
After using Walmart’s service for a few weeks I’m mostly thrilled with it. Here are my pros & cons of grocery pickup.
(I have not been compensated in any way for this post. I strive to share real and honest experiences so you can make the best decisions for your family.)
Pros Of Grocery Pickup
1- Get what you need and only what you need
I fill my cart with the ingredients for my meal plan, then add other food essentials for the week, and I’m done. There’s no standing and gazing at the bad choices in the cookie aisle or dealing with ‘Mommy, can we pleeeeeeaaaase get ice cream?’ Impulse buys are drastically reduced.
And if I’m not sure I need more paprika, I can just get up and check the cupboard before adding it to the virtual cart. Which means over-buying is also reduced.
2- Keep track of your total
As you add items to your ‘cart’ you see the total bill accumulate and you can adjust non-essential items based on how much you want to spend. You’re never surprised by the total when it’s time to pay.
3- Shop your favorites
We have certain products we really love and I want to get them every time. With Walmart’s online grocery ordering you can shop a list of your favorites, which is basically items you’ve purchased before. This saves a ton of time searching through lists of products.
4- Fill your ‘cart’ at your own pace
At the same time that I make my meal plan for the week, I can go ahead and put the ingredients in my virtual cart. And if I get distracted (which never happens when you have kids 😉 ) I can go back and add more later.
I can even add or subtract items after I check out. Adjustments are possible up to a certain number of hours before your pickup time. (That time will be indicated after you checkout.)
5- Take time to get it right
You can see the labels for each product online and you can take all the time you need to read them. At the store, especially with impatient kids in tow, this can be pretty hard. You often race through to get it over with and make easy choices, not necessarily the best choices.
6- Shop the way you want
I personally like to shop the way my brain works, by each meal. I search for the specific ingredients I need for the meals I’m planning, then go back to add additional food items, then non-food items.
You don’t have to get all your fruits at the same time and canned goods at the same time. That requires more coordination. Who has time for that?
Cons Of Grocery Pickup
There are cons to grocery pickup though, including a few things that might be pretty big deterrents for some people.
1- Less control
Someone else is picking out your produce and squeezing your avocados. So you’re giving up that control.
If you’re not happy you can always take it back. But with a service that’s meant to be quicker and easier, taking things back would be frustrating and counter-productive. But so far I haven’t needed to do this. I’ve been pretty happy with everything I’ve gotten.
2- You get what you get, and how many you get
I was a little frustrated to find that in a few cases you can’t just get one tomato or one onion, you have to get them by the pound.
3- No notes
I would love an option to add notes to my order online. I might add a note asking for softer avocados, for example. But sadly there is no place to do this currently. Perhaps this could be a feature added in the future.
I would also definitely add a note asking for my items not to be bagged in plastic, which leads me to my next point…
4- Plastic bags
This is my biggest issue with Walmart’s grocery pickup. I always use reusable shopping bags and was saddened to see everything in plastic bags my first time.
Why do I care? Because…
“Plastic debris is one of the deadliest forms of pollution for thousands of marine animals including sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions, whales, and manatees that are trapped, injured, or killed by discarded plastics, hooks, and fishing line every year.”
“…there are over 150 million tons of plastics in the ocean today. In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”
If you’re interested in using Walmart’s grocery pickup and you don’t want plastic bags, there is something you can do. Demand something else. Which is what I’m working on.
I’ve contacted their customer service imploring them to offer reusable or paper bags as options. Paper bags are not currently an option at Walmart unless you live in a state (California) or city that bans plastic bags.
But after some back and forth with customer service I was assured I can request my groceries not be bagged at all. Which is what I do. When they bring my groceries to my car in bins, I load them into my own reusable bags.
You can request this too. Call your local store where you pickup the groceries to make the request. Then call again before your pickup to remind them.
You can also voice your opinion to customer service on offering paper and other options here.
In the meantime, I hope I’ve offered you enough information to decide whether grocery pickup is right for you, whether it’s through Walmart or any other grocery chain.
Have you tried grocery pickup? How do you feel about plastic bags? I’d love to read all your feedback in the comments below.