Grocery shopping with two kids is no joke. Actually, neither was shopping with one. I probably went grocery shopping with both kiddies once before I decided- never again. And that was just a mid-week quick trip. But with John in the cart and Felicity strapped to my chest, I was exhausted before I even made it to the cereal aisle.
Going grocery shopping with John isn’t impossible, but it’s not exactly fun. I just prayed that by the time I ran through his toys, snack, water, and the free banana, I would be checking out. Preferably with a cashier who offered stickers. John liked his special Mama-John time, and I didn’t think I really had a choice. We needed to eat, obviously.
And then I learned about Walmart Grocery Pick-Up. At first I thought that it was too good to be true. I mean, you place your order online, and they bring it to your car? And you don’t need to get out? And it’s free? That’s just WAY too good of a deal.
After a few weeks of debating, I decided to give it a shot. I figured, how awful can it be? Even if I had to run out for meat and fruit later in the week, it would still be worth the time saved on Saturday mornings, right?
I was more than right. Now I place a grocery order to be picked up every Saturday morning, complete with meat and fruit. We’ve been doing this a few months now, and I’m convinced that I’m never going back. Still on the fence? Let me walk you through all the pros and cons of Walmart’s Grocery Pick-Up service.
1.) You save time. Grocery shopping with my son used to take about an hour, from the moment we walked out the door to the moment that we walked back in with our groceries. I tried really hard to make sure that I picked up every item on my list, but I’d estimate that I needed a second filler trip at least once a month, adding another thirty minutes to my grocery shopping time. Now that we use Walmart Grocery Pick-Up, the time seems to vary more, but I’d say that we spend less time overall now. My best time is currently twenty minutes- sixteen minutes driving both ways and four minutes loading groceries. Usually, I would say it takes me about forty-five minutes to pick up our weekly groceries, from start to finish. And I probably need a filler trip once every couple of months, thanks to the app’s handy list of favorites.
2.) You save money. By my best guess, I save anywhere from $10 to $40 on groceries per week. I imagine that this is for two reasons. First, Walmart carries more store-brand items than your typical grocery store- stocking everything from meats to toilet paper to whole wheat bread. Unless I have a really good reason not to, I will opt for the store-brand over name-brand. Nine times out of ten, the taste and/or quality of the item is not enough to convince me to choose the name-brand variety. In addition, since I make my grocery list ahead of time, it’s hard to be tempted by unnecessary purchases. I scroll through my favorites first, and then add in extra items from my running grocery list, as well as items specifically needed for the week’s dinners (I also plan our entire week’s dinners ahead of time- thanks Mom!). When I’m done with all that, I send in my order, and that’s the end of it. No end-of-aisle displays. No boxes of cheaply priced candy. No last-minute purchases from the check-out lane. You save so much money when you can’t be tempted by all that chocolate and candy in the check-out lane.
3.) You don’t lose on quality. I was really skeptical about this at first. I assumed that Walmart meat and fruit couldn’t possibly compare with produce from the grocery store. I was wrong. Thankfully, I was willing to take a risk. Now, I only run to the grocery store every other month or so to stock up on random items not carried by our local Walmart.
4.) Sometimes you’ll get free stuff. I’m not sure if I should feel guilty about this, but I figure it’s a nice exchange for the times that Walmart makes inconvenient mistakes with my order. Every so often, I’ll find that I got double of an item. More often, the amount of produce that I’ve been given exceeds the amount that I paid. I imagine this is because not everyone who prepares my orders knows how they’re supposed to handle the produce portion. I did call the first time that this happened, and customer service was quick to assure me that I did not need to return the extra items. So I just consider it a nice little bonus.
5.) Walmart is quick to correct their mistakes. The workers preparing my orders are human, and inevitably they make mistakes from time to time. Since I don’t gather the groceries, transport them to my car, or load them, I can’t take the blame when things go wrong. I used to forget items all the time during my grocery shopping trips. Once I even left a bag behind. Now it’s someone else who is responsible, and sometimes they make mistakes, just like I did. Fortunately, with a quick phone call, Walmart customer service will correct the total to reflect the missing items, or will have the item ready for you to pick up at your local Walmart, depending on your preference.
6.) You don’t have to get out of your car, unless you want to help. Need I say more?
7.) Sometimes you get free stuff. Recently, I got a little gift bag with trial-sized cleaning supplies. I was able to try Tide pods and dishwasher pods without having to commit to an entire pack. And who doesn’t like free stuff?!
1.) Walmart does make mistakes every once in a while. I’ve been using Walmart Grocery Pick-Up since September, and I’ve had to call about missing items twice in that time. I figure that’s a pretty good record, especially compared to mine. Once, it was missing chicken, which really threw a wrench in our weekly dinner plans, but they had the chicken ready for me to pick up when I returned later in the week, no extra charge. The second time, it was an entire bag that was missing, but I didn’t need any of the items right away, so Walmart just adjusted my total, and I added them to my next pick-up. Frustrating, but their track record definitely beats mine.
2.) Sometimes your order gets delayed. Twice this past winter, I was informed that my order would be late for pick-up. On the plus side, they did notify me. I would have been ticked if I had made it all the way to Walmart and then learned that my order wasn’t ready. Both times, there was snow involved, though I can’t say for sure that this had anything to do with the delay. One of those delays only lasted an hour. The other one lasted about four, and it royally screwed up all our plans for the day (but so did the snow). In both of those cases, the delay meant that my husband had to make the trip to Walmart, and in both cases, he had to wait nearly an hour for our groceries. If there’s one thing I’d love to bring up at Walmart headquarters, it’s this: I wish they handled their delays differently. I get that there might be delays sometimes, especially when bad weather is involved, but it’s annoying when you tell me that my groceries are ready for pick-up, when they’re clearly not. I would have rather spent that hour at home, thank you very much.
3.) Sometimes you do have to wait. I’ve never had to wait in line for a spot, though my husband did both times when he went to pick up groceries. I have sat in my spot for about twenty minutes, waiting for someone to deliver my groceries to my car. But even on the rare occasions like that, I still spend less time overall getting my groceries for the week. And I’d rather sit in my car for twenty minutes than stand in line at the supermarket.
As far as disadvantages go, I really do think that’s it. As you can imagine, my husband and I have very different opinions on the value of Walmart Grocery Pick-Up, but I maintain that he can’t make a judgment based on the two bad experiences he had when I’ve had dozens of good ones. It’s just unfortunate that he only ever picks up the groceries when things have gone wrong. Once I started using the pick-up app, I knew that I would never go back. The pros completely outweigh the cons, at least in my opinion. I love the extra time I have, and of course we love the money we’re saving on groceries, and John really enjoys chatting with the Walmart workers who come out to load up my car. As far as I can tell, everyone wins!
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!