For a few years now we’ve been using some of the online grocery stores offered by supermarkets. Not having a car means that it’s a major hassle to get all the shopping home, so the delivery services looked really useful, especially for heavy items.
Of those services, we’ve been using the Tesco service the longest, but now use it very rarely, if at all. Sainsbury has also recently fallen from favour too. Why have we stopped using them? Because they suck , big time.
Every single time, the items ordered are not available. Is it that difficult to manage stock levels? I’d have thought that the level of automation in supermarkets now would mean that they would have a constantly updating database of what stock they have. The tills are electronic and use barcodes to identify items, and they surely use the info from these to know when to re-order? So why can’t they give some indication during the order process that an item is unavailable or low in stock?
The other major irritation is the substitution system the stores use. These can only be operated by practical jokers. What other explanation can there be for some of the bizarre replacement items they come up with? “Let’s replace ‘2 cooked chicken breasts’ with ‘8 uncooked chicken drumsticks’, they both have the word ‘chicken’ in them.”
On top of all that, you have the late deliveries, the increased delivery charges if you want a delivery outside office hours, and the way they palm you off with goods with a “Best Before” date of the day of the delivery, or even earlier in some cases!
The Sainsbury deliveries to our flat in Brixton don’t come from our local store on Clapham High Street. They come from Sydenham.
It was refreshing then when Ocado started delivering to our area, even though the nearest store is probably on Kings Road in Chelsea. They deliver what you ask for. And if for some reason, they don’t have an item in stock, they’ll make a substitution, usually a very close item, and even better, they won’t charge you for it. They do charge slightly more for some goods, but delivery is free if you order over a certain amount (Â£60, I think).
We gave both Tesco and Sainsbury a few more goes to see if the service improved, and each time they surpassed themselves with up to a quarter of ordered items being unavailable.
Maybe it’s just out local delivery centres that are at fault, and that other people get great service, but from what I’ve read they seem to have a problem managing their stock levels in most of their stores.
Ocado really are as good as their adverts imply, and the slightly higher cost is outweighed by the lack of hassle involved with their service.