One of my New Year resolutions was to optimize the way I use my time, and as a part of this, not to hesitate to spend money when it saves time. Specifically, I decided to use home delivery more.
I was always very reluctant to let somebody else choose my produce. When I lived in Palatine and would drive my car, it just didn’t make sense – it was faster to drive to the store and get all I needed than spend time looking for the products online. Now the situation is different. Almost till the end of the year, I could bike to the stores. Then, it was not a waste of time, but exercising. But after the snow settled on the ground, the situation changed, and I decided to try something new.
First, I finally gave in to Amazon Fresh. I was surprised to see that 1) the prices were competitive 2) I could purchase some produce I didn’t see in the stores for a long time, such as non-fat siggis and skyr. My first try (a week before I left for Helsinki) was a success. Encouraged by it, I decided to pre-order some food for the evening I would be back. It looked like a great solution. My plane was scheduled to arrive at 6 PM, and it would be close to 8 when I would get home, so most of the stores would be closed. I ordered lots of fruits and dairy for the 8 PM -10 PM delivery window. At about 8-40, I received a notification that my order was out for delivery and that all items were available. Then I received a message that “my stop is next” and started to listen to the buzzer. And then, to my dismay, I saw another message: sorry, your order could not be delivered.
What’s going on?! I was so mad; you can’t even imagine! It was just there; why could it not be delivered?! It’s not like it was too much snow on the street. I mean, it was some snow, but the Uber driver just dropped me off!
I started a chat with Amazon customer service and asked what happened. The rep looked into the details and told me that the driver must have accidentally dropped my bags with somebody else because when he reached my house, he realized that my bags were not in the car! Can you believe it?!
Also, it was Saturday night, and they told me they couldn’t reschedule this order for the next day; the first available time was on Monday morning. I said: no thanks and went to the brick-and-mortar store on Sunday. I still didn’t find all I needed at the closest store, and not being so mad decided to give it another chance. I’ve ordered what was missing for Monday. Some produce ended up not being available, but the funny story is that I was not charged extra for having less than a minimal free delivery order.
My other experience was with Devon Market – our local “fresh” store (similar to Eurofresh in Palatine and other “fresh” in Chicago suburbs), with tons of international products, bargain-priced fresh produce, freshly baked bread, and other similarly attractive features. The only bad thing about this store is that it’s located very inconveniently – too far to walk for me, and not close enough to the CTA. With Devon Market, the only way to get there and carry the groceries away is by biking or ubering. Online shopping is available, but finding the specific products I am interested in is not easy. Besides, there is always a “minimal order” and so on.
Last week, my big step was that I finally decided that if I already pay $200 a year for Amazon Prime, I can support a local store by signing for a year of unlimited deliveries with no additional fees. My first experience was great – they delivered within two hours. However, a shopper could not find a European farm cheese which was my primary interest. Actually, it looks like this particular kind was not there this day, but she could not find a replacement. I knew that these farmers’ cheeses could be found in two separate places in the store (on the opposite sides :)), but I could not explain it to her. I will try again. Otherwise, the quality of produce she picked was really good, and I am happy with this experience. One of the breads was not in the store yet when she was picking my basket, but she saw it delivered to the store last-minute and put it in (and I ended up not paying for it :))
And one more funny experience with Amazon. Since I used up all my at-home covid tests before the trip (I had only one left), I decided to subscribe for a monthly delivery on Amazon, three test kits in each delivery. Like several others, this package was delivered while I was still in Helsinki, and I didn’t open it right away. When I opened it, I found only two kits there, but then I thought that probably I forgot and I indeed signed up for two. I didn’t check it for another couple of days, but I saw that there were indeed two when I checked. I contacted Amazon support again :), and explained the situation. They asked me to file a short inquiry online (after all, that’s a commodity of limited supply), and in a couple of hours – you won’t believe what they did – they reimbursed me for the price of all three kits!
That’s what happens when you have a bad database design! You can’t split an item in order!