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Battle of the Online Grocers: Peapod versus Safeway.com
Comments () | Published November 1, 2005

November 2005

With the launch of Safeway's online-shopping and delivery service, Giant's Peapod.com is not the only game in town when you're too tired or too busy to push a cart up and down the aisles. Can you trust either to do the shopping for you?

We ordered the same 12 items from each--including eggs, steak, lettuce, fruit, milk, and ice cream--and had them delivered the same Saturday to see how the services compared in promptness, freshness, reliability, and quality. Prices were comparable.

PEAPOD.COM   

Ordering: Navigating via Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Apple's Safari browser was no problem. There's no personal-shopper feature to customize orders, although distinctions are occasionally made between "ripe" and "regular" fruits and veggies. Minimum order $50; delivery fee $9.95 or $6.95 for orders over $100.   

Delivery: Delivery window designated: 9 to 11 AM. Groceries showed up at 10:14. Delivery man courteous. Tips accepted.   

Food: Our "ripe" avocado wasn't; ditto the mango and peach. The tomato, at least, was ripe. "Thin-sliced" deli ham slices were thicker than we'd prefer, while the steak was thinner than we like. Nicest touch: a bubble-wrapped carton of eggs.   

Verdict: For most vegetables and most other nonperishables, sure. But we're dubious about ordering fruit, and we'd just as soon get our meats elsewhere.

SAFEWAY.COM   

Ordering: We had problems navigating Safeway.com with Safari. Internet Explorer and Firefox were fine. Delivery available only in select Zip codes. Minimum order $50; delivery fee $9.95 or $4.95 for orders over $150.   

Delivery: Delivery window designated: 10 to noon. Delivery man called at 11:54 to say groceries would arrive in 5 to 10 minutes. They arrived at 12:10. Delivery men were courteous. No tipping allowed.   

Food: The "request to your personal shopper" feature turned out to be a partial success: Though the meats arrived as ordered, the avocado was rock hard. Most other fruits were days from ripeness. Lettuce, meanwhile, was brown-edged, and the Italian parsley was so funky that most of it had to be thrown out.   

Verdict: Though we love the no-tipping policy and chance at customization, we wouldn't order fruits, vegetables, or herbs. But we might consider putting in an order of steaks and deli meats.

Categories:

Food & Drink
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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 11/01/2005 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles