Daily Archives: 2017/08/04

Prayers answered! Finally! An excellent shopping and home delivery service: Instacart

Special Report and Review by Jim Lantern in Norman Oklahoma USA

LANTERN TIMEGLASS JOURNAL

Friday afternoon – 4 August 2017

“Instacart is an American company that operates as a same-day grocery delivery service. Customers select groceries through a web application from various retailers and delivered by a personal shopper. As of 2017, Instacart only has operations and services in the United States. Instacart was started by Apoorva Mehta, a former Amazon employe. The company launched its service in San Francisco, Mountain View and Palo Alto.” – Excerpted from Wikipedia. [The rest of the article and information there is not up to date.]

The Homeland grocery stores website https://www.homelandstores.com/ has an ad and link to the Instacart launch page https://www.homelandstores.com/online-shopping/ and from “Start Shopping” link takes you to a Instacart sign-up page and to check for service in your area (zip code). The Instacart website https://www.instacart.com/ will provide instructions for how to proceed.

Apparently, Instacart is not limited to Homeland, but that’s the store in my area with the Instacart service. I live in Norman Oklahoma near West Lindsey and 24th SW just east of I-35 at Lindsey. There’s a Braums about a block west of my home, where I buy a few grocery items each month. There’s a Dollar General a short walk south of my home, where I buy some groceries, most of my general supplies, and most of my nonprescription meds. I rarely visit the Aldi store near Main and 24th – it depends on anything of interest in their ads I get in the US mail each week. There’s a Walmart – the west side location next to I-35 northeast of Aldi, where I get some groceries, some general supplies, some nonprescription meds, most of my clothing and other needs, one visit each month. The Homeland location I shop at, where I’ve been purchasing most of my groceries and have been visiting each week or every other week, is a few blocks east of my home at West Lindsey and McGee. I get Homeland ads in US mail each week. West Lindsey is presently being widened and a new storm drainage system installed, to be completed in November 2017.

Now at age 61 – born 5 March 1956, and on Social Security disability, I’ve become a bit isolated – no one I can regularly count on to help me get all needed shopping done when I’m unable to do all of it myself. However, to give credit for credit due, when I’ve been extremely ill, my landlady has picked up a few things for me when out shopping and delivered them to me. No car, I’ve been using a bicycle with front and back baskets. Recently, I bought a dolly cart from Amazon, and have used it to bring purchases home from Dollar General and Homeland. The bicycle gave me some freedom to go where I want and when I want to go. I’ve rarely used the city bus system, and not since moving from the east side of Norman to the west side in November 2015. I’ve only used taxicab service in Norman a couple of times since moving here in May 2008, and now the service is bad with 2 to 3 hours waiting times. The is a small fee service to give rides to people with disabilities for shopping at Walmart on Wednesdays, but I’ve not tried it.

I’ve been thinking about obtaining one of those small electric carts I can ride on and has a basket to carry purchases. If doctor-approved, then Medicare will pay for most of the cost. Problem is, many doctors here in Norman are no longer accepting Medicare and especially Medicaid. I’ve not yet found a new doctor willing to accept me as a patient covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Meantime, I’ve been surviving on old home remedies. The hospital here has been seeking legal approval to turn away people covered by Medicare and Medicaid, so going to the ER would no longer be an option.

Recently, my health has become worse to include a hernia in my groin. It is classified as “elective” – not yet bad enough to be classified as an “emergency” covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Other health problems have made it increasingly difficult for me to go to any store, do shopping, and return home. So I’ve been praying for a service to do the shopping for me and deliver it to my door. I have a few times in the past used the Omaha Steaks website http://www.omahasteaks.com/shop/ to place an order and have it shipped to my door. Prayers answered ! I saw the ad for Homeland home delivery via Instacart. Perhaps in some ways comparable to Meals on Wheels http://www.mealsonwheelsnorman.com/ but I’ve not tried them yet.

When I found out about Homeland doing home delivers, it was last month after I’d already made all needed purchases for July, so I planned to try it on “payday” August 3rd for this month.

At this time, Instacart is not set up to accept EBT SNAP food stamps. The food stamps I receive each month are only enough to cover about one quarter to one third of my food purchases. Most of the food stamps I spend on milk – using it to help reduce pain and heal stomach ulcers – I go through a gallon every 3 days, usually purchased with the EBT card at the nearby Dollar General.

I went to the Homeland website, then clicked on the links to get me to the Instacart website for shopping at Homeland. It lists a complete inventory. Select an item to purchase, set quantity, send to shopping cart. and then check out. I had to use the search box to find the Boost nutritional drink 6-packs I’ve been buying in the pharmacy area of Homeland. Check out included paying for everything with my VISA debit card, and scheduling delivery. The service charge mainly depends on how much is purchased, how soon and when the delivery is to be made. I ordered $96.36 – what I would have paid in person at the store, plus $8.43 tax, and for this order a $9.64 service charge. I also tipped the personal shopper who delivered it $9.64 – 10% – even though she deserved 20% for doing such an excellent job – 10% is all I could afford. Tips are handled separate when rating the service at a review page after the delivery is completed.

I spent about a half hour exploring the inventory and making my selections. Delivery was offered to be within 1 to 2 hours. I got notice via cell phone text message when “Kimberly” began shopping for me, and then when she was about to make the delivery. I placed the order at about 11:28am and she delivered it at about 12:46pm.

From now on I will use Instacart for about $100 in food purchases on or about the 3rd of every month.

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