just received my first home grocery delivery order from Roche Brothers.
As a very longtime customer of Stop and Shop's Peapod service for --
what: 10, 12 years? -- I found Peapod to be generally adequate
-- not stunning, not fabulous, but adequate. And a lot better than
actually bringing myself to shop in person. So why the switch?
Besides being the publisher and editor of this blog, I'm also the director of the Concord office of Caring Companion Connections
, providing home care to elders and the disabled. One shortcoming about most home care work is that it's difficult to keep stocked all the necessary supplies needed to smoothly run the home and care for the client. We don't allow our companions to handle a client's cash, credit cards or checks, which is fine as long as the client is present when purchases are made. But the logistics involved when the client is unable to come along can be fraught. And besides: if a client is home bound, when an alternative exists to the caregiver leaving them to go shopping, I believe it should be found. Sounds like another natural for home grocery delivery, right?
I need our companions to be able to place grocery orders for delivery via their Blackberries. This makes sense since they all use smartphones to document everything about their visits, with the data going to a secure website that -- with the client's permission -- their family, physician and other caregivers can view, often in real-time. So, if they've just started on the last quart of milk in the refrigerator, they can just whip out their Blackberry, browse on over to Peapod, and put some milk in the client's shopping cart, right?
Wrong. Peapod's website isn't accessible by smartphone, and they say they don't know when or if it will be in the future.
But it turns out that Roche Brothers'
delivery service is accessible via Blackberry (http://www.RocheBros.com
). Their store in Acton is very nice; they have a high quality, broad inventory, so I was happy to try out their delivery service.
A couple of times in the past I tried ordering through Roche's website, but I had found certain aspects so confusing that I finally gave up in despair. However, over time they seem to have made their site more intuitive and I had no problems whatsoever this time. (To set up my next order, I will use only the Blackberry; I used lap- and desktop computers for this first one.)
So, what's the bottom line with this service? I found the variety of Roche's offerings to be better than Peapod's. Another plus: Roche's order came in a very few, large, good-quality, unmarked, thoughtfully-packed, clear plastic bags. Peapod always sent my order in far too many small plastic grocery bags -- sometimes each containing just one item
, which is just too wasteful by half. Roche has just one delivery price, however, the same as Peapod's under-$100 fee. But between their stated no-tipping policy, and lower prices than Peapod on many items, I think it more than evened things out in Roche's favor.
Everything arrived in good condition; the only missing items were out-of-stock. Neither service has a way to figure out what will be out of stock in advance so something else can be ordered instead, though both allow the customer to open the door for a substitute item to be sent (something I don't trust to an anonymous shopper's choice, thank you).
In the final analysis, I'd use either Peapod or Roche Brothers, with the leading advantage at the moment going to Roche.