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Shopping bore no longer a chore
Member Name: historywitch
Advantages: Easy, quick after the first few shops, cheaper, less stressful
Disadvantages: You dont get the food immediately!
At the end of July my five year old came down with chicken pox and we were confined to the house for ten days. This handily co-incided with my husband going away on a business trip. As he skipped out of the door, leaving me surrounded by whingy, spotty, grumpy children and with empty cupboards he cheerfully suggested I try out online grocery shopping. As my 10 month old then started showing signs of coming down with the pox I switched on the computer, distracted the children with Cbeebies and investigated the possibilities.
The first website I used was WaitroseDeliver (yes I know this is a review about Sainsburys but be patient!), and it was fantastic. Short delivery slots, helpful staff, high quality food, freebies and general loveliness; however the bill wasn't (about £20 more than I usually spend) so I tried Asda next. Asda had very long delivery slots which were totally inconvenient, the food was not nice and mostly shortdated, plus the delivery driver was very surly. Cheap but not worth it, so I tried Sainsbury's next.
Registering is very easy and took about five minutes. After a quick check to see if they delivered in my area I was in and ready to go. Delivery slots are an hour long starting at 9-10am and ending at 10-11pm. You can book up to 11pm before the day you want it delivered and looking on the site now there is still a slot for tomorrow evening available. Delivery costs £6 for deliveries under £40 (and over £10) but as soon as you go over £40 it reduces and over £100 is free delivery. The reduction in delivery fee depends on the day, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays it goes down to £3.50, Monday and Thursday is £4.50 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday it is £5.50. You can book deliveries up to three weeks ahead. Once you have chosen a delivery slot you have three hours to checkout before you lose your slot.
Your chosen slot, billing address and current delivery charge all show up above your basket on your shopping page, plus how long you have until you lose the slot. The basket underneath lists out all of your items with the subtotal underneath, you can adjust the numbers of things by pressing the plus/minus buttons next to each item, or you can delete the item from your basket totally. At first I found the whole process utterly time consuming, searching for all the items that I needed and using the Shopping List function. Here you type in all the things you want to buy e.g. milk, biscuits, wine and get it to search the website for you. You can also search by using the Groceries tab at the top and then search by aisle. Having shopped with Sainsburys for a couple of months now, I simply choose Usuals and then by List and it shows everything I have bought in the past. I just go down the list and add the things I want this week to the basket. You can also choose Usuals by Aisle or just one particular past order. Once I have added everything I want, an easy process that takes less than ten minutes, I use the search box for any extras before proceeding to the Great Offers Tab. All the current special offers are displayed, so no searching around the shop for the best deal, its all clearly laid out. Sometimes I stockpile some of the better offers but it is so much easier than reading all the little shelf tags. When I am out of inspiration for meals I do have a little look at the Recipes and Ideas tabs which list yummy things you can make with Sainsbury's ingredients. It features many of the recipes found on the free recipe cards, plus many more which have been rated by other users. You can save the recipes to look at later and also can add all the ingredients to your shopping trolley with one click of the button. I particularly like the hummous recipe.
Even with stockpiling etc I worked out I am spending at least £20 less per shop than I was when I was visiting the supermarket every week. No impulse buys or added items bought because I was hungry. No children pestering me for things they see on the shelves and no petrol to get there. Also as Sainsbury's list all the prices by item and by weight I can see at a glance which is the best value for money deal and can delete things from my basket without having to return them to the shelves. Once a week I sit down with my list, meal planner and recipe books and spend less than 30 minutes ordering the shop to be delivered at a time to suit me. I have had my shopping delivered late at night and early in the morning and love it!
I have heard lots of funny stories about the substitutions made my supermarkets when your original items are not available, but this hasnt been the case so far with Sainsburys. I have had only ten substitutions in the 6 deliveries I have had from Sainsburys and they have all been common sense ones I have been happy to accept e.g. Cod fillets for Pollock, two boxes of six eggs instead of one box of twelve etc. Any thing you are not happy with will be taken away by the driver and your account credited. All my deliveries have arrived on time, with polite and helpful drivers who take away the bags from previous deliveries. With the one hour delivery slot you are not waiting around in the house for ages and the whole process is painless. On a couple of occasions I have wanted to add more things to the list after I have checked out; Sainsbury's let you amend your order up until 11pm the night before your order is delivered, which has saved my bacon several times when we have run out of something crucial. The fresh produce has not been waitrose quality or variety but looks and tastes good, as well as lasting very well. I always assume its a middle aged lady packing my Sainsbury order (dont know why!) as I get a wide range of sell by dates that last the week, whereas with Asda everything went off in the first three days. The final cherry on the cake is that I can collect my Nectar points online as well, by registering the card on the site or using the new Nectar search bar. Super.
I can't believe I dragged two reluctant and whingy children around the supermarket for so long. For the twenty days we were confined to the house we had a constant supply of fresh healthy food and weren't reliant on someone else's kindness! After the children got better I have continued to shop with Sainsburys and am enjoying my extra free time. Unless Sainsbury's change significantly I will be shopping with them for the conceivable future.
Summary: God bless technology for making online shopping possible!