Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Amazon Fresh review

Since we covered the arrival of Amazon Fresh delivery in Shoreline here on the blog, I thought I'd try it out and let you know how it works. That, and the idea of having food delivered to your doorstep is magical in the way it only can be to someone who grew up after the era of glass-bottled milk and before Kozmo.com and Webvan.com had their brief moments of glory.

It's easy enough to shop on Amazon Fresh; like the main site, it anticipates, for example, that when you type "ground" you may well be looking for "ground beef." I decided to order about half our normal amount of groceries for this test, and included a variety of products, like toothpaste, half-and-half, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, onions, avocados, yogurt and of course, ground beef. The minimum order is $30, and delivery costs $5, though after you've added $75 worth of products to your cart, delivery is free.

I didn't include any beer or wine, because you must be home to show ID, naturally; I wanted to try the "pre-dawn delivery" option because I was a bit enchanted by the idea of grocery elves visiting in the middle of the night.

And they did. Here's what was on our porch in the morning:

I had wondered if the delivery would be truly silent, or whether our very keen-eared dog would wake up and bark. Apparently the elves wear padded slippers, because none of us heard them arrive.

The containers are very large, which might not be apparent in the photos. There were three, and items were separated between them by the amount of coldness needed; one was insulated and included packs of dry ice, one was just packed with frozen ice packs, and one was simply empty except for a few items. It seemed like a lot of packaging, but of course these things are re-used over and over. The items inside came in thin plastic baggies within their containers.

Everything we received was as expected; the broccoli was fresh and firm, the strawberries, blueberries and blackberries were as good as what I'd have chosen myself at the store (and getting a package of strawberries with no bad ones is actually sort of rare, so that was a nice surprise).

Bridget the cat personally approved the tomatoes.

I should note that I placed this grocery order at 8:00 the evening before, and it came sometime before 6:00 this morning.

Overall, we're pretty pleased with this new shopping option; it's not always easy to get to the store after work, but you could certainly place an order during the day and have it arrive that evening or over night. Another plus was that I found myself much less tempted to impulse-buy. I knew what I needed, and wasn't tempted by the goodies you find while wandering around a store. Prices were about the same for most products, lower for some, higher for others; one negative feature is that by not wandering around a store, you don't see items on sale that you might want to stock up on. There is a sale section, but I didn't see much of interest there.

Another not-so-great thing is the size of the delivery containers. I had to stack ours on the back porch for now. You can request that Amazon come to pick them up right away, though, or just swap them out the next time you order.

Have you tried Amazon's delivery service now that they're available here? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. That's awesome! Thanks for the review - I'm forwarding the link to my wife now!

  2. I love Amazon Fresh. I have pet ducks and I'm always running out of lettuce, peas and corn for them. Amazon Fresh brings it to my door by morning so I can feed it to them that day. Convenience makes up for slightly higher price.

  3. I tried them out, and was pleased. They did a great job with the various berries I bought. Only one complaint: the mixed greens salad they sent was definitely past its prime. When I wrote to them about that, they immediately refunded the cost and sent a very nice e-mail.

    It's not as interesting as shopping at Central Market, but at times when I know it's going to be a real pain to get to the store I'll order from them again.

  4. So what did you do with your containers, Sara? We still have ours; haven't re-ordered yet and now we're wondering just how long we can keep them before someone bills us for them.

  5. Really nice review!!! I never tried Amazon's delivery service. I heard Amazon really work well.

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