REVIEW: Social Distancing and the Amazon Online Shopping (Whole Foods) Experience – Partial Fail

  • Due to high demand, it takes three days to get groceries delivered.
  • Readily available customer service, but poor order shopper.
  • More is needed to achieve social distancing.

Coronavirus has been on every news channel and every online outlet, as many US States are under voluntary 14 days self quarantine and shelter in place orders.

The major developments around the Globe related to coronavirus:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day shutdown would begin March 25th extending restrictions to the entire nation of more than 1.3 billion.
  • The Tokyo Summer  Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
  • The rate of infection in New York is doubling every three days, with confirmed cases topping 25,000. More than 50,000 cases have been confirmed nationwide.
  • The number of confirmed cases around the world passed 400,000, suggesting that the global pace of infection continues to increase. Italy reported 743 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 6,820. France became the fifth country to mark more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths.

During such trying times many are resorting to online shopping and grocery delivery services. Recently, I posted a review of Instacart grocery delivery (or lack there of).

Since that experience (when I did not receive my delivery of groceries ordered through Instacart), I have opted to order through the Amazon website and get Whole Foods. The ordering online was easy and with Prime membership he delivery is free. Otherwise, it is $4.99.

I had to place an order on Saturday to receive it on Tuesday March 24th, between 7-9 pm. My credit card was preauthorized for an additional $8 in case of the need of replacement items that would be out of stock. It is wise to use that option, since these days, due to the pandemic, many grocery stores have higher than normal demand caused by volume buys. I received a notification via text that the shopper started shopping for my order. The notable difference is that with Whole Foods, the store shopper is not the same as the delivery driver (with Instacart the shopper does both it seems). Some of my items had to be substituted, which I expected.

However, what is interesting is that the milk was out of stock and no replacement was offered.

That confused me, since upon going back to the Amazon Prime website and choosing Whole Foods, the list of milk that was available for replacement options was not bad at all.

I opted to contact customer Service via chat. In comparison to Instacart, the Amazon customer service representative was available within five minutes to chat. She couldn’t add milk as her system would not allow her to do so. She could only provide a refund. This means that in the face of social distancing, I have to physically go to a store just to get milk.

Overall, the delivery showed up on time and the delivery driver was very pleasant. Upon inspecting the order, the bananas were rotten. The rice somehow was out of stock, even though it showed in-stock when I ordered.

I spent another five minutes via online chat to get a refund.

Thus far, I would say it is a better option, if you are willing to wait three days for delivery after ordering, but overall I still rate this experience a “Fail.” The only bonus was that part of your order (a small amount) goes to the charity of your choice.

I believe Whole Foods (which is a part of Amazon) could do more to reduce the errors and avoid forcing a shopper to make an unnecessary trip to the store during such trying times.

Only $1/click

Submit Your Ad Here

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

2 thoughts to “REVIEW: Social Distancing and the Amazon Online Shopping (Whole Foods) Experience – Partial Fail”

  1. Thanks for reporting on your test of the grocery delivery options. It sounds like they are using this service to get rid of unwanted products (like rotten bananas) and fulfilling on-line orders receives no better priority than in-store shoppers.

Leave a Reply