Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

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RedClay
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Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by RedClay » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:16 am

I'm considering signing up for the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. On top of the Prime membership of $99/year, Amazon Fresh costs $15 per month. Delivery is "free" on all orders above $40. The cost of groceries seems comparable, with maybe a 5 or 10% price premium to the local grocery store. Our weekly grocery bill is $80, so this puts the total marginal cost of Amazon Fresh at $12 per weekly trip - $4 per week plus $8 in price premium (10% of $80). Our household of two goes to the store once a week and each trip takes roughly 1.5 hours including travel time.

When deciding on this time-saving service, should I go ahead with it if "the value of my time" is greater than $8 per hour ($12 / 1.5 hour)? Looking at the decision from a purely financial decision, this seems to imply that most working people would opt for this service. Is this calculation overly simplistic?

Also, if anyone has experience with Amazon Fresh, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about the service. Thanks!

Maya1234
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Maya1234 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:32 am

I haven't used Amazon Fresh but used Peapod many years ago, once when I was pregnant and on bed rest. The other when work was so crazy it was hard to get to the store. What I found was this: these services are great time savers and well worth the money when it comes to Dry Goods and packaged dairy/frozen . But as the main family shopper I knew that it's just too hard for a service to pick out fresh fruits, many vegetables and meats/fish to our families liking. Maybe we are more particular than most but we like our bananas to come in to the house just a certain degree of under-ripe, our boneless skinless chicken to be a hard to describe thickness ( not too thick, not too thin), same with asparagus etc... My husband wouldn't have realized that since he does very little shopping. He didn't understand why we wouldn't continue to use these services and save me a lot of time, until I explained in detail the issue.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:01 am

My coworker uses it and loves it...but he has two youngins and both he and his wife work full time. So we had a lengthy talk about the value of their time and they thought it was definitely worth it. He also admitted he's only able to get about 85% of his shopping that way and still has to go to a physical store for the other 15% but he still sees it as a win for his family because it cuts down the total time of having to physically shop. I'm in a different situation and don't participate but I'm glad Amazon is offering the service and it could very well be the way of the future.
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Coato
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Coato » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:13 am

We use it and like it. We think it is actually much cheaper than our store. We brought a receipt home once and then checked it against Fresh and think we are saving. Also it is 5% off with the Amazon card and an additional 10% off Fresh for a limited time.

We usually set the delivery to 3-6 pm so it is waiting when we get home. You can usually add on that same mid-morning and get the items in your shipment, A couple issues with broken eggs is really the only thing we’ve noticed. We had a very small Kale bunch arrive once, emailed Amazon and they waived the charge, no questions asked.

A side benefit is that we don’t grab anything Extra and throw it in the cart.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:15 am

I love online grocery shopping from our regional chain. There is a slight price premium, but we actually spend less, since we don't buy things we don't need.

The timing savings is incredible.

Bliss
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Bliss » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:46 am

We're doing the one month free trial of Amazon Fresh to try it out. Here's our experience so far:

Pros
- Most of the products are cheaper than our closest supermarket
- 5% cash back on Amazon credit card
- It's a real timesaver in that I can shop at night and receive the order next day
- Quality of produce was better than expected
- Starting to see Whole Foods brands available, i.e. 365 Organic
- Good selection of organic produce

Cons
- Packaging is nuts! I spend a lot of time taking apart/refolding the totes & insulation, melting and draining ice packs for recycling and melting dry ice
- They are often out of stock on items that we frequently buy so I have to go to the supermarket anyway
- Less selection in terms of size, i.e. small peanut butter is available but the large size is not
- Less selection overall, i.e. certain brands or items are not available
- Sometimes I like to select my own produce
- Produce arrives dirty

Conclusion - We probably will not continue using this service now but, if they make some improvements to inventory, may consider it in the future.

livesoft
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by livesoft » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:50 am

I love going to the grocery store while doing other errands. I usually see my neighbors and other people I know, so we chat a bit. So for me grocery shopping isn't so much about the food, but about the value of my time which I like to spend serendipitously.

Our local Kroger stores will let one order online without extra cost.
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azurekep
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by azurekep » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:30 pm

I wouldn't trust Amazon to not start raising the prices a lot after they've gotten a critical mass of customers.

But too early to tell now.

I've had experience with supermarket deliveries and the main problems I see are:
  • Product and brand offerings change, so unless you shop every week, you have to reinvent the wheel every time you create a shopping list.
  • Product SIZES change. So if your standard list has product X at Y oz., you have to decide whether to get it at Z oz. and do the math to determine if it's a good value. I find that kind of calculation easier to do in the store since you can actually see the size of the product.
  • Ingredients change. It's easier to determine in the store whether something has sugar added, for example. Trying to read the ingredient lists online is difficult at best and often is not an option.
  • The delivery people have to be watched like hawks because they will occasionally forget to bring in one or two boxes of food. So you have to have the list handy and check off the items as the boxes are brought in.

lightheir
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by lightheir » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:36 pm

I've used it before and liked it - I liked that they used "Sprouts" where I am, which is a smaller market grocery store.

The one thing that surprised me with one delivery though and def gave me pause - on one of my orders, the delivery person wasn't the typical young adult experimenting with the 'gig' economy - it was a well spoken 60+ year old man, clearly well educated as well! (I'm mid 40s).

I honestly felt like a lazy chump taking advantage of older folks when he dropped off my groceries and wished me well. I know I should probably feel the opposite, in that I should be happy that they don't age discriminate, but it really was eye opening for me how the gig economy would feel if someone who could be my child's grandfather was working these jobs. My wife and I ended up giving him a huge tip!

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:16 am

Not of interest to me. Grocery shopping really doesn't take that long and I rather enjoy it. I like to choose my items, and as I always bargain shop I need to be in the store. If I did need delivery, like laid up with an injury or something, two of the local supermarket chains have a delivery service so I'd use that.
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cutterinnj
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by cutterinnj » Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:51 am

We have switched to using Amazon Fresh for ALL of our grocery needs.
It is truly wonderful

It is cheaper than our Shoprite.

There have been some "quirks" in its use- they may forget something or pack something in a weird way. However, EVERY time they make a mistake, we call, and they give us credit ranging from $10 to a free order, so it's saved us even more (I consider it their cost for beta testing the product. :P )

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Alexa9
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:53 am

I am still a little skeptical for now, but will give it a try in the future if it gets good reviews. I like to see what looks good in person for produce and see what is on sale. I actually enjoy grocery shopping if it's for a meal I'm preparing that day.

Valuethinker
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:57 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:53 am
I am still a little skeptical for now, but will give it a try in the future if it gets good reviews. I like to see what looks good in person for produce and see what is on sale. I actually enjoy grocery shopping if it's for a meal I'm preparing that day.
Wait, you mean you don't just tell Alexa to order it for you? ;-) :happy

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telemark
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by telemark » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:08 am

I suppose I could work 100 hours/week and hire everything else out, to maximize the financial value of my time. But I really don't want to do that. I've been homebound following surgery a few times and a delivery service would have been helpful then, but I got through thanks to friends and a well-stocked freezer.

stan1
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by stan1 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:32 am

We went a slightly different direction (for the time being) by using meal delivery (Freshly). We are two adults, one retired, no kids. The retired individual doesn't mind grocery shopping but neither enjoys meal preparation.

On the other hand close friends who are two working physicians with two teenage boys happily maximize use of everything Amazon.

Silence Dogood
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Silence Dogood » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:02 pm

I really don't mind stopping by the grocery store.

There are a lot of choices near where I live (Whole Foods, Wegmans, Market Basket, Stop and Shop, Trader Joe's, Hannaford, Star Market, Roche Bros., and two locally owned grocery stores all within a 20 minute drive). The place where I usually buy my groceries is about a 10 minute drive and in case of emergencies there are grocery stores even closer.

Also, I don't necessarily want Amazon to have a complete history of everything I ever buy.

daveydoo
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by daveydoo » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:29 pm

RedClay wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:16 am
When deciding on this time-saving service, should I go ahead with it if "the value of my time" is greater than $8 per hour ($12 / 1.5 hour)? Looking at the decision from a purely financial decision, this seems to imply that most working people would opt for this service. Is this calculation overly simplistic?
We used to try to gauge things that way. Then spouse said "Maybe we should just pay someone to live our lives for us?!" We do all of our own silly errands and weed the yard, etc. We finally have some help cleaning the house but pretty much everything else we do ourselves. My hard-driving father downsized to a small place with some actual landscaping. He used to rave about how much fun it was to just stand outside and water the new plants with a hose. Most of life is simple things, imo. If I took all the mundane tasks out of my routine, I'm sure I'd spend a lot more time eating and online shopping -- and not at the opera or art museum or saving humanity. But, if you're a better budgeter of your at-home free time, then your proposal makes perfect sense.

flight
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by flight » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:39 pm

I've definitely found the savings from buying groceries from Amazon Fresh to more than offset the $15 monthly charge. I live in the New York Metro area where the supermarkets are expensive except perhaps Trader Joe's but there isn't Trader Joe nearby. I find every item is cheaper or equal to the local grocery store (but almost all items are cheaper I'd say).

Just the monthly savings on buying milk for the family justifies it. My local store only carries the 1/2 gallon size of Organic Valley milk, charging $5.49 for the half gallon. At Amazon Fresh, I get a whole gallon for $6.99. Savings on purchasing about two gallons a week justifies the montly cost.

AF also has weekly "Fresh Deals" which sometimes have interesting bargains. For instance, this week I got 6 or 7 rolls of Bounty paper totals for $1. Not each roll, but the entire pack for $1. Other times, they rotate categories/select items with something like 25% off.

So the pluses are the savings and convenience.

The cons are the bagging is not always ideal with ice packs and clear plastic bags (I think they moved away from paper bags) but I can get over that.

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Alexa9
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:08 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:57 am
Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:53 am
I am still a little skeptical for now, but will give it a try in the future if it gets good reviews. I like to see what looks good in person for produce and see what is on sale. I actually enjoy grocery shopping if it's for a meal I'm preparing that day.
Wait, you mean you don't just tell Alexa to order it for you? ;-) :happy
Until Alexa can make me a sammich, I'm not interested :wink:

RedClay
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by RedClay » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:12 am

I am the OP and I'd like to provide an update on my experience with Amazon Fresh. We selected the unattended delivery option for Monday at the 4am - 7am time slot. The groceries didn't arrive by 7:30, so I chatted with a customer service representative. She gave me a $5 Amazon credit and told me that if it didn't arrive by 8 a.m., it would be free. At 8:50 a.m., the groceries still had not arrived. I again contacted Amazon to see if I should reorder or wait for the original delivery. This rep gave me $15 in promotional credit and refunded my entire order of $52. If the groceries did come, she assured me they would be free. She instructed me to wait until 10 a.m. until I placed my reorder. Finally, the groceries arrived two hours late at 9 a.m.

I didn't have work on Monday, so the additional two hour wait was not a huge hassle for me. On a typical weekday I would need to leave by 7:30 a.m., and the groceries would have sat outside for the entire day. Not ideal. As it stands, we got $20 in Amazon credit and $52 in free groceries for the inconvenience. I will continue using Fresh for the next couple of weeks, but I'll have to stop if their delivery windows continue to be unreliable.

I suppose this experience puts a new spin on the title of the post. :wink:

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lthenderson
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by lthenderson » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:17 am

For me, what's for supper often begins by standing in the fresh vegetable aisle or at the meat counter and seeing what looks the freshest. I can't do that online.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by ThriftyPhD » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:46 am

To add another data point, we've been trying out Fresh the past few weeks. After three deliveries, all have arrived in the delivery window, and have been well packaged.

As for price, the per item cost is about the same, if not cheaper than the local grocery chain. The selection is better for what we tend to buy, especially now that Whole Foods items are becoming available. Whole Foods is a far enough drive that we don't go there typically. The meat selection has been particularly good.

Using the Amazon credit card, we're getting 15% cash back on each purchase, which would more than pay for the $15/month (currently free month trial). Personally, I prefer being able to spend all week choosing what food we want for the following week, add it to our cart, and have it arrive on Saturday. When I go to the local chain, I have a list and stick to it. Browsing just results in a bigger cart and grocery bill, and often wasted food.

Negatives we have are selection and delivery window. Items come in and out of availability frequently, so we can not always count on them having the milk we like, and so far we can't get bananas. Part of this is based on which delivery date you choose. For us, the only times are 7-10 or 10-1. Since these would not be before heading to work, and I wouldn't want them sitting out all day, our only option is the weekend. If they had delivery 4-7 we would order more frequently, including a mid week option.

michaeljc70
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:10 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:16 am
Not of interest to me. Grocery shopping really doesn't take that long and I rather enjoy it. I like to choose my items, and as I always bargain shop I need to be in the store. If I did need delivery, like laid up with an injury or something, two of the local supermarket chains have a delivery service so I'd use that.
I agree. I go to a different store depending on what I need and what is on sale that week. I tend to do it while running other errands. However, there are probably 20 grocery stores within 5 miles of my place. If I didn't look at the weekly sales flyers or have many close options, maybe I'd consider Fresh.

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Toons
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by Toons » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:38 pm

I would use it if it is time savings.
Personally I can't wait for either Amazon or Walmart to offer the service here in Tn. :happy
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LoveMyDog
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by LoveMyDog » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:50 pm

Depends on your shopping style - I don't think it'd work for me.

We eat a lot of fresh produce and meat and not a lot of packaged and canned goods, so I go shopping pretty much every other day. The menu is based on the freshest ingredients available that day, and you can determine that only if you're physically at the store and not from the computer screen.

cutterinnj
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Re: Amazon Fresh & the value of your time

Post by cutterinnj » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:31 am

Update on our delivery today;
(we've been getting 2 deliveries per week for approximately the past 4 months.)
It is so nice to be able to get your groceries Sunday morning! USPS has pretty much always delivered on time.
We are also glad that they are delivering more Whole Foods products; our closest Whole Foods is an hour away, and this is obviously very convenient.

This delivery, our cherry tomatoes (which came in a box) came with the box opened inside the bag, and some of them fell into the bottom of a bag- still very useable after being washed.
I called customer service to let them know about this, and recommend that they be placed into a separate plastic bag to prevent this.
She thanked me, refunded the cost of the cherry tomatoes, and added an extra $10 credit.

Their customer service is amazing;
we are saving quite a bit of money by going this route, not to mention time.

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