This month, the Dining Out squad eats in, sampling take-out or delivery fare in the comfort of one's own home.
In the 1990s, there was HomeGrocer, the grocery home-delivery service, which we tried shortly after it was launched and still had quite the buzz surrounding it. We were happy to come home to groceries waiting for us until the dotcom world went topsy-turvy and it was no longer an option.
Fast forward almost 20 years and the choices are far more varied. The nearest equivalent to homegrocer.com is most likely Amazon Fresh or Instacart. For this month's installment, we surveyed our office mates and review a selection of the many services we access in the Seattle market to reduce our daily chores, to simplify eating at home or perhaps just because inertia has taken over and the couch beckons.
If you are having a hard time fitting the grocery shopping into a day's activities, Amazon's grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh (www.fresh.amazon.com), might be the answer. It can be a huge time-saver and extremely convenient. It is user friendly, with many features, settings and options. Delivery times are varied, usually available and sure to please, such as pre-dawn delivery with your breakfast ingredients tucked inside. The negative, which comes as no surprise, is the upfront fee. Last we checked, to use AmazonFresh requires a $299 "annual membership fee."
When AmazonFresh was offering free delivery through June for orders of $50 or more to Amazon Prime members, we bit. Having used the site in the past, it was easy to pull up our list of past purchases and click rampantly to refill the pantry and refrigerator. If you're doing this as a time-saver, you should be over the fact that you can't fondle the produce yourself. Refrain from pretending you are selecting produce at an open-air, Provencal market. The produce is pretty darn good when compared to produce at other local grocery stores. The meat selections are fine.
Searches can be tailored to include only organic products or to search by brand. Sure, they don't carry some things that you might want, but the overall selection at AmazonFresh is sufficiently varied and complete. Be alert to the weight or size of an item - we've ended up with a tiny package of smoked salmon, for example, when we assumed we were getting a larger quantity. Remember a picture is not always worth a thousand words and read the details to save yourself some surprises.
For people who really come to rely on it, automatic delivery is an option. The software for setting up deliveries is a cinch. In general, the prices themselves are not inflated over local stores. For busy households, this service can be salvation. You'll have to do the math on whether it's worth it to you.
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