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Walmart's Online Grocery Pickup Q & A Plus Review

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*This is NOT a sponsored post. The opinions expressed are my own.

On the fence about trying out Walmart's Online Grocery Pickup? I was too.

After watching several "grocery haul" videos from one of my favourite mommy vloggers on YouTube, Sara, a mother of 10 children ... yes, you read that correctly ... from Our Tribe of Many , I was convinced it was time to at least try it out.

Although I'll admit a tad bit of familiarity with eBay and Amazon, with online grocery shopping being new to me, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had my doubts. Would the food be fresh? Would they pick the boxed food items from the back of the shelf like I do to get the later expiry dates? What if something came up and I couldn't pick it up on time?

Well, I'm pleased to say it went better than expected! Frankly, now I'm left wondering what the heck I'm going to do with all of that time I'm going to save each week. And why on earth didn't I try this out sooner?!

I had been hesitating due to the many questions and concerns I had. So I thought I would share my experience with you in hopes to answer some of yours.

Is the food fresh?

The food was in perfect condition. The tomatoes were very fresh and smelled delicious. The avocados were just ripe enough to use. Each produce item appeared to have been carefully selected, individually wrapped by type and labelled with the weight and cost.

Is there a minimum to spend?

Yes, you must spend $50 in order to quality for the grocery pickup service.

Is there a cost for this service?

The cost is free. In comparison, No Frills' PC Express currently charges between $3 and $5 for this service according to their website.

Is there an order cut-off time?

If you want to place an order for the next day or need to make a change to your current order the cut-off time is 10:30 p.m. PST.

How do I schedule pickup?

When submitting your completed grocery order, you must select a one-hour block of time in which you plan to pick up your items. Typically, I've found that same-day times are already all booked up, so I booked for a Monday pickup the Sunday night before.

Will I be able to find an open parking space in those few designated pickup spots painted orange in Walmart's parking lot?

Now, when I'm able to, I do aim to do my grocery shopping early on a weekday to avoid the chaos, especially at Walmart. My scheduled time for pickup was a Monday between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Well, maybe the word hasn't gotten out yet about Walmart's Online Grocery Pickup but when I arrived I was the only one there. Prior to leaving, however, one other car pulled up.

What do I do when I get there?

Being a newbie, I felt a little intimidated about the process. I was ready to have my order confirmation e-mail handy with the phone number to call and my order number. As you drive into any of the open spots, you'll immediately see a sign in front of you with the number to call. I called the number, with my e-mail in hand, ready to navigate between phone screens, when they simply asked for my name. "I'll be out in a few minutes," they stated.

How long will I have to wait?

Okay, time to get comfortable I thought. It's an hour window, so does that mean I should have brought a book while I wait? Should I run into Chapters? In less than five minutes from arrival I spotted an employee carting out my goods in several stacked, hard plastic bins. I knew this was for me since I saw the bleach I had ordered (presumably too tall or smelly for the bins) and, well, I was still the only one there.

Do I need to bring my own bags/boxes?

When I placed my order I was given the option to select if I wanted to bring my own bags or let Walmart provide them. To not over-complicate my first experience, I thought it best to let them just do their thing with their own bags.

Should I be ready to tip and how much?

Walmart's website states that their employees will not accept tips.

Do I need to get out of my car, to help them load the groceries or to at least open my trunk?

After placing my order online, I still wasn't clear on how this process would go or the polite move to make. As the employee approached my vehicle, I asked if they would like me to open my trunk for them. No need. They simply opened it for me, carefully packed away my groceries, said "Thank you for shopping", closed my trunk and, well, that was it. Off I went. It couldn't be that easy.

Here's what I didn't love ...

Alternatives.

When you add items into your cart, you have the option to select if you would like Walmart to replace any unavailable items with a similar product of equal or more value.

In my case, for example, I ordered some McCain sweet potato fries. These were out of stock, so I was given the replacement of McCain crinkle cut regular fries. I had hoped that perhaps they would replace my sweet potato fries order with an alternative brand of sweet potato fries, not regular potato fries. However, upon further inspection, I discovered that Walmart does not carry another brand of sweet potato fries, so I can appreciate their dilemma. Even still, I would have liked to have been given the option of actual sweet potatoes as an alternative as well.

I think Walmart should add a place during the order process to specify which replacements are typical for each product and give the customer the option to select which of those would be acceptable.

However, when I picked up my items the employee did ask me again if I was okay with replacements, which was a nice touch. Wanting a quick and smooth transaction, however, I did not want to make a fuss. I guess we're having regular fries this week.

Here's what impressed me the most ...

Convenient shopping experience.

Although I may enjoy a little grocery store banter from time to time, I don't enjoy having to navigate cramped grocery aisles or waiting behind people while they mull over a purchase. Okay, maybe it's me that people are waiting behind, which can make it difficult to read ingredients when I'm feeling pressured that someone is stuck waiting behind me.

Ordering from the comfort of my home allowed me to read descriptions and compare prices at my leisure. I didn't have to worry about forgetting to grab something from any particular aisle and then having to navigate all the way back to the other end of the store to retrieve it.

Easy food selection.

The website is easy to navigate, with detailed pictures and "aisles" to help you find what you're looking for. You can also filter by brand, price and and sale items.

Easy tracking of spending.

I absolutely loved being able to see how much I was spending as I added items into my cart. If I was getting close to overspending, it was easy to glance at my cart and "put some things back" or remove them from my cart. It would be nice if there were a section to put these items you're holding off on until your next order.

Personalization.

What I found super convenient was that if I signed into my Walmart account I could add items to my cart as I thought of them. I could compile my list over the entire weekend as I discovered more things we needed and they were saved right where I left them. I've already started adding items for next week's order.

I noticed as well that they have an "Easy Reorder" option which saves your favourite items for easier shopping next time. Love it!

Bagging.

Although I would suggest to Walmart that perhaps they used way too many bags, it was clear upon pickup that my groceries had been delicately arranged. Produce was with produce, frozen items were kept in one bag, crackers in another. As someone who loves organization I was superbly impressed by this and it kinda made me feel even a little special. Even the eggs were bagged separately and labelled "fragile". Nice touch, Walmart!

Final thoughts ...

Altogether, I was super impressed with Walmart's Online Grocery Pickup service and look forward to using it again. I originally hesitated to try it out because, well, it's a different way of doing things and I felt a little intimated. But I'm so glad I tried it.

After sitting back while someone else kindly and carefully loaded my groceries, I thought, "Wow, it can't be that easy." Well, it was!

For more information:

Walmart Grocery Pickup (Canada)

Walmart Grocery Pickup (United States)

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