Services like Seamless, Grub Hub, and Eat 24 are lifesavers when you're hungry and don't feel like cooking, but they only serve prepared fare. So what do you do when you want to make your own meal but can't bother going to the supermarket yourself? Place your order with one of these helpful online grocers and get your goods delivered right to your door.
Sure there's a supermarket located a few blocks away but first you'd have to find your car keys, drive there, and then actually do your shopping. That's a lot of unnecessary work when you can just as easily order your weekly grocery supplies online from one of the country's largest supermarket chains. With a full offering of goods from every aisle including deli items and fresh produce, Safeway's online ordering will even deliver the same day—within a one-hour time frame, no less—if you order before 8:30 am. There is a $50 minimum purchase and the delivery fee ranges from $10 on orders over $150 to $13 on orders less than that. Still, a $13 surcharge is certainly more palatable than the prospect of putting on pants.
Amazon is stepping up its Prime service with its recent roll-out of Amazon Fresh, a same-day service that will deliver more than 500,000 grocery items in the LA, San Francisco, and Seattle areas—many from local independent shops like the SF Fish Company or Three Babes Bake Shop. The service itself is quite flexible with a 10 am same-day delivery cutoff (10 pm if you want it first thing the next morning) for orders of $35 or more, but oh boy does it come at a steep price. After a 30-day free trial, Amazon charges you $300 (three hundred US dollars) a year for the privilege of using its service. Ouch.
Walmart To Go
Walmart's home delivery service works much like Amazon's but without the massive annual surcharge. Simply log into the Walmart To Go website, set up a Walmart account (if you don't already have one), and place a minimum order of $30. You can get just about anything an actual Walmart sells—from baby supplies to beachwear, even booze!—delivered within a 1-hour timeframe. You just need to be home to sign for it (and at least 21 with proof of ID for the alcohol).
For San Francisco Bay Area residents, Google Express provides an excellent service, combining the selection of both regional chains and big box stores including Target, Walgreens, Toys R Us, REI, Costco, and Whole Foods. Sign up is free (you'll need Google Wallet) and there is no minimum order price, though if your order includes items from more than one store or if you place more than an order a day, Google will enact a $5/store surcharge. You can typically have your order delivered the same day within one of four preset 3-hour time windows, depending on when you order and how busy the service is that day.
Everybody's favorite hula-themed premium grocer has teamed with Envoy to offer a home delivery service. For $60/month, subscribers receive weekly deliveries with no per-order minimums. Plus, every account is assigned a dedicated shopper who will, presumably, learn your preference for fat free chunky peanut butter over the low-fat smooth. Envoy is currently working on adding Costco and Whole Foods, as well as a number of independent local grocers and specialty stores, though there's no word yet on when they'll come online.
Home delivery is all well and good, but all of the services above require at least a working knowledge of this whole newfangled Internet thing. For elderly and disabled folks living in the D.C. metropolitan area and select Maryland counties, however, Top Banana is here to help. There is no sign up fee, no contracts, and no minimum order rate or amount. Users simply call in during business hours, dictate their orders to a live operator, and wait for the delivery. The non-profit service is largely funded by donations and only charges users a small, sliding-scale fee. The delivery driver will even "do small chores like loosen stubborn jar lids, take out the trash, or pick up your mail" while they're there.
These are only a few example of the largest online grocers and are by no means the only home delivery services available. If you've got a favorite local delivery service, let us know where and what it serves in the discussion below. [Top Image: Yuganov Konstantin, Safeway: Coolcaesar/Wiki, Amazon: Jeff Sandquist/Flickr, Trader Joe's: Anthony92931/Wilki, Top Banana: Steven Frame]