The most recent front in the grocery wars is curbside delivery. Walmart was one of the early adopters, allowing shoppers to place their orders online, then drop into a pickup spot and have a Walmart employee drop everything into the trunk. Target has followed suit, as has Kroger.
Now The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Aldi is testing grocery pickup in at least two — and maybe more — stores in the Tampa Bay area, along with other parts of Florida. That’s good.
The catch? Aldi isn’t the one doing the work. It’s Instacart.
Instacart shoppers are not Aldi employees. You’re talking about a different group of people … as in, not the people who get paid really well inside Aldi’s stores.
What about fees? That depends. According to Instacart, if you spend more than $34, there is no service fee, while if you spend less than $34, you pay $3.99. On the surface that would seem to be on par with Target and Walmart, who handle their pickup service with their own workers and don’t charge fees. (Kroger, on the other hand, does charge fees.)
However, we learned that service fees are just one of the ways Instacart charges customers. Instacart prices are often higher than in-store Aldi prices, and there may be other elements, like tips and “bag fees,” which could push the prices higher than if you’d gone in yourself. (Target, Walmart, and Kroger employees do not accept tips for their curbside pickup.)
There are still some things we don’t know about this service, and you can bet we’ll be testing it once it’s available in our area. In the meantime, if you live in an area that has Aldi curbside pickup, we’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.