Aldi Is Testing Curbside Delivery … But …

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.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Editor-in-Chief of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

6 Comments

  1. Not an Instacart fan, as they are the ones who got caught reducing employee payouts depending on tips. I won’t use them for this reason. Still love Aldi, but not Instacart.

  2. I used Instacart once — never again. Too many mistakes including bill.

  3. We signed up for a trial of Instacart Express. We are older and shopping is hard for us. At first, we thought we were in heaven. However, Instacart has got a VERY strange debiting arrangement that makes the service unusable for anyone on low fixed income. Say you order $100 of groceries for delivery. Your bank immediately shows a $110 encumbrance; the extra 10% is supposedly to cover variances in pricing that might occur when you have to make changes due to items not being available or want to add something. Okay, fair and good. The problem comes in when the purchase is actually charged. Say that purchase actually is $100, not $110. Another encumbrance in that amount shows up as pending at your bank. That’s two “pending” items reserved against your checking account balance: $110 + $100: $210. In our experience, from several times using Instacart, the initial amount + 10% encumbrance takes about a week to drop off your account; the actual charge can take as long, but often will drop off a day or two before the initial encumbrance! So if you have other bills to pay, you’re screwed. I wrote the company twice letting them know that this payment model is not acceptable. They claimed it’s the bank’s fault the funds take so long to clear; the bank said otherwise. Meanwhile, I suspect somebody is using our money to play the stock market while our lights get cut off because we can’t pay the bill with funds that ought to be there!

    • Wow! I understand how that could be frustrating.

    • Wow, thank you for your informable post! I am also on a fixed income and cannot afford a double hold on my funds. I have priced Instacart from Meijer and target comparing same groceries from Walmart and could not believe the price increase from Instacart. I immediately cancelled my membership and continue to buy from Walmart with my first stop at Aldi.

  4. This, by the way, is in Athens, Georgia, a major college town. I don’t know if they do it this way elsewhere, but it’s not going to fly here, I can tell you.

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