Instacart: A Review

We surveyed moms about a year ago to ask them: “What challenges did you face postpartum?” Was it family balance? Nutrition? Breastfeeding? Knowing how to care for a newborn? It was a great discussion because many different topics came up, and I was even surprised a little by the results (I faced different challenges than other moms did and I realized that everyone’s postpartum experience can be so different).

One thing that came up was running errands. This was something I myself found to be very difficult. I had to (a) get myself out of the house, while recovering from childbirth, enduring a dodgy sleep rhythm, and having no energy, (b) get the baby out of the house in hopes that they wouldn’t need to nurse or poop, and (c) get my other children (hopefully fed, rested and happy) along for the ride! A grocery run was always quite a feat at that point.

In spite of all the challenges, I love grocery shopping. Planning ahead and making decisions in the moment, I find it to be a fun process. And after these many years, I know what we like and appreciate being to shop for my family.

This is the age of convenience, though. Why haven’t I tried the ubiquitous delivery service that every store now offers? I let go of the reins and decided to try Instacart for myself. I believe this company is nation-wide, or the closest thing to it; and people are loving it! I gave it a shot and here are my thoughts.

  • Obviously – convenience! It didn’t take me long at all. Selecting which store they’d be shopping at, where I live, and when I want the delivery to come was all very simple.
    • I could also put in all of my payment information, including what I wanted to tip my shopper! I didn’t have to do anything on the tail end except receive my groceries and get them put away in the kitchen.
    • They also keep you updated. Notifications are sent to your phone when your shopper starts the process, when she replaces something, when she’s finished, and when the driver is on their way.
  • Good choices. There were no impulse buys from wandering a grocery store avoiding well placed treat tables and ignoring incessant requests for gummy worms and Cheez Its. I was also at home, so last-minute decisions (oh, I want to make muffins this week!) were easy to look up in my recipe book (see here!) instead of having to rely on my terrible memory.
  • Simple delivery. Instacart offers 1-hour delivery time slots. Many grocery stores themselves offer time slots based on delivery fee (e.g., you pay more for a 1-hour window and 4-hour windows are cheaper). Having all 1-hour slots means you don’t have to plan your entire day around being home for when your groceries show up and you have more flexibility (always a plus when children are involved).
  • It seems they thought of everything. You can even choose a replacement while your shopper is in action. Store out of the ketchup you requested? Choose a good second choice!
  • Paper waste. We usually bag our groceries in reusable cloth bags, but that wasn’t really an option here. My 4 bags of groceries were all paper double-bagged, so I ended up with 8 paper bags! It just seemed excessive after using cloth bags for so long.
  • Multiple fees. I expected delivery fees, of course, and I knew I would tip my shopper. There was also a service fee to support their insurance, background checks, and customer support. It’s all fairly reasonable, but it would add up quickly over the month of using grocery delivery.
    • Delivery fee ($3.99) + service fee ($3.43) + tip (they suggest %5, and I rounded up to $5) = $12.42.
    • I don’t want to spend $12 on top of my groceries every time.
    • They do offer a plan for free deliveries for $99/year. I think this is a good way to keep your fees down, if you plan to use Instacart all the time. Of course, it doesn’t eliminate tip, which is a must for your shopper.

In the end:

I thought Instacart was a great service and very well implemented. For my family, though, I’m still inspired to shop myself. I know for a fact I’ll use Instacart through challenging times – my next postpartum phase, illness, a death in the family, or even if we just have a particularly crazy week. It’s nice to have the option, but I don’t think I’ll use it on a regular basis.

I can tell you, though, that it’s worth trying once to see how you like it and if it works for your family. Maybe that unlimited deliveries subscription is something that would work for and benefit your busy life!

Check out Instacart here.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.