So much for grocery shopping online...
June 26, 2001 5:03 AM   Subscribe

So much for grocery shopping online... The last online grocer in Texas, Grocery Works, threw in the towel.
posted by ZachsMind (8 comments total)
HomeGrocer/Webvan is still going strong here in Seattle. I've made it a personal mission to keep them in business.
posted by jragon at 6:26 AM on June 26, 2001

Online grocery shopping is a na•ve concept which should die ASAP. The closest plausible, cool possibility would be to pre-order packaged groceries over the Web and have them waiting for you at the store, but that probably won't work either. Buying produce, fish, meat, and "fresh stuff" which isn't fungible without selecting yourself (seeing it/feeling it) is not attractive/aesthetic/comforting and that's 1/2 of why the Webvan concept is doomed. The other half: the logistics of gathering groceries in a warehouse and then delivering them, all in the time-frame in which one gets hungry. If Amazon probably won't make it with hard goods which don't spoil, Webvan definitely won't. There. Voilˆ. Fire the consultants who say otherwise and are just trying to keep their jobs. I've told you everything you need to know.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:46 AM on June 26, 2001

I've been meaning to try GroceryWorks myself actually. I was even on their mailing list. However, I drive right by several grocery stores on the way home from work and I guess I just like feeling the produce and reading the labels.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:04 AM on June 26, 2001

I've used Grocery Gateway here in Toronto, and I really like it. Personally, I find their produce to be expensive, so I don't usually buy that. But when it comes to heavy things (pop, cat litter, detergent), or foodstuff that doesn't change (packaged stuff like cereal or whatever), anything I don't have to take up sixteen floors is fine with me.

I've been using it much less lately though, mostly because it's warm out, but also because they require a $60 minimum to shop. Since I often only need a few things at a time I sometimes don't make that quota (especially since I'm not buying produce.) without buying stuff that I don't *really* need (like junk food).

Personally, I think the service is great for families with young kids (who hate going to the grocery store), folks with disabilities and senior citizens. Truthfully, it appeals to my lazy side, being a childless 20something who only shops for two people and a cat.

But, who wouldn't like to avoid the idiots in the average grocery store parking lot? (especially those stores that are in malls?) For me the delivery fee was worth it to avoid that hassle and listen to my boyfriend have fits about the idiots driving and walking around.

But I think for the summer, I'm just going to go to the grocery store. :)
posted by melissa at 7:28 AM on June 26, 2001

it's a good thing DotCom Guy is done with his publicity stu-, er, experiment...
posted by o2b at 7:46 AM on June 26, 2001

I dunno...I got Webvan delivered on Sunday for the 2nd time...I like it very much. And I also feel sort of morally obligated to keep them in business. Complaints about their services: none at all so far. I have ordered both meat and produce from them with good results. My JuiceMan Jr* is stocked and ready to mulch. The only agonizing decision faced while ordering online: Should I get the "Ready to eat" or "Needs a few days" avocado?

*"JuiceMan Jr" is in no way a euphemism for any part of my anatomy.
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2001

hey guys. Online grocery shopping the concept is not dead. For you US guys check this link out. The only online grocer to make money, is coming to play. Here on the edge of London I have four different online (with offline bits too) grocers ( sainsbury's , iceland, asda WalMart and tesco) competing for my custom, when I lived in the centre there were even more online only ones (names I can't remember).

Grocery shopping only works in large concentrations of people where the high fulfilment costs are amortised by high population density. Thus it might owrk better in places like London, Hong King or Singapore. Any thoughts.
posted by nedrichards at 1:07 PM on June 26, 2001

Homegrocer used to bring us fruit and vegetables that looked so good that they could have been wax. For that last few months, though, we have Not Been Happy -- they keep bringing us, like, milk and bagged salad that's 40 minutes away from it's expiration date. This started happening the same time they were bought out by WebVan, but I suspect the two are more or less unrelated -- I just think their running low on funds and can no longer afford to only deliver the top %50 of their produce.

Still use 'em occasionally, though, but now more for nonperishables.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:16 PM on June 26, 2001

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