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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: ClickList

***I was not compensated for this post and my opinions are my own. Kroger's ClickList is free the first three times you use it and I'm writing this after using two of my free trial purchases.***

Apologies to the people who don't have Kroger in their area. They're not up in Minnesota where I used to live, so I'm sure a lot of you don't have a store in your area. I want to talk about their ClickList anyway because I hate grocery shopping.

When I lived in Minnesota, there was an online grocery store that delivered to my house. I used it a few times and was a bit frustrated by the narrow choices offered. Still, when you loathe grocery shopping to the extent that I do, sometimes you grin and bear it and learn to like what they had available. :-) My greatest disappointment upon moving to Atlanta was learning that they had zero online grocery options down here.

Recently, however, the Kroger store near me opened ClickList in beta testing. What you do is order your groceries online and pick them up at Kroger, usually the next day. My heart rejoiced!

Creating the list was easy. The items I frequently buy were on my ClickList home page and I was able to simply click them to add them to my cart. The items I didn't buy were easily found by searching, and as far as I could tell, anything I could find in the store was available to buy online, too. Much better than the narrow assortment I had from the home delivery online grocery store in Minnesota.

The first time I used the ClickList service, I wasn't able to pick up during the hour window that I wanted to choose. That's what I get for waiting until late the night before, I guess, but who'd have thought that my time would be that popular? I ended up with the hour following the one I wanted.

You pull up to the specially marked parking area, choose a slot, and call the phone number on the sign. Both times my call was answered on the first ring. In a few minutes, a Kroger employee wheeled out a cart with my groceries. They spend some time telling you what wasn't available and required substitution. My first visit (ordered late the night before) had quite a few substitutes or not available items. My second visit had only one, but the second time I put together my order about four or five days before I wanted to pickup. More on this in a minute.

After they run your credit card, the Kroger employee loads your car for you. No need to even get out of the car. That's so cool! And that's it. After they load your car, you can take your groceries home. Both times it was less than 10 minutes. The first visit--when I ordered fewer groceries--was maybe around five minutes. This sure beats 45 minutes to an hour in the grocery store.

Putting in my order early had some pluses and some minuses. On the plus side was that I only had one substitution. I'm attributing this to the fact that they had more time to assemble the order, but I'm guessing on this. They might not assemble any orders early because of space considerations. This also allowed me to get my chosen hour for pickup. I really like mid-morning because it lets me sleep in and not waste the entire day killing time until my slot opens up.

The minus side was that I remembered things later that I wanted to get and decided to not get other things I'd already chosen. I was able to edit my order, so this wasn't a huge minus, but I was unfamiliar with the process and it took me a little bit of time to figure out how to add more than one new item to the existing cart. I'm sure if I use the service more, this problem will fade.

How'd they do on my order? Well, part of it was my learning curve on order one. I wanted 5 apples, but Kroger's ClickList wanted me to order in pounds! Gah! So I guessed three pounds for 5 apples on the theory that if I received more apples, it would be no big deal. As it turned out, I was given four apples weighing 1 pound and 13 ounces. This was a fail for me. The second time, I added in the comments field exactly how many apples I wanted. This worked perfectly! Mostly.

I said I wanted one potato in the comment field on that item. I received two, which I'm guessing weigh one pound. Maybe they couldn't believe I only wanted a single potato! :-)

One last thought--I believed that I'd prefer home grocery delivery, but as it turns out, it's super convenient to pick it up at the store myself. For one thing, I'm not chained to my house, waiting for the delivery guy to show up. And that window could be half the day. Kroger gives me a one hour window that I picked myself and I can show up anytime within that hour that's convenient for me. The first time I used the service, I was there exactly at the start of my hour. The second time, I got there about 20 minutes after the hour. Perfect each time.

Picking up at the store also let me stop and get gas at the same time and swing by the UPS store that was in the same shopping strip.

I have one more free trial pickup and then the $4.95 charge kicks in. Personally, it's worth $5 to me to save nearly an hour out of my life. Plus, when I go grocery shopping, I do my best to avoid the crowds and that means dragging my butt out of bed on Saturday super early. With the pick up, I didn't have to worry about crowds or lines in the checkout. This frees me because I can pick up groceries any time or day that's convenient and I can sleep in since I don't deal with parking issues or long checkout lines with ClickList.

It's not perfect because some things are open to interpretation (For example, my "little green" desire for bananas yielded a bunch of bananas that were mostly yellow in my opinion.), but it's pretty darn close and I'd love to continue to use it. The wrench in this desire is my dad. He lives with me now and he loves grocery shopping. It's also his big outing of the week and I'm not sure I'll be able to convince him to give it up.

So my rating of Kroger's ClickList is two thumbs up, five stars, super rave. I love it and highly recommend it to anyone with 1) a Kroger store that offers the service and 2) dislikes grocery shopping as much as I do. Highly recommended!

***I was not compensated for this post and my opinions are my own. Kroger's ClickList is free the first three times you use it and I'm writing this after using two of my free trial purchases.***