Online grocery gripe

Grocery shopping is simply not my idea of a fun activity, wandering the supermarket aisles pushing a trolley with a dodgy wheel (and why do they always have a dodgy wheel?) is low entertainment value. So I like the idea of buying online from the comfort of my own computer. But I can’t help but harbour a niggling suspicion that I’m being gently ripped off.

I don’t mind paying for delivery, that seems entirely reasonable to me. And in any case paying for delivery is a trade-off against what it would cost me to get to the supermarket and back. I certainly don’t feel that there should necessarily be a discount for buying online – I understand the supermarket has to deal with overheads and there is staff putting my order into bags and so on. But I’m failing to see why so many goods are charged at about 3-10 per cent higher online than in the store. That’s the supermarket having its cake and eating it too. The conclusion I’ve come to is that the supermarket does this simply because they can.

I tried shopping around but I can’t see how to make it work. Some goods are cheaper at Woolworths, some at Coles. By the time you factor in two delivery fees there’s no real practical way to cherry-pick the cheaper items from each.

I must say that overall my experience with Woolworths Online has been pretty good. This is my second attempt at using them. I tried a few years ago (so close to them starting up that I had a user-ID numbered below 100) but gave up after a while in the face of repeated failures to deliver items. That doesn’t seem to have been a problem this time round. The deliveries have been on-time, the delivery guys very friendly; and the quality excellent.

But what I’d really like is a simple guarantee from one of the supermarkets that the goods will generally be the same price as they are in-store. Then I would get the convenience of online shopping without any niggling worries about cost. But then again, and this is just a thought, maybe it’s worth paying a little extra to avoid listening to the in-store music…

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