May 2009 Update: Albertsons just announced the end of home delivery service. If you have Vons delivery in your area, try code SAVE447 for free delivery through May 27, 2009.
January 2009 Update: The Albertsons HCC33 code in the original article below is now dead, but try HOLIDAYSHIPPING (free shipping) or EMAILSAVINGS ($10, $15, and $20 off your next three order) instead.
Update: First-time Albertsons/ACME customers can contact us and ask for a referral that gives you free delivery your first order.
I fall in love again with grocery delivery every time the truck pulls up in front of our house. Yet when I recommend it to friends they seem frightened of the idea — having decided in advance that it’s some sort of overpriced luxury for people rich enough to have other people do their shopping. The truth is that grocery delivery is available from at least one major chain in pretty much all major cities in the US even after the high profile death of dotcom flame-out HomeGrocer. As far back as 1996 when I lived in Boston I discovered grocery delivery from a company called Homeruns, and lugging my own crap home from the store has seemed an unnecessary chore ever since.
So how does it work? Here in LA several chains deliver — including our largest local chain Albertsons. Strangely, these services are very poorly advertised. It’s possible the chains fear cannibalizing too much of their in-store revenue. In any case, Albertsons has become our favorite even though all the services work about the same: You just create an account online and add items to your cart like you would at any online store. They also let you add your regular purchases to a saved list so that subsequent orders will go even faster. Produce, meat, frozen food, and everything else they carry in the regular stores can be ordered online. Everything but hot deli food, that is. Then you pick a 1 1/2-hour delivery window the next day or anytime thereafter (including Sundays) and at the appointed time a truck pulls up to your door. They even carry it into your kitchen if you like with no tipping.
So is it more expensive than going to the store? Delivery from HomeGrocer was always free, but that’s not usually the case now. Albertsons charges $12.95 per delivery, but they often offer discount codes for online orders so delivery can still be effectively free. “HCC33” is the code I’ve used for Albertsons.com for over a year now and it’s still good as of yesterday [see Update above]. And what about the prices? They’re always identical to those in the store — including loyalty card discounts. I hear they even accept coupons that you hand to your driver on delivery, but I’ve yet to try this.
So if you’re not yet a convert, give it a try. Once you let someone else carry your cases of soda, canned goods, and 50-pound bags of dog food into your kitchen you’ll never want to go back.