Publix launches home delivery service

Publix DeliveryInstacart has expanded the luxury and convenience of online ordering and home delivery of groceries and other items beyond the urban beltways and into the suburbs and small cities of America. That means Publix customers in Villa Rica, as well as Douglas and Paulding County can visit publix.com/delivery  and have groceries delivered to their door.

In Villa Rica (30180) Instacart delivers for Publix and CVS (prescriptions may not be delivered).  In Douglasville (30135) Publix, CVS, and Aldi make up the list of stores.

Customers go online at publix.com/delivery or on the Instacart app, and select products for their shopping list. A delivery target time is generated. Deliveries are scheduled for one hour time slots. Customers must pay via credit or debit card. Most items found in the store are also found on the website.

Delivery fees generally cost the non-member $5.99 to $8.99 depending on distance and location. There is a $10.00 minimum order requirement and a 10% Service Fee applies, which is a tip to the Instacart Shopper (the individual who actually goes into the store and completes the shopping list). There is also the opportunity to add a tip for the delivery driver (which may or may not be the same person each order). Tips, not service charges, may be altered up to two weeks after the delivery.

Customers can avoid the delivery fee by joining Instacart Express for a monthly fee of $14.99 or a yearly membership at $149.99 (as of this publication). After joining, orders over $35.00 incur no delivery charge.

Customers may choose replacement items in case the brand they have chosen is unavailable. The only coupons that may be used are those coupons or promotions that are posted on the Instacart site.

In general, online prices tend to be slightly higher than in store prices. For example, a gallon of Publix Milk, which was $2.99 at the store was $3.35 through the service at the time we checked. Publix Half and Half ws $2.19 instead the $1.97 store price. Plastic cups were $3.65 instead of $3.29. The net result for an order which cost $30.20 before tax at the actual store was $33.86 through Instacart. We were unable to order the wrap which is custom made at the deli, so it was not counted this in the comparison. After adding the 10% service fee, the cost through Instacart $37.25 excluding the delivery fee (let's assume $7). So, including delivery, the cost was $44.25 through the service versus $33.86, about $10 extra.

It is apparent that Instacart is not meant to be a bargain service. For individuals who, perhaps, work long hours and have little quality family time, it is a time-saving convenience. For individuals with health or transportation issues, it is a viable option. For those who wish to help another person in need or send a gift of food, it's a way to buy groceries and have them delivered to their address (anywhere in the country as long as the address is in an Instacart delivery area). Finally, for some, it is simply a luxury that can be afforded.

Instacart is not for everyone and only time will tell if their model for expansion catches on where some have faltered. The fee and structure information in the article is compiled from a phone interview with Instacart and from their online site. Those fees may change after publication. For more information they may be found at instacart.com.

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