For those of you who have ever been on diet, I am sure you are painfully aware of how expensive it is to eat really healthy foods. Everything that is good for you, seems to be so much more expensive than the processed foods. And just the task of procuring healthy food seems so monumental at times, especially when you are trying to save some money.
On average, at our house we spend about $400-$500 per week on groceries, and household items. Sure we have tried to reduce that cost by joining Costco, and buying in quantity – problem is we need two refrigerators and a huge pantry to store all of that, and we have neither. And we hate going to Costco. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
Or we will shop for all our toiletries and spices and dried goods at Target, then make a trek over to Whole Foods to buy the meat, and produce. The meat at Whole Foods is expensive, but it is antibiotic free, non-GMO, and you can’t beat the freshness of the seafood.
But all these little stops, at the various stores, take up most of our Sunday. So, in an effort to minimize the amount of time we spent grocery shopping, I started ordering from Vons (or Safeway) Grocery Delivery service. And it seemed like things were going well. The delivery guy would come to our door, hand us our groceries, we would put them away and BAMM, we were done with shopping (well, except for the trip to Whole Foods). But, over the last several months I have noticed the final bill for the delivery from Vons has been creeping up and up. And then yesterday, I had a total fit.
Our bill was $193.00 and out of that order, there were only 2 packs of meat. What the heck? And I thought I had ordered the 15 pounds of chicken – my boys need for their meal preps (they are both preparing for some type of bodybuilding competition in September). But the chicken didn’t arrive, and it wasn’t on the final bill, and so I started studying the bill to see why it was so darned expensive. And then things didn’t start adding up (literally and figuratively).
And the I became really angry!
So, I called Vons Grocery Deliver Customer Service and asked them what was going on? This was after I had done some research and found Vons had already had two Class Action suits filed against them for overcharging online customers, and I think the most recent one, they had to pay out over $30 million – I never saw any of that, nor did I receive a letter these suits had been filed, although I have been a customer of this delivery service on and off for years (http://classactionlawsuitsinthenews.com/class-action-lawsuit-complaints/safeway-class-action-lawsuit-complaint-filed-on-behalf-of-safeway-com-grocery-purchasers/). The Customer Service lady was very nice, and put me on hold, while she consulted with the Supervisor. She then came back and gave me a reasonable explanation of why my bill had been so astronomical even though I had only ordered two packs of meat. I thanked her for looking into this, and politely said I would be delving further into this on my own and I would never, ever use their grocery delivery service, and she said, “Have a nice day”.
And I did have a nice day – investigating Vons. I went to one of their brick and mortar stores and did some investigating, armed with my I-Phone camera and my receipt from the day’s delivery. And what I found was very interesting, alarming and disappointing – because I like Vons, and their delivery service.
Here is the copy of my Order Confirmation. Now, it is kind of my fault, because I honestly thought the 15 pounds of chicken was included in this bill, and I didn’t really look as closely as I should have. Please note – all the junk food is for my husband – he needs to eat too, and hates healthy stuff (well, except for the Ovaltine, me and my oldest use that).
|1.00||Pepperidge Farm Cookies Sweet & Simple Bordeaux – 6.75 Oz||$3.00|
|1.00||Heinz Ketchup Tomato – 20 Oz||$2.50|
|1.00||Canada Dry Tonic Water – 1 Liter||$1.25|
|4.00||DASANI Purified Water – 24-16.9 Fl. Oz.||$22.36|
|1.00||Pik-Nik Shoestring Potatoes Original – 9 Oz||$2.50|
|1.00||Quaker Simply Granola Cereal Oats, Honey and Almonds – 28 Oz||$6.79|
|2.00||Quaker Oats Quick – 42 Oz||$6.00|
|1.00||Sweet N Low Sugar Substitute Packets – 3.5 Oz||$4.09|
|1.00||Hinode Medium Grain White Rice – 5 Lb||$4.99|
|2.00||Milk-Bone Dog Treats Dog Biscuits Small – 24 Oz||$8.98|
|1.00||Horizon Organic Half & Half – 16 Fl. Oz.||$3.79|
|1.00||Ore-Ida Golden Crinkle Cut French Fries – 32 Oz||$2.50|
|2.00||Stouffers Classics Creamed Chipped Beef – 11 Oz||$4.00|
|1.00||White Castle Frozen Food Cheeseburger Microwaveable – 11 Oz||$4.99|
|2.00||1.30 LB 80% Lean Ground Beef Market 20% Fat||$15.57|
|1.00||Rainbo Hamburger Buns – 12 Oz||$2.50|
|1.00||Jif Simply Peanut Butter Creamy – 17.3 Oz||$4.29|
|2.00||Ovaltine Powder Drink Chocolate Malt – 12 Oz||$12.58|
|1.00||Natures Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread – 20 Oz||$2.50|
|8.00||Lucerne Best Of The Egg 100% Liquid Egg Whites – 16 Oz||$26.32|
|1.00||Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent Liquid 2x Concentrate Clean Burst – 150 Fl. Oz.||$5.99|
|1.00||C&H Sugar Granulated White Pure Cane – 4 Lb||$3.29|
|1.00||Planters NUT-trition Nut Mix Wholesome – 6-1.25 Oz||$4.99|
|2.00||O Organics Organic Eggs Grade A Large Brown – 18 Count||$13.98|
|1.00||McCormick Grinder Black Pepper – 1 Oz||$2.00|
|1.00||Bounty Paper Towels Big Rolls Full Sheet – 2 Roll||$5.59|
Estimated total* $184.78
It turns out the prices on the Order Confirmation Sheet include the Safeway/Vons Savings card discounts, but my receipt from the delivery shows a completely different price on some items. I dragged my husband to Vons, and while he oohed and ahhed over the huge packs of blackberries, and ate some fried chicken, I took pictures of the prices in the store, and in some cases they were significantly lower than those on the online ordering site. My biggest issues are with the bottled water (yes, we drink bottled water – I know water is free from the tap, but it tastes weird – so don’t give me a hard time), the egg whites and a couple of other things.
Click on the photos (actually just for the egg whites – I managed to get all the other captions to show up) to find the store price, versus the online price. And in the case of the peanut butter, I ordered a 17.3oz jar, received a 15.5oz jar and was charged the same price. Ovaltine – I received 2 for $12.58 ($6.29/jar) – in the store Ovaltine was listed as $5.49/jar.
Bottom line is – Vons is overcharging their online/delivery customers. I just checked on a few of the items I ordered (some of the prices were the same), but I suspect if one did an item by item audit of all the things available for ordering online, the results might reveal the overcharging is rampant.
I have included a photo of the receipt upon delivery – it tells a whole different story than my Order Confirmation sheet, so you can see the difference.
And some of you will say, “Well, they have to make some money for delivering groceries to you.” and that would be a valid an argument if they didn’t already charge me a delivery fee, and besides I choose to shop at Vons because they do deliver – they shouldn’t be padding their online prices. I could shop elsewhere, but I like the convenience factor – until I did my little investigation. Of course, I could just buy everything that is discounted with the Vons/Safeway savings card, but I would still get ripped off because there are things I need that are not discounted, such as egg whites, water and Ovaltine. And the 1.3 pounds of hamburger at $7.14/pack turned out to be $8.63 and $8.57. I asked the Customer Service lady about this, and she said the difference is because they can’t weigh the meat exactly and I said then why do you specify $7.14/pack for a 1.3 pound pack of ground beef (which to me seems like a pretty specific weight). She didn’t have an answer for that.
I honestly don’t know what to think about all of this. I am always so horrified when companies try and scam their customers. I suppose I have gone through life believing that everyone and every company is doing the right thing, being honest, serving their customers well and when I come across something like this, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach and start to believe everyone is out to get us. I don’t like that feeling at all. All I am trying to do is feed my family well, lose weight and be healthier. That’s it. Oh, and save a little time.