I tried to get my groceries delivered. Then I gave up.

It’s hot out. It’s so hot that Arrive’s members are skipping their community rideshare and paratransit vans—skipping waiting outside in the heat—in favor of an air-conditioned car picking them up and taking them to one of the few things we can’t put off: grocery-shopping.

I started wondering about this, as I dispatched another car to the Safeway. Why don’t more of our members just order their groceries online (or convince their kids to do it for them) and get them delivered to their front doors?

I’m hot, too, so I thought I’d try it for myself. Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s not cheap. It costs $12.95 for home delivery unless you spend $150. Most of our customers who get rides to their local grocery store pay a little more than that for their round-trips. Plus…

  • It’s really hard to comparison-shop. Scrolling through a screen of “plain yogurt” to look for the two brands you’re really choosing between is tough, and you miss out on those big yellow signs showing you what’s on sale. (The club prices are shown in a very small font below the item, even though—helpfully—club discounts are automatically applied to your total order.) It also means you don’t see what’s on special, so it’s tough to unearth the big bargains.

  • Your prices aren’t guaranteed. You pay the amount that the items cost on the day they’re delivered, so something might be on sale now, when you place the order, but not on sale Wednesday, when it’ll be plucked from the shelves and delivered to your front door.

  • You need to plan ahead. When I did my shopping mid-morning on a weekday, the day’s delivery windows were already full, so the earliest I could get my groceries was the next day. Plus, to choose your delivery window you’re confronted with a chart that looks like this:

(I panicked. Could I commit to being awake at 10 pm?)

I didn’t end up placing my order, despite working really hard to add $49 worth of items to my cart to qualify for the free delivery offered to first-time customers. I’ll bet Amazon Fresh offers a better online experience—and faster delivery—but I wasn’t willing to commit to paying $25/month to try it out. Instead, I waited until the heat of the day had waned a little bit, cranked up my air conditioning, and wandered the aisles of my local Safeway myself.