Daily Archives: April 17, 2020

Weis drops the ball

My wife and I are both in the “at risk” group regarding COVID-19. So we’ve been getting grocery delivery at home. Our closest grocery store is a Weis Market. This is where we used to get our weekly groceries. On any regular day the service we can expect from Weis is mediocre to non-existent but since the COVID-19 crisis has begun, they Weis has stepped down to provide even worse service than usual.

Our Experience

For our very first grocery delivery, we tried Weis. At the time, they had temporarily shut down their Weis 2 Go service and were directing customers to Shipt. We tried Shipt and regretted it. Our shopper declared many items to be out of stock. The store is 5 minutes away from our house, and I immediately ran over there to check whether the things that were out of stock were really out of stock. About half of the supposedly “out of stock” items were in fact in stock. I cancelled service as soon as possible. I write “as soon as possible” because Shipt did not make it easy to cancel. I had to ask four times before my cancellation request went through.

Our next two deliveries were done through Walmart. We were overall satisfied with Walmart’s service. On one occasion, Walmart went above and beyond to make good. They replaced one item in our order that had gone out of stock. However, it turned out the replacement was of terrible quality (and it was Walmart’s own brand). When I initiated a return through the web site, the site told me I’d have to return the item in store. Since the whole point of getting delivery was to avoid the store, that was a no-go. I contacted customer service through Walmart’s chat system. I suggested mailing back the item but the CSR offered a refund without having me return anything. Wow! Talk about customer service! (And what a contrast with my experience dealing with Shipt’s customer service! With Walmart, a single CSR took care of my issue. No fuss whatsoever. With Shipt, I had to deal with four different CSRs before they finally cancelled my service!!!)

The one sore point with Walmart’s service is that there are some things they just don’t seem to stock. For instance: margarine. You can get dozens of varieties of butter, but no margarine.

After our two Walmart deliveries, we went back to Weis. The reason was that at that time Walmart seemed to be having provisioning issues and it was difficult to figure when our delivery might happen. Also, Weis had reopened their Weis 2 Go service. Boy, did we regret going back to Weis.

Weis 2 Go is Unreliable, Here’s Why

Now, after two deliveries through Weis 2 Go, we’re going back to Walmart, because Weis is just too unreliable.

An Aspirational Inventory

When you shop on Weis’ web site, there is no indication whatsoever as to the availability of the items. I call the inventory that is presented through the shopping site “aspirational”: “We’d like to sell you this thing, if it turns out that it is available when we put your order together.”

Having more of a feel for things now after two deliveries, I swear Weis will let you put in your basket things that you have almost no chance of being able to get because they are chronically out of stock. You can’t tell from the interface.

Mind you, it can also happen with Walmart that things we order become backorder before our order is put together. However, when Walmart is at its worst, Walmart is still better than Weis, when Weis is at its best. In our last order with Weis, one third of the order was backorder. This is, bar none, the highest proportion of an order we’ve had be backorder.

No Substitutions, Except When Weis Feels Like It

Weis says they won’t do substitutions during the COVID-19 crisis… except that they do substitutions anyway, except when they don’t… End result, they apply substitutions randomly.

With Walmart, I’m always in control. And the one time Walmart messed up a substitution, they made good. (See above.)

Weis Disallows Changes to an Order, Once Submitted

Weis does not allow you to edit an order once it has been submitted. On the other hand, Walmart allows us to edit an order up until about 1am on the day of delivery. This is HUGE! If you go to Weis or Walmart’s web site and checkout, the first delivery slot available will be about 6-7 days in the future. With Weis, once the order is submitted, it cannot be changed, so during those 6-7 days if you find you need something, you are forced to put in a new order (which will be delivered 6-7 days after you submit it). With Walmart, you can just add to your existing order.

Walmart actually generally allows you to edit your order. You want to change what may be substituted? Go for it. You don’t need some item after all? Remove it. There are limits, but it is still much better than Weis’ inflexible approach.

And the Winner Is…

Walmart, of course. We tried Weis through Shipt, and it was a disaster. We tried Weis, again, through its own Weis 2 Go service, and it was a disaster again.