Amazon Pantry Shows that Amazon Doesn’t Know How to Do Groceries

As part of Amazon’s Prime Day, the company had an offer of £10 off a £50 Amazon Pantry order. I had never used this service, so, with the extra sweetener of a saving, my partner and I pulled out our iPads, and found £50 worth of groceries to order. The order was delivered today, and it was a bit of a mess. We won’t be doing it again.

To start with, the order process is confusing. When you search for certain items on the Amazon website, some “grocery” items are sold as are books, CDs, and headphones, and others are Amazon Pantry only. So you may find certain items that you want to buy that you need to order using Amazon’s regular service. This is a problem because Amazon Pantry uses a fixed-size box, and each item displays the percentage of the box size it uses. For example:

pantry

This large bag of tea takes up 16.1% of the box; or so they say. I’d say it takes up less than 10% of the box, maybe as little as 5%. The overall sizes certainly include packing material for some items, such as glass jars or bottles, but Amazon over-estimates sizes. My box, which was around 95% full when I ordered was, in reality, less than three-quarters full, even with the packing material. Since it costs £2.99 for delivery, plus £0.99 for each additional box, you obviously don’t want to order 10% of a new box. So you limit yourself to one full box, or two, if you’re ordering a lot.

And these are big boxes: at 72 x 48 x 36 cm, they can hold a lot. Which means they are heavy. We didn’t order much heavy stuff, but there were a few bottles of cider and olive oil, and some jars of pickles, and I wouldn’t have been able to carry the box from the front door – where the delivery person left it – to the kitchen. I had to open the box and carry things by hand.

Sure, this isn’t a big deal, but compared with the way supermarkets deliver here in the UK, it’s lacking. We don’t often shop online, but when we do, the delivery people bring groceries in plastic carry boxes into your kitchen, give you time to take them out, and check everything on your invoice while they are there. There was no invoice at all with my Amazon Pantry order, so I had to go to my computer to check that nothing was missing.

In short, this was a very negative experience. Amazon has made this too complicated, and the reception process is simply wrong. Perhaps this works well if you need to order lots of diapers, but for everyday groceries, it’s not worth the hassle.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Pantry Shows that Amazon Doesn’t Know How to Do Groceries

  1. “Perhaps this works well if you need to order lots of diapers, but for everyday groceries, it’s not worth the hassle.”

    Yup. That’s exactly how I use Pantry, and it saves me a bunch of money. I’ve got 3 regular use items that are available in Pantry for significantly less than they ever were on regular Amazon, or in local stores. So I fill up a box with those items.

    Plus, I often get an offer at normal Amazon checkout to get a credit for free Pantry box if I forgo 2 day / same day shipping, which I’ll use if I don’t need the item immediately.

    Finally, at least in the US, Amazon has been rolling out “AmazonFresh”, which is far more like the kind of real grocery delivery service you’d like Pantry to be…

  2. “Perhaps this works well if you need to order lots of diapers, but for everyday groceries, it’s not worth the hassle.”

    Yup. That’s exactly how I use Pantry, and it saves me a bunch of money. I’ve got 3 regular use items that are available in Pantry for significantly less than they ever were on regular Amazon, or in local stores. So I fill up a box with those items.

    Plus, I often get an offer at normal Amazon checkout to get a credit for free Pantry box if I forgo 2 day / same day shipping, which I’ll use if I don’t need the item immediately.

    Finally, at least in the US, Amazon has been rolling out “AmazonFresh”, which is far more like the kind of real grocery delivery service you’d like Pantry to be…

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