News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Uber-like grocery delivery service debuts in (most of) Maple Leaf

May 21st, 2014 · 1 Comment

Uber uses a smart phone app to connect paying passengers to private drivers who deliver them to their destination.

As of this month, a similar app will connect you  to a personal grocery shopper who will deliver apples, fresh meat, even beer, to your home.

This could be of interest in Maple Leaf, which technically now has no grocery stores within the neighborhood. Instacart will service most of the city south of Northeast 100th Street.  The full map is here.

Instacart contracts with private shoppers who buy your groceries or other needs from local stores like QFC, Costco or Whole Foods – and deliver them using their own car in as little as an hour.

From a company press release:

While Amazon Fresh operates in Seattle, delivery times are limited and same-day delivery is available only to customers who order very early in the morning and don’t mind receiving their orders in the evening. In addition, customers are limited to whatever is carried in the local Amazon Fresh warehouse. By contrast, Instacart can deliver in as little as one hour, and its inventory consists of hundreds of thousands of items carried in neighborhood grocery stores – including fresh produce, national brands, store brands and alcohol.

One-hour delivery costs $14.99. The company says most customers select two-hour delivery for $3.99. The minimum order size is $10.

According to this detailed (and entertaining) story in today’s New York Times, Instacart also makes money by marking up store prices.

It also pays comparatively well, the Times says:

Instacart’s shoppers earn from $15 to $30 an hour, depending on how quickly they deliver people’s food. That’s quite a high wage considering the job does not require a college degree, is part time and can be done during flexible hours.

And it may dodge many of the battles that face Uber and other driving services:

Unlike ride-sharing or apartment rental services, Instacart isn’t intruding upon a regulated industry, and its service poses little risk to its customers’ health or property, so it faces few of the complications that have dogged other sharing companies. Because it expands the customer base for physical stores, it has also been welcomed by some grocery chains as a potential bulwark against the wider roll-out of Amazon’s delivery service.

Instacart started in San Francisco and has since expanded to Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Austin, San Jose and Washington D.C.

Our news partner The Seattle Times has a story about the roll-out here which includes this useful information: “Because Instacart has purchased Costco memberships its shoppers can use, its customers can select grocery items from the warehouse club even if they aren’t Costco members. (Instacart doesn’t plan to make Costco’s nongrocery items, such as flat-panel TVs or patio furniture, available to customers.)”

The vast majority of Instacart customers select two-hour delivery for a charge of just
$3.99. One-hour delivery is also available, for $14.99. The minimum order size is just
$10.The vast majority of Instacart customers select two-hour delivery for a charge of just

$3.99. One-hour delivery is also available, for $14.99. The minimum order size is just


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