Magically delicious

I recently discovered the new Groceries section on Amazon. It’s in Beta and it sells, well, groceries, obviously.

I find this idea so weird, and I’ve been struggling to put my finger on why. I’ve narrowed it down to two things. Firstly, I never really got on board with the third party aspect of Amazon. I’ve actually only used it to buy books from – both physical and now in Kindle form – and they’ve always come direct from Amazon, rather than any third party sellers. I’m sure it works perfectly well, but adding another merchant into the mix confuses me.

With that in mind, the second thing is that I just picture Amazon as a fabulous and enormous warehouse, stacked with paper goods, and Kindles. This does not sound conducive to a good food environment – particularly for fresh foods.

I posted a message on Twitter about my concerns, and Lisa replied pointing out that it would be weird not knowing when your shopping was going to turn up. I hadn’t even considered the delivery aspect of it.

The only thing that makes it remotely appealing to me is that they sell Lucky Charms. They’re dispatched from American Soda, though, who I’ve been keeping an eye on anyway. I’d be tempted if it wasn’t £5 for one box. Stupid leprechaun not selling it in this country anymore.

I’m getting off the point. Amazon. Groceries. Good idea or no?

Update: My dad sent me a link to this interesting article about the Amazon shopping experience from someone who actually had a go. Far from being simple, finding what you actually want to buy appears to be a problem, and the costs add up quicker then you think. And then:

Yet my problems have still barely begun. My inbox is soon heaving with emails from Amazon with endless updates on my individual consignments.

It’s like being an air traffic controller as I try to track what is arriving, and when, so I can plan meals.

Online shopping should be liberating — it’s ideal for busy people with busy lives. But waiting for the next delivery, I hardly dare pick up the phone in case the doorbell rings.

And I’m too scared to go out. On one day alone, I receive five packages, all from different couriers. My home is turned into a waste disposal site, as I’m knee-deep in cardboard and bubblewrap.

Ohhhh dear.

8 thoughts on “Magically delicious

  1. It’s weird somehow isn’t it?

    I haven’t ever had a problem with the extra sellers though. You don’t really even need to pay that much attention to who it is there are lots of good bargains to be had and Amazon will sort things out if anything goes wrong.

  2. I’ve bought a couple of things from third party sellers on Amazon and it has worked ok, but somehow I always feel it a bit safer buying direct from Amazon and take that option if I can.

    The main argument against getting groceries from Amazon is that they are EXPENSIVE. I think it will be worthwhile only if they have a hard to find item you can’t get anywhere else.

  3. Can’t comment on the groceries but I’ve had reasonable luck with third party vendors on Amazon. My only real beef with them is that most of them don’t qualify for the “>$25 ships free” deal. You have to watch out for exactly what the “sold by” line says as far as I can tell. If it says “Sold by Amazon” you’re good, and if it says “Sold by SomeOneElse” you usually have to pay shipping extra. However, if it says “Sold by SomeOneElse and fulfilled by Amazon it usually seems to qualify for free shipping.

  4. More related to the title than the post, this is corny as anything but I laughed 🙂

    I never would’ve imagined Amazon would sell food. Like you I visualise it as a big warehouse, with books and DVDs and things. Good to get the more obscure things I suppose.

  5. Interesting post. I was wondering how the Amazon grocery shopping experience might work. From what you say it seems a bit convoluted. The idea of multiple unpredictable drop-offs of shopping sounds like far too much trouble to me.

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