Intense Demand Continues to Inundate Grocery Delivery Services

NBC Universal, Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic is sending stay-at-home shoppers to grocery delivery websites, inundating those services with orders as they struggle to keep up with unprecedented demand.

Both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery are now invitation-only for new customers, Instacart said it has "unusually long wait times," and Stop & Shop's Peapod delivery slots are scarce.

"I get a text and it says, 'Your order has been canceled,'" said Joanne Lucas of Randolph, Massachusetts.

Lucas ordered nearly $300 worth of groceries from Wegmans in Westwood. She placed her pickup order using Instacart a week in advance.

But about an hour before her scheduled pickup time, the service canceled her order.

She called the supermarket, which referred her to Instacart.

"She said, 'Well, oh, we had no shoppers in the area.' So, at this point, I was fuming, and I said, 'And you just find out an hour before my order is supposed to be picked up?'"

Lucas, who decided to go inside the store on busy Easter weekend to do her own shopping, the exact scenario she tried to avoid, said it's going to take up to two weeks to get a refund.

"That was my first experience and my last experience ordering food online," she said.

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