/ Shopping

Stairs? We still want online shopping delivered to the door

Man carrying package upstairs

Do you order from Sainsbury’s online and live on the first floor? If so, you may find yourself carrying your own shopping up the stairs from now on. The question is, will this force you to take your custom elsewhere?

Sainsbury’s has told delivery staff that if customers live on the first floor and there’s no lift they can leave your shopping at the bottom of the stairs. This is ‘to ensure the health and safety of our customers and drivers are protected’.

Although Sainsbury’s rules don’t dictate this so you may find they’ll accommodate you, which makes the whole thing a bit of a lottery. But as an avid online shopper who lives on the first floor I’ll be ordering elsewhere from now on.

The more we shop online the more the fault lines between the ‘go out of their way’ companies and the ‘barely going far enough’ companies develop. And this definitely isn’t limited to supermarkets.

My John Lewis bed was delivered on time and, as I was staring at it in bewilderment, also assembled for me – a clear case of going the extra mile in the name of good service.

But many companies aren’t like this – we’ve heard stories about parcels left out in the rain, left with neighbours you don’t speak to and even thrown over fences. None of this necessarily thwarts the convenience of online shopping but it’s not improving the experience either.

What’s your worst delivery experience? Do you think Sainsbury’s should deliver to your door or are we expecting too much from the poor delivery staff?


I shop from asda and I have those days when they decide not to and days when they decide to deliver to my door. I live on the third floor and I think if it says “to your door” then it’s the door to your apartment or house. I remember when I started online shopping, there were two people on the deliveries. This made it easier for the shopping to be taken upstairs. So this thing of just having one person has brought the problems. It’s not the drivers fault but the stores fault. They should care more about their employees and also their customers. They are busy cutting jobs and making our lives harder by doing that. I think that if there were more people then it would be better, especially if it’s delivery of heavy products. Plus we have to pay for delivery too so that should count. But with that said we should be understanding of each other and be able to work together. Most of the times these days I help the deliverman with the carrying so it makes it easier for both of us. Even though I’m small and skinny I think sharing the load evenly gets every to the point they want to be and both will be happy and satisfied.

I work as a delivery driver for a supermarket and the main problem is the fact that some customers order stupid amounts of heavy products (bottled water, rice etc) and expect the driver to carry it up to the third floor which is why drivers will sometimes refuse to carry it up. Technically we only have to deliver to the main door of your building not your flat!

Yvonne Hyde says:
3 December 2016

I live on the 1st Floor Sainsbury’s have always bought my shopping up just 1 flight of stairs although a new driver appears shy and unable to provide this service???? where is customer service nowadays??? wrote to Sainsbury’s just got back a standard letter dah de dah de dah a rubbish reply well Sainsbury’s you can swivel on it disgruntled customer ,,

Sweetfa says:
7 December 2016

[This comment has been removed for breaching our community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/, which clearly states that we will remove any comments that others might find offensive, threatening or abusive. Thanks, mods.]

Simon says:
7 August 2019

My absolute objection as a home delivery driver for a supermarket, is being told, not asked, but told that I HAVE to carry their shopping upstairs, all while the customer stands and watches. In those instances, it gets placed inside the doorway… We’re not here for abuse or to be treated like staff or to be your personal lacky.. Very rarely to we even get thanked for making upto 10 trips to your door,.. You tip a waitress for just bringing your plate to the table, but totally ignore us drivers.
We have a strict timescale in which to make deliveries, negotiate through traffic and we’re only given a certain amount of time to actually make your delivery. If you expect us to carry your order up flights of stairs, no lift, and possibly making a further trip to the van for more, we’re going to end up running late to the subsequent deliveries, and the run the risk of getting shouted at for being late.
This job used to be fun, not anymore.. because of people’s self absorbed, self righteous and selfish attitudes towards home delivering . To me, delivery to the door, is delivery to the front door of the building. You chose to live in a flat, don’t make someone else risk injury, carrying your stuff because of YOUR life choice.
We’re not covered by insurance or health and safety by carrying into your property, for a start!
If we get injured in any way, we get no compensation or afforded any time off sick.. I’ve been injured twice, and at one place, I was expected to carry shopping up stairs, which had very loose carpets. I refused and left the shopping inside by the door.

Some of your concerns should be addressed to your employer, Simon. They could make it clear to their customers what service to expect and provide you with cards to show to any customers who are more demanding.

I’m hopping mad about what happened to me today. I live in a first floor flat and was expecting to have a treadmill delivered. Sure enough, the couriers turned up, but refused to take it up the communal stairs to my flat due to social distancing regulations!!!As this treadmill weighs almost 80 kilos, there was NO WAY I could manage to move it myself. In the end I had to contact the seller and ask for it to be returned with a full refund. To be fair to the seller, they were extremely apologetic about it, but said there was nothing they could do because they couldn’t insist on the courier taking items much further than the front door to the building. I really don’t blame them, but quite frankly, it beggars belief that couriers are allowed to get away with such shoddy service, pandemic or not.

Joan Marks says:
9 September 2020

I am disabled and have been a Sainsburys customer for years as am unable to do my own shopping. Now all of a sudden it seems my groceries have to be left downstairs , no more bags being used so what am I to do? I was lucky one time as the man painting the outside brought them up for me and another time my neighbour downstairs stepped in, but if there is no-one around I suppose they’ll be left on the floor until someone turns up. It’s not my neighbour’s place to deliver my groceries, that’s what I pay Sainsburys for.

Colette says:
9 September 2020

Well I have just had my first experience of a fit, rude, big mouth delivery driver refusing to deliver upstairs (1st floor) as he “is not allowed to”. When I told him this is a first as everyone else does, it’s called customer service and what we pay for, he said “they shouldn’t be doing this as they are not allowed to”.

Really? Isn’t this the point online shopping, for most, as they can’t carry up the stairs? Yes I can shop myself with a trolley, take Tolley to car, pack in boot, drive home (with products that are not expiring the next day), but my problem is the stairs, as I have back and shoulder issues (back problems, pinched nerve and rotator cuff injury).

This is why I buy online. The stairs. So how come their website states under the heading of “Providing a safe delivery”…

“We will always deliver to the front door of your house or flat… (He delivered to front of building)

“follow social distancing guidelines… (He didn’t adhere to this and also no mask)

“Our Driver will deliver to any floor of your residential building providing it is safe to do so…. (Again, front door of building)

I know I’ve wanted to apply for many of the delivery driver jobs but can’t and don’t due to back and shoulder injury. Also the adverts quite clearly state you need to be fit and able to carry blah blah…

No where under that heading does it state “at drivers discretion” … This is now simply an excuse anyone can use from now on …

And as this is the first time I have experienced this in all my years of online shopping, I will also be boycotting Sainsbury’s.

I will bet your bottom dollar that the executive office staff would be the first to complain if this happened to their elderly mother or father! Or even a disabled family member.

I think it’s a disgrace!

goodbye JS!

Gordon Bangs says:
16 October 2020

As a delivery driver for a super market too. Please understand that although this seems very personal to you. The not going into enclosed residential areas is not to be selfish or lazy. But as we touch the outside of the van and sometimes have to use hedges for toilet breaks without hand wash facilities the desire to enter buildings is not through lazyness but as we have been working throughout the whole covid situation and no doupt will continue to do so we don’t want to pass on anything we may or may not have picked up this is about keeping us and our families safe aswell as you and yours. If we pick something up in a building we will be spreading it to all the customers we come into contact with from that moment on. Don’t forget we are on the go wind rain snow and high winds. Even the Royal mail site and many gov. Com site say delivery to /main door. Is our safety not as important as yours?. How would you feel if you got an email saying you driver has been rested positive… And been to your enclosed front door other than an external door. Many have got emails informing you to meet the driver with bags to unload your shopping into as we no longer provide bags as a non transference safety protocol…. And if you draw on a rubber glove with a fletip look how many times it transfers to other items… We’re trying to keep people safe.. We come to your home so you don’t have to go out to the shop. Surely our safety to keep providing this convenient service must be seen as equally if not more Important as we have more Co tact with other people in 1 day than most in 4 weeks

I can understand your concerns, Gordon. Anyone who cannot manage on their own can ask for help if there is a Covid support group in their area: https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/ (Just put in your postcode) If not, there may be neighbours prepared to help.