/ 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 live on the ground floor of a small block of sheltered flats, occupied by infirm, elderly and terminally ill people.
I have terminal cancer and a much reduced immune system and little strength.
I have been shielding since March and have been ordering my groceries from Sainsbury’s.
No problem until last Saturday when the driver refused to come into the main door. I told him my health problems and the fact that my front door was 60 yards from the main door and I was incapable of carrying my shopping so would have to use his barrow. Oh no he said that’s not allowed!!
After much discussion he deigned to agree, with great reluctance to bring it to my door.
Tesco and Iceland deliver to this building, even to the second floor.
I have written to the CEO of Sainsbury’s to complain, I’ve yet to receive a reply.

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.

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!

James says:
6 February 2021

You pay to have the hassle of shopping done for you. You pay to have it picked and delivered, you are not paying for someone to injure their back. It is the recipients choice to live in a flat and they have to deal with the cons I’m afraid.

The information that Colette has mentioned can be found on this page, James: https://help.sainsburys.co.uk/help/delivery-collection/delivery-service-information Unless there is a good reason an advertised service should be provided.

I hope that the company providestraining so that staff do not injure themselves and allows them enough time to complete the more challenging deliveries without rushing.

If, in normal times, the fit customer is able to carry shopping to an upstairs flat without injury, I’m sure a fit delivery driver can. The terms clearly say they will be delivered to the front door of a flat (not to the entrance door of a block of flats). I guess some people have bad days or just don’t really want to do the job for which they are paid. Hopefully an exception.

Biffy says:
7 March 2021

Hello I am a Tesco delivery driver, during the pandemic. I will always go out of my way to help anyone, and normally take shopping to front doors of flats, even helping vulnerable customers unloading into their kitchen. If it’s 5 flights of stairs I need to go up so be it. However if it is just 20 cases of water that has been ordered (20 trips up and down the stairs), I don’t think anyone is capable of that(delivery drivers are not normally body builders!). And don’t forget we have to do it on multiple deliveries. So just order what is necessary and think of others.

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.

I have tested positive for covid which was inevitable
due to my work. I dont know anyone in the area that i could ask to support me so i ordered groceries online from tescos (i have never ordered groceries online before). I live on the first floor and when I asked the driver to please bring it to my door as i cant come out, he started moaning loudly ( something about some of us have to work) but brought it up anyway and threw it by my front door. It was 2 bags. My issues:
he could have politely told me no.
He should NOT have thrown my shopping on the floor.
Surely it is a higher risk to the public if I have to come out to the communal areas.
He was not wearing a mask.
I absolutely understand they must be overworked but most of us are at the moment. I havent seen my daughter and wont for another week. Im exshausted, sick and emotional so it really got to me.

Hi Marianthi – I hope you recover soon. I suggest you contact Tesco and ask for advice before you next place an order. If they won’t help you could try a different supermarket that delivers in your area. Best of luck.

S. Smith says:
29 January 2021

A Sainsbury’s delivery driver refused to bring my groceries up one flight of stairs. This is the first time its happened in 10 years! Sainsbury’s need to get their act together and confirm what the rules are about this. I won’t be using them again.

Sainsbury’s delivery driver refused to bring my groceries beyond the 1st floor even though their website says they will deliver to door. I called customer service and was told that this is at the discretion of the driver and I should be considerate in the times we live in. I will find a more considerate supermarket 🙂

If delivery to the door in multi-storey properties is at the discretion of the driver then this should be stated on the website so the customer can make arrangements accordingly.

I don’t see why the delivery vans could not have a stair-climbing truck on board to cope with upstairs deliveries.

James says:
6 February 2021

Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda all now say at main entrance so you’re not given a huge choice.

James – The Groceries section of the Sainsbury’s website has the following information: “We will always deliver to the front door of your house or flat”.

The path to that information is >Home >Delivery & Collection >All you need to know about our delivery service >FAQs >How do I check where you deliver to? >Receiving your grocery delivery >paragraph 3.

Ray says:
6 June 2021

Where would they store this stair climbing truck?

Ray – Stair-climbing trucks [or barrows] have three pairs of wheels at the base arranged in a triangle that rotates around an axle. Several totes can be stacked on them. They are quite compact and many delivery vehicles carry one. The driver pulls them up the stairs backwards and each of the pairs of wheels engages on the next step in turn. Many residential apartment buildings of three storeys or less do not have lifts so such a device is an advantage. If the groceries are left downstairs and not packed in bags [as is now the normal practice] it is a considerable inconvenience for any residents who are elderly or infirm to bring their supplies upstairs making several trips.

This is the biggest rubbish I’ve ever heard I am a sainsburys delivery driver and we deliver to the 3rd floor yes a couple drivers have left shopping at the bottom that has been reported and FIRED this is just a blog trash post about sainsburys from one un happy customer

Charlie – Are you saying these problems never happen?

Like the other major supermarkets, Sainsbury’s have had to hire a large number of extra drivers to cope with the huge increase in on-line orders; some of the new staff might not be fully apprised of the company’s standards. I don’t think dismissal is the right answer for such a misdemeanour.

The Sainsbury’s drivers who deliver to our house could not be more helpful and obliging. I think they have learnt that customer satisfaction is extremely rewarding.

Your comment reminds me that we do occasionally see a “blog trash post” on this site, but S. Smith’s and E’s are not in that category.

What we don’t hear, as in many Convos, is how many missions have been carried out properly. It is natural to complain, but not compliment, because we expect things to be done correctly. I am aware that I am occasionally at odds with something that Which? says or does and rarely compliment them, but that is not negativity, simply that I expect them to do their job properly.