/ 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?

Han says:
26 April 2011

I use Ocado and Tesco online. Tesco are v mixed – if they are running late you might not hear about it and sometimes they can’t locate the drivers ! (I nearly had beans on toast for christmas day because of this – but in the end they came through for me).

As for bringing it to your door – I live on the SECOND floor with no life. Tesco and Ocado drivers have always obliged ALTHOUGH I was told off by a Tesco driver a couple of weeks ago who said I should write on my delivery instructions that I am on the 2nd floor witout a lift, as they are NOT ALLOWED to carry shopping over a certain weight upstairs…. so will prob be going for Ocado all the time now…

Han says:
26 April 2011

I of course meant no lift – not no life!!

Mrs JA Morris says:
28 April 2011

I use Tesco’s every week. Almost all of the delivery drivers are very good and bring my shopping through to my kitchen for me. I do live in a house and I am mobility impaired. However, I used to always use ASDA. They were great. Price wise and delivery drivers. But Christmas 2009 I had made my order to be delivered 24th Dec and it was accepted by ASDA. But, on the evening of the 23rd approx 8.30pm I received a telephone call to say that they would not be delivering my order as they could not access the computer. I asked if another store could, or maybe I could telephone my order to the store but was told I couldn’t do this. That was it, they just left me with nothing. It was only due to a friend that I was able to get any shopping at all. I wrote to their MD but never received a reply. Needless to say ASDA have never had a single penny from me since.

Nick says:
28 April 2011

I came home to find that John Lewis (yes, you read that right: John Lewis) had dumped the new pocket-sprung mattress in the hall & scarpered. According to my partner, who did the waiting in, they never offered…

I use Waitrose to deliver where I live now (1st floor) and have used Tesco and Sainsbury’s at a previous address on the 3rd floor with no problems at all. That said I live in an old tenement building in Glasgow and this style of building, with no lifts (they are Victorian buildings), are extremely common in Scottish cities.

John Lewis have delivered a washing machine and actually attached the pipes for me too – they offered! When I ordered some white goods for my kitchen (oven, fridge freezer and cooker hood) from a company in England I did warn them about the style of building and that they would need to deliver to the 1st floor with no lift. I mentioned this right at the start of the negotiations on price and they simply accounted for it. I still got a cheaper price than I could find anywhere else and that included the delivery.

I have noticed that one of the Waitrose delivery guys carries all my shopping up in one trip and the others make a couple of trips. I know they aren’t meant to carry it all at once as I asked one time when I had bought wine and bottled water – I knew how heavy that was going to be!

I use Tesco,Asda and also Sainsbury for online groceries and also live on a second floor of a Glasgow tenement and have nver had any problems .The guys either bring it up by carrying the bags or the bags are in crates . Any other couriers also bring parcels up and I would expect them to as do washing machine,fridhe and furniture deliveries .The only businesses that might not do it are Builders Merchants for stuff like Timber and plasterboard …even B+Q brought 8’x 4′ plasterboard sheets up …single handedly as well I should add…

I think that you should be able to specify if you need the goods delivered to your door. There may be many who, while they can live on the first or second floor of a block, may well have issues carrying heavy shopping all the way up the stairs. It does seem really annoying when companies issue a blanket ‘no, we won’t do it’, when others seem to have no problem.

As far as I’m concerned, if a company does a ‘home delivery’ service, they should provide just that – delivery to your home, whether that’s your doorstep or your living room depending on the item.

Just after I moved into my flat I experienced two of the worst deliveries ever. One: a freezer, for which I’d paid extra so they’d take the new one to the right place in my flat, and warned them that they’d have to take it down a flight of stairs into the cellar. Cue two delivery drivers tutting and sighing on arrival, telling me I was ‘fussy’ and ‘out of order’ and then bashing chunks of plaster out of my walls with the freezer to show their displeasure.

The other delivery was for two sofas, again I’d paid extra to have someone help me get them inside (I’m strong, but carrying a sofa on my own is beyond me), only to find that the driver didn’t have time in his busy schedule, so he just dumped them on the pavement. In the rain.

So yes, home delivery should mean ‘into my home.’ I don’t live on the pavement. Hmph.

Hobson2000 says:
27 April 2013

As a delivery driver each week myself or a collegue is expected to deliver to an address. The delivery contains very few groceries but many bulky items, water and alcohol in cans & bottles. Today it totalled 80Kg in 10 trays and the customer, who offers no assistance whatsoever lives on the 4th floor of a block of flats with no lift. This requires at leat 3 trips up and down the stairs. One trip up is bad enough with 2 trays if shopping but at least 3 each week without offering to lend a hand.

To add insult to injury & breathlessness the cowstomer complained that I trucked the delivery into the building leaving it between trips where it could be stolen. B?%*}H

We just got a fridge ”delivered” to our flat. We have informed currys and the deliver company ”knowhow” it is upstairs and they were fine with that,which is why we agreed for them to deliver it on a Monday.Two drivers showed up and said they will not take it upstairs as it is too heavy. I called the company they said there was nothing they can do and they can deliver it again and leave it outside our door. I am all for health and safety but surely a DELIVERY company should have equipment and man power to be able to deliver the goods themselves? I mean is it not what they are paid to do? DELIVER? Its like a firemen refusing to put out a fire cause it is too hot? My boyfriend took half day off for nothing , I spent all morning on the phone and we have no working fridge after waiting 2 weeks for it . Surely there is something someone can do about it? at least informing the customers they can not carry the goods they sell and to find alternative delivery company?

Paul Clough says:
9 May 2011

I’m afraid John Lewis must be slipping as we had two single beds delivered to our new home. Although they did carry the beds upstairs to the rooms, they weren’t assembled.

When I sked if they would be assembling the beds they said “we aren’t M&S” (M&S do assemble furniture and beds).

Worst experience has been with Royal Mail, one time they delivered a parcel (market ‘glass – fragile’) and my wife answered the door carrying our two week old son. When she asked if they coudl place the parcel on the ground he threww it past her onto the floor.

Again with Royal Mail, when delivering photographs marked very clearly do not bend, they promptly bent the envelop to get it through the letter box!

delivery driver says:
9 July 2011

I find it amazing that in this day and age where health and safety of everyone is looked after that you guys don’t care about drivers. who have perhaps ten to twenty deliveries in two to three hours and some of those deliveries are ten or more crates. No of course not. withhold your business until the driver has to walk up eight flights four times to get your shopping to you. Nor does the supermarket care either. They just want your business and care as much as you do about the driver. But what am i saying silly me. They are all low paid workers who cares about them. They do these jobs rather than be on the dole, not getting much more than if they stayed at home. So go on keep this kind of behavior going. Force the supermarkets to ignore our health.
I wonder what you guys, each and every one of you would do if people were trying to force YOUR health and safety to one side.
Kind Regards
Humble Driver

Mr Driver – you should be trained in safe handling techniques and supplied with carts which can be taken up stairs or whatever is needed to do the job safely. A lot of people who are mobility impaired rely on deliveries and lets be honest, there are safe ways of getting goods in and out of houses without breaking your back. The employer should be dealing with this and until they do consumers will vote with their wallets and choose the company who do proper deliveries.

Lubo says:
2 February 2016

Mr N what all people who are imobile or lazy to carry their shopping do before the internet era not that all would starve to death..?

NickP says:
14 December 2011

Your John Lewis bed was assembled in front of you? Golly! MY John Lewis mattress was dumped in the hall, with no documentation on mattress-case nor advice on how to get the best from it.

John Lewis is JUST AS VARIABLE as anyone else, in my experience.


cindy brown says:
12 April 2012

I have just read all the comments on this hom shopping well i am adriver who works for tesco home shopping and i get very angry with this grey area of flats. I have been doing this job since it started and over the years most new builds are flats with no lifts,now they were not a problem before because people did not drink masses of bottled water or order masses of multi pack cokes just as an example it is hard and when you get customers waiting up the top of the stairs and your greeted with remarks like bet you dont have to go to a gym or is it heavy and then they laugh well we have a few customers that live up the top and insist on coming down with bags to take their shopping and they tell us that they are grateful they dont have to walk around the store and we bring it to them and there is no need to struggle up stairs.most peolpe dont look at the safety of the driver and just their own needs yes its a job but is it worth knackering your back for then if your off sick or have to leave because of injury then your in the wrong.I have done it for nearly ten years but i will be leaving it within the next 18mths as my back and my hands are now suffering.The door should be the front door where the buzzer is and everyone should bring their bags down and take their shoppin up in their time.There is no extra time for these drops either so please people give us a thought instead of your own all the time.

Abby says:
16 January 2013

The problem here is not the drivers or customers its the supermarket! I am 30 weeks pregnant and live in a third floor flat. I cant carry all my shopping any more so i decided to shop on line with ADSA.

The driver should be told whether he SHOULD or SHOULD NOT deliver to upper floor properties and the customer should be told ( when booking a slot on line ) that drivers either DO or DONT deliver to upper floors.

ASDA do not say deliveries to upper floors are not possible. My delivery came this morning, I wondered why the guy was waiting down stairs when I had let him into the flat entrance. He eventually came up, I said id help but I cant as im heavily pregnant, he just replied, ” yeah, well, im not supposed to be lifting all this up here its health and safety”. He was very rude, slammed the crates down infront of me and because nothing was put in bags I had to unpack everything individually while he just stood there waiting. I didnt even get a goodbye!

I have complained aboiut the attitude of this man, but ive also complained to ASDA about the fact that I should have been told.


Ray. says:
5 March 2018

It’s clearly stated in Asda’s terms and conditions that they don’t deliver upstairs if there’s no lift.

tracey legg says:
12 April 2012

Hi there every one I live in a flat and it is third floor i get my shopping from tesco every week and i m happy with it, when the driver buzzes i tell them to wait there or come inside if its raining and i meet them downstairs with my own bags . so i get extra points for no bags and get my shopping to my door. it is not right and totally unfair to have these people struggling up to an interior door when we have an entry system also they cant hold on to the railings to come up or down because of the crates they would be carring and i dont want to have someone,anyone falling down and breaking their backs, necks or anything else just to bring me my shopping. Its about time people started to help each other it is heavy and its not fair to them people are just getting more selfish and have no thoughts for others.

magda says:
10 August 2012

I think the standard delivery should be to YOUR door, be it a house door or a flat door. I would not expect a groceries’ driver to dump the bags at the end of the drive because their van doesn’t fit in nor I would expect them to be dumped downstairs if I lived in a flat (though I or my husband always help the driver to carry the grocery stuff from the van anyway, standing at the top of the stairs and laughing seems very crass to me). With heavy items there is often an extra charge, and on flat there are trolleys etc. So the main issue seems to be groceries in flats without a lift. As somebody already said it should be up to the company to deal with that. It’s appalling that for example there is no extra time allowed for these drops, there should be extra time so things could be carried bit by bit without a rush. But at the end of the day nothing that a supermarket sells should be impossible to carry by a fit person and people with back problems shouldn’t take jobs as delivery drivers. I also think that there should be a specific question on the order form whether it’s a flat or a house and how much carrying will be involved. I also think that people in flats without a lift should not be allowed to order bagless deliveries unless they carry it themselves as it’s completely unreasonable to expect a driver to carry a crate-full upstairs!

ObiWanJabronE says:
20 December 2012

I live on the first floor in a flat. I used to use Sainsbury’s because their website was the easiest to browse. However, when they stopped bringing my shopping upstairs I stopped using them. I am registered blind, so it’s difficult for me to do it myself. I now use ASDA, which you can specify special instructions to them on your account page. Despite me contacting Sainsbury’s, and telling them about my situation, the response I kept getting was “Its up to the drivers discretion”. Never had a problem with ASDA since I switched over to using them. I always make sure I’m polite to the driver because I know, at the end of the day some of them don’t want to carry it upstairs, which is understandable if they’ve got other deliveries to do. I even let them know if there are any items which are too heavy, to just leave it at the bottom of the stairs, and I’ll let a family member know they need to help me. They never do leave anything at the bottom of the stairs.

If ASDA, or any other online grocery had an extra cost to bring your shopping upstairs, I’d gladly pay them extra. For me personally, them doing it is a really, really big help, and I always let them know I appreciate it.

homeshop dvr says:
10 March 2013

I delliver homeshopping for a living, I dont mind delivering to flats upstairs as I do everyday, however I tend to find when we deliver to cusomers thatlive in flats and live 2nd 3rd and 4th floors that their shopping comes in about 6 to 8 totes and there are always at least 20 litres of water/coke etc which is heavy in itself.I understand the customer wants it but ifyou live in a flat there should be a limit on what you order as we are the ones who have to carry it up.IT does my head in when the cusomer just stands at the doorwatching me strugle and then replies thats why I do homeshopping so I dont have to carry itup.

Silvia Gomez says:
28 April 2013

I have been shopping from Tesco and Asdas for home delivery for 3-4 years and eveything was fine. Lastly I have been having problems with the drivers to bring my weekly delivery up to the 2nd floor no lift, I always give the drivers a tip after completing the delivery as I understand the effort but they complain first and ask me to come down to help them out.
I have a bad back and that is why a shop online but what is the point of paying for a delivery order if I have to carry the bags myself from the grounfloor?
I have tried with Sainsbury’s to find out if the service was better but on my 3rd delivery the driver complained as accorking to his policy he is not obliged to carry the groceries above a 1st floor.
I would not mind to pay extra for a delivery to my floor but it looks like these giant supermarkets do not have the needs of some customers into account.
Not sure what my next step will be, I am working full time, 2 kids and my husband has an injury in his back as well. Thinking about giving a try to Ocado and buy a fllter jug to avoid upsetting drivers carrying my water.

steve says:
21 October 2014

Im delivery driver myself you may have a bad back but dont be so selfish most of the drivers have bad backs because of customers like you

E McBain says:
5 September 2015

No, you have a bad back because your employer doesn’t allow adequate time for each delivery and isn’t prepared to cut into it’s fat profits to employ an additional person in the van to help with deliveries.

Supermarkets charge for deliveries. They get extra business due to offering delivery- a lot of people opt for home delivery so it gets delivered and they do not have to carry it. All the supermarkets make profits. They just want to charge extra for a service but not provide that service properly.

Stop blaming the customer!

hi guys i understand all points of view. a few thoughts from me:
1. the british government/engineers are idiots as they should consider that people will grow old on these buildings and should have a lift if more than 1 floor.
2. supermarkets should put limitations to 1st floor or extra charge that will go to the driver if more than one floor, i am sure the drivers will find it very motivating if you know what i mean.
3. use your Unions what are they doing about it.
4. certain jobs need you to keep fit. does a policeman answer back its health and safety issue when you tell him this man stole my wallet chase him? or when you expect a firefighter to save your house (most probably you dont care about him) ain’t ? a construction worker to be able to climb on the scaffolding? it is expected from them. its not the supermarkets fault is you eat and drink like a pig (no offense, nothing personal guys).
5. is it health and safety for a senior manager sitting 15 hrs on a desk developing back, neck, carpal tube, knee and hemmorhoids problems or seeing things double after 15 hrs on the computer?
and dont stay only on 1or 2 of the examples i mentioned see the overall situation.
a person sitting on a chair has just as many back, neck, arm and knee problems as the driver carrying your stuff up the floor. so dont give me that about health and safety. you shouldn’t walk in the park cause you may stumble and fall. very hazardous.

Well my luck finally ran out today when the driver from Asda buzzed and I pressed the button, as always, but then nothing? The buzzer went again and the voice said your shopping is down here. I said I pressed the button to open the door for you! The reply “well I ain’t bringing it up stairs mate” why not I asked (puzzled) health and safety was the reply. Best you take it back with you then I said, and he did.
I contacted Asda customer services who said “we deliver to your door and door meaning where you live, being the actual door that opens to your dwelling, not the building entry door” I told him what the driver said and he said he is wrong! Told me he will raising as official complaint and will be talking to the driver, apparently I will be updated with the result.
I used to be a delivery driver many years ago and yes, it is a pain when you get a 2nd floor or above delivery without a lift, however before I was offered the job I was asked if I considered myself fit enough to carry heavy items up flights of stairs on my own, this also showed in the job description.
I am now disabled and this is why I use home delivery as two flights of stairs with shopping = long stay in hospital (not an option) I think the home delivery companies could help their staff by sending a driver’s mate (a thing of the past now but it worked) maybe there should be something on the customer’s page where the enter their Blue Badge number and expiry date, I am sure most disabled people would willing supply this, even to the point of a photocopy for the store to hold on file for confirmation (just a thought). I think the online shops and stores should value their delivery staff with a little more than a carrot on a stick just out of their reach to keep them motivated. The knock on effect of all this is of course, the financial side for stores, as customers and their families, friends boycott there lack of resolve, thus I guess they would soon have no need for delivery drivers as the funds are not there to support it.
According to the delivery manager I talked with, some drivers are twisting the wording to suit themselves? Who is right and who is wrong? And what does the wording actually say? And where is it to view? So many questions and so many unanswered.
Rant over, thank you.

Is this customer service? says:
16 February 2014

It really sounds to me that the supermarkets real motivation here is financial gain, not health and safety.

By not issuing a clear policy they can avoid potentially deterring customers from using their service.

As for leaving the decision of whether or not to deliver to door up to each driver’s discretion – without any clear guidelines! – this achieves 2 goals:

1. It enables supermarkets to pressure drivers to complete more deliveries per hour.
2. It shifts any bad feeling customers may have onto the drivers.

There is no good practical reason why supermarket policy should not be clarified in this area and no reason why deliveries cannot be made to the consumer’s door provided there is safe access to the premises.

Deliveries to door can be operated safely provided:
– Drivers are properly trained and do not carry excessive loads.
– Heavier loads are broken down into multiple smaller loads and delivered in multiple trips (not carried all at once).
– Supermarkets allow drivers adequate time to make as many trips (from van to door) as necessary to complete the delivery, ensuring that only a safe load is carried per trip.

I have sympathy with the van drivers but none for the supermarkets. The stores need to comply with the Management of Health &and Safety at Work Regulations and undertake a Risk Assessment for the delivery driver job.

More and more people are living at first floor level and above. It is neither practical nor economical to provide a lift in most cases [it’s normally a requirement above three floors but below that level, if there are only two or three flats per floor, the cost cannot be justified unless it is special needs housing]. Even if it were a legal requirement it would take decades before all properties were adapted.The need for upstairs deliveries is therefore predictable and commonplace and, so far as I can see, the stores have made no attempt to rule out, or put any limitations on, such deliveries in their on-line ordering process. It is therefore not acceptable for customers to have to have a dialogue with the van driver over whether they will or won’t take the shopping upstairs, and – as has been illustrated here – many customers are not physically capable of carrying large amounts of shopping upstairs which is why they book a delivery.

Any competent risk assessment would demonstrate the need for proper safety measures to protect not just the employees but the public at large. This might include additional time so that loads can be broken down into smaller/lighter portions, special barrows/trolleys designed for staircases, additional staff, or a limit on floor levels served. The stores then need to decide, in consultation with their employees, what would reduce the risk to health and safety to as low a level as is reasonably practicable and then record it, issue it, and apply it. If after deliberation they choose to restrict the home delivery service [including a special charge to cover extra time] that can be advertised and included in their terms and conditions. Staff still have to have some discretion to refuse to deliver upstairs if there is an obvious danger [like obstructions, poor surfaces, no lighting].

Avril says:
28 April 2014

I have just ordered a washing machine thru aol and paid for installation of the new one and disconnection of the old one and removal. I filled in all the data re-how many stairs to my property, told them im on the third floor of a tenement building (no lift) Then was informed that my machine might be left half way up and could I collect it from there as there may Health and Safety issue he said. How am I able to do that when 2 delivery men wont do it themselves??? In this day and age do they not use a stair lifting machine for this kind of thing or does everyone in floors 3 upwards not have a washing machine in their flats? Are we to bring back laundrettes? Im fuming. Where do I stand if they don’t deliver it? Does it still belong to the company if its not inside my property? Will I get a refund? Am I reduced to a washboard and wringer!!! HELP……