/ Shopping

Have you managed to get a supermarket delivery?

With so many people now doing their shopping online, delivery slots have been hard to come by. Have you managed to get one over the last month?

Update 24/04/2020: EFRA survey

As part of its inquiry into food supply during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee has launched an online survey, inviting the public to share their experiences of accessing food during the outbreak.  

The survey is open for submission until 28 April, you can fill it out here.

14/04/2020: Have you managed to get a supermarket delivery?

Supermarket delivery slots have been described as ‘gold dust’ by one of our social media followers, and we know that many vulnerable people are concerned about how to get hold of the groceries they need. 

We’re working hard to provide advice and support for coronavirus-vulnerable households on how to get food deliveries.

Supermarkets say they’re doing what they can to get online delivery slots to the most vulnerable people, increasing slots and this week opening them up to extremely vulnerable non-customers.

But we’re aware that many of you may still be struggling, and we want to hear from you. 

Read all the latest COVID-19 news and advice on our dedicated hub

What are UK supermarkets doing?

It’s been widely reported that details of up to 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people would be shared by the UK Government with supermarkets in England.

Details of around 110,000 people who had requested support with getting food were shared with supermarkets on 3 April. 

But what about the other nations? On Wednesday (8 April) the Welsh government shared an equivalent list with supermarkets in Wales.

Prior to this we heard reports of people living within a few kilometers of each other, on either side of the border, using the same supermarket for their weekly shop, but with only the English resident being able to access priority delivery slots. 

At the time of writing, supermarkets in Northern Ireland and Scotland were yet to receive a list of high-risk people that have been told to shield. 

We want to know if you’ve been offered a delivery slot, if you were able to actually book one, and where you are. Which supermarket has contacted you, if any?

Do you know how to get the help you need?

The Which? retail team has been keeping on top of the shifting sands of announcements from government and the supermarket industry, but we have at times been left scratching our heads. 

Were you asked to shield because you are extremely vulnerable? Were you expecting to receive a letter but didn’t? 

Was it made clear to you in the letter how to get help with getting food? Have you managed to get the support you need? Where did the support come from – the supermarkets, a free food box, the community, or somewhere else?

Are you vulnerable and unable to get a delivery slot? Have you had to go to the supermarket?

How to shop safely at the supermarket

There are a lot of outstanding questions, but the more answers we get the more we’ll be able to help and inform the most vulnerable.

Has registering as a vulnerable consumer made it any easier to get a supermarket delivery?
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Jane Gott says:
26 May 2020

Hi Hannah, several weeks ago, back when the lockdown began (mid March) there was a shout out for 250 thousand volunteers to become helpers to the vulnerable. The respond far exceeded that amount – well done to our society. My husband and myself registered. We have a car each, both physically fit and able to run errands, do shopping etc. We received instructions about the app ‘Goodsam’, we set up our profiles and put ourselves in the ‘On Duty’ mode. Needless to say neither of us have been contacted for assistance. I once remained on duty for 30+ hrs, but no one wanted our assistance.

How familiar is this service to those you mention in your article? This would have been the answer to their shopping anxieties.

Alan Brookes says:
26 May 2020

My wife is 82 and takes 7 tablets daily having had heart attack 16 years ago she is disabled also and cannot walk more than a few yards and uses wheelchair outside. I am 78 and relatively fit and her carer. When lockdown commenced I tried to get home deliveries from 3 Supermarkets without any luck. I then noticed on Sainsbury’s web-site that there was a link to get registered as vulnerable so followed link and it came up in Government Web-site which then gave you opportunity to register as vulnerable but in England only . I clicked on Wales link and there was no similar scheme in Wales . I then contacted my M.P. and my Assembly member and pointed out Wales was 3 weeks behind England. They contacted me and informed me that Wales was starting a scheme whereby a Clinically Vulnerable List was being drawn up and persons would be written to . This was the case but they sent a large number of letters to wrong address so I waited but no letter and MP informed my wife and I were not on the list. I managed with help of neighbours and relatives for 6 weeks before I started to get delivery slots . People like myself and wife seem to have been left in limbo by this system reference home delivery of groceries but we were advised to stay at home !!!

susan casswell says:
1 June 2020

We are overwhelmed by and very grateful for all the help we have received during lockdown. We are considered to be in the ‘vulnerable’category. Ages 71 and 84. We live in the quaint little backwater of Whithorn in remote SW Scotland 3 miles from the sea. We were unable to get delivery slots with Asda even though we had had weekly deliveries for over 10 years. There was no other delivery service in the area. Everyone rallied round to offer their help. and bring us everything we needed from small shops locally and small supermarkets 20 miles away. Now Morrisons has started to deliver and I am able to get almost weekly deliveries. Also as soon as someone manages to get a slot we all ask each other if they need anything and get it delivered with our own. Everyone pays via Bacs. The chemist delivers our prescriptions. Dumfries council can arrange for free grocery boxes to be delivered by volunteers where needed.We also swap plants, seeds etc locally by communication via FB We have met some lovely people (at a distant) who we would not otherwise.have met. Also UK wide we have sent our excess flour and yeast to friends and they have sent us seeds. An enterprising friend has been making superb quality face masks since day one and sending them internationally. I continue to teach Tai Chi , after myself and my students struggled with the new skill of ‘zooming’. We are so enjoying the unexpected advantages of lockdown!

Susan – It’s good to read such nice reports. The one segment of the population that doesn’t seem to be moaning much is the older generation. I wish I had been in my seventies throughout the last fifty years [although some people think I was].

Many of us can be very grateful for the efforts of supermarkets to help those of us who are not keen to venture in to a store. I have been amazed by the regional differences that I have heard of and the only sure way of being served has been to register with a number of supermarkets and consider click & collect to increase your options.

I wonder how many who have been using deliveries in the past few months will go back to shopping in stores when the threat of coronavirus is over.

I applaud the staff who have done their best to provide us with groceries etc. at this difficult time.

I have had home deliveries from a son for the last 10 weeks, sending him a shopping list via WhatsApp to add to their own delivery from Ocado. Will I return to store shopping? Most certainly. I’d far rather scan the shelves, spot something(s) to eat I might not have thought of, and be reminded of stuff I am running out of. I’m out of cakes and biscuits and ran very low on gin – overlooked essentials.

I make my own biscuits and prefer them to most of the supermarket offerings. The only odd substitution that I have received was granary flour instead of self-raising flour, so home-made cake has been off the menu. 🙁

It’s great being able to change an online order, adding items that have been forgotten and removing others that are not really needed.

Roger Braithwaite says:
2 June 2020

There has been a lot of criticism of supermarkets for not providing delivery slots.
My experience with Waitrose has been quite different. I enjoy priority booking and have never failed to get a Saturday morning delivery since this crisis started. I have slots booked three weeks in advance,
There have been some item substitutions but nearly always acceptable ones.
I commend the Waitrose staff who have always been friendly and helpful

You are very fortunate, Roger. I have been trying since the middle of March and only recently did I manage to get a single Waitrose slot and my first order arrived half an hour ago. Ocado won’t even let me place an order, but at least I no longer have to wait two hours to be told that no slots are available.

I’m fully supportive of supermarkets prioritising those who are on the government list but we all have to eat and it would be foolhardy for some of us to go into a supermarket at the present time.

Laurence Harris says:
3 June 2020

We are among those self-isolating, aged 76 and 77 with serious health conditions, who have failed to obtain priority deliveries even though we are in the high risk category. Waitrose customer service has been surprisingly poor or, effectively, non-existent in our case despite my wife belonging to their My Waitrose loyalty scheme.

Having signed up on the UK government website for the extremely vulnerable as soon as instructed, my wife has received no slots for priority deliveries from Waitrose. Finally we managed to contact Waitrose customer service and received a pro forma email on 30 April saying that they would be in touch in 14 days, then another form letter saying they would be in touch after a further 14 days. So far we have heard nothing.

This is particularly galling since we live in a small mansion block, and all the residents who are over 70 but have no underlying health conditions have been using priority slots since they were first opened.

We would like to know what criteria Waitrose have used to determine the slots. And specifically why my wife’s requests for explanation and remedy of an apparent fault in meeting the intentions of the priority scheme have been effectively ignored.

Jenny Howard says:
3 June 2020

I’m also fed up with Waitrose. I’ve had a shielding letter; I’ve also been a regular shopper at my local Waitrose store since it opened – at least 8 years – and I have a My Waitrose card. Initially I was prepared to give them some time to get their act together, but it’s galling after over 2 months to read in their FAQs about how they are prioritising slots for vulnerable customers, but to be unable to book one – I see just the few days worth of slots that “ordinary” customers see, and they are always fully booked. Tonight I tried phoning their Customer Services but after hearing their message that says “we’ll get in touch with you, you don’t need to do anything” I hung up – I could have starved to death by the time they get round to me!
I managed to get a non-priority slot with Tesco a couple of weeks ago, and they have some available now for around June 20th. What’s more, my neighbour has been bringing me fresh food from Asda and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality (e.g. a delicious organic free range chicken the other week) so I think Waitrose may be seeing less of me when the pandemic is over.