/ 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 07/01/2021: Return to lockdown

Supermarkets have reassured customers that they have plenty of stock, and stressed the importance of shopping sensibly. With all four nations in lockdown and a return to shielding for many, we will be keeping a close eye on the situation with online delivery slots.

Do you have a recurring slot set up? Are you shielding or self-isolating and unable to get a slot? Have you found the situation better than during the Spring lockdown? 

How does your experience of booking a supermarket delivery during this lockdown compare to the first lockdown (March 2020)?

Better - I've had fewer issues and/or slots are more available (43%, 42 Votes)

Worse - I've founded it harder, and/or there aren't enough delivery slots available (36%, 35 Votes)

About the same as the first lockdown (20%, 19 Votes)

It's been different - tell us more in the comments (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

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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?

No - I'm still struggling to get a delivery despite registering (47%, 1,249 Votes)

Yes - I'm able to get a supermarket delivery where I haven't been able to before (28%, 760 Votes)

Something else - tell us in the comments (25%, 672 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,681

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Comments

Ocado have now thankfully sorted out deliveries for their long-standing customers as it was a real blow and very worrying when they stopped our regular slots.

I know they are very busy, but please Ocado, can you start manning the phones again? It is extremely frustrating to write an email that takes 3 or 4 days to receive a reply that doesn’t answer your question and you have to write another email and wait another 3 or 4 days for another reply that still doesn’t answer your question. Surely staff would be put to better use actually talking to customers and resolving their queries rather than many wasted emails.

I registered with Ocado years ago, and when they arrived in the North East in January, I started ordering. Before the lockdown the process went well, but afterwards the service gradually disintegrated. Firstly, the app was discontinued, then the website started crashing; a queuing system was introduced, and this quickly malfunctioned. The website became locked, and delivery slots were not released until after 6pm, after which time the website would not amend orders, and crashed again. During one afternoon, the website announced that 16000 slots were being released at 6pm, please come back later. By 5pm, the announcement was changed stating that no further slots were available; and since then we have been locked out with the same message remaining for 10 days.
Ocado indicated they have had overwhelming demand, and originally blamed customers for ordering twice as much as normal, and also changing from fortnightly to weekly orders. Two emails sent have received only one belated standardised reply with platitudes about how staff are trying to meet the demand. Unlike Tesco, they have not publicised generating more slots, hiring more staff, obtaining vans from underemployed wholesale (schools, pubs etc) vans; but perhaps their bottleneck is in their computerised warehouses.
The anxiety Ocado’s chaos has caused me from the hours spent trying to obtain groceries with no certainty of success, have resulted in sourcing elsewhere, and the likelihood is that I will not return to them when hopefully everything has settled down.

Hi Jeff, do you have Smart Pass Membership?

Ocado identified me as one of their ‘most loyal customers’ offering me a delivery every 7 days that I share with parents.

Their chaos also caused me a fair amount of anxiety when I lost my weekly delivery slot. Keep sending emails to them, they take several days to reply, but hopefully will hear you soon.

Hello Alfa,
No I do not have a Smart Pass, but I registered for a regular weekly delivery, which has now been cancelled.
As you probably gathered from my bitter diatribe I have given up on Ocado, and have joined both Tesco and Asda, and am awaiting my first deliveries from them. Asda seem to offer slots for one day in about 2 weeks hence at about 2200 hours each evening; and Tesco also seem to offer one days slots for about 3 weeks in the future after about midnight.
It seems that what is required is persistence, long-range planning, and the occasional late night.
I am over 70, and we have decided to minimise the risks and strictly adhere to the ‘stay at home’ instructions

Julie says:
22 April 2020

alfa – I have an anytime smartpass and have for years had a weekly reserved slot and my account (and confirmed by e-mail) will only let me order once every 10 days – despite me evidencing disabled…… I want a delivery every 7 days but am not allowed – my account has been changed. Plus can only order next one (or try for a slot for the next one) after the outstanding one has been delivered. Not really good customer service.

I use Ocado for 15 years or so. It has been unbelievably reliable..
Shortly after the introduction of the lockdown, I had a few weeks where I was not able to edit my regular order but still had a dellivery every week.
Availability of products has been much better than supermarket shelves when booked in advance.
I believe the main reason for Ocado has been the slots that they provided for the government initiative and the next was that new customers were putting in huge orders.
More recently I started having less issues as people use what they have in stock.

Asda have performed superbly for us during the period, whereas Sainsbury’s operation has been chaotic, ill-managed and uninformed, as well as switching tack every other day over some issues.

Tesco and Waitrose were both excellent, too, and what is interesting is that Tesco, Asda and Waitrose sent a single email letting us know what they were going to do. In contrast, Sainsbury’s has sent nine emails, each reassuring its ‘valued customers’ and letting them know that plans were in place.

Sainsbury’s: long on words and very short on action.

As an existing Sainsbury’s delivery pass holder, I was infuriated when Sainsbury’s in mid-March were selling delivery slots to new customers with the result that they had insufficient slots to honour delivery passes that they had sold to existing customers. By selling capacity that they didn’t have to new customers, they were in breach of contract with their existing delivery pass holders. When I complained, they refunded £20 of my £60 annual delivery pass fee. Sainsbury’s then restricted their delivery service only to old and vulnerable people, a policy that I support.

Living in the Canary Wharf area, there are much fewer old and vulnerable people compared to the rest of the country. We now find that we can get a delivery once per week quite easily, particularly Friday to Monday, but often only three days in advance. Sometimes Sainsbury’s release delivery slots of three days in a row.

I contrast this to my parents in rural Hampshire, who struggle to get a Sainsbury’s delivery slot, or even click-and-collect, despite Sainsbury’s recognising them as being on the vulnerable list. Nevertheless I feel that Sainsbury’s are improving compared to their terrible handling of deliveries in mid-March.

All supermarkets have been struggling to cope with the demand for deliveries and with the added burden imposed upon them by HM Government to prioritise the elderly and those registered as very high risk on this list, there are signs that they are now beginning to implement this requirement. It helps if you already have an account with a supermarket where your prioritised details should be clearly shown and slots are now available and offered .

I agree with others’ comments here. Our deliveries experience is entirely with Sainsbury’s with whom we have been ordering on-line about every two to three weeks for some years. Certainly their record was abysmal in the early days of this emergency but things have improved lately. However, there are still too many substitutions or products unavailable.

In particular, it baffles me how items can be shown as available in the on-line order catalogue at 10:00pm the day before delivery and yet be unavailable the next morning. I recall that Alfa first raised this point a couple of weeks ago; it seems that no account is taken of goods already ordered which I would have thought could be reserved and set aside until picking and despatch. Delivery slots are only made available a day or two before delivery day so it’s not as though there is a long period in which items would be held in suspense.

The uncertainties of product availability and the quantity limits have understandably led to people ordering alternatives and duplicates just so they can achieve their planned menus for the week ahead. It also means people are gaming the substitution system in order to build up their stocks.

Obviously, with far more people having all their meals at home now there is much more pressure on the supply chain so some allowance has to be made and overall I think the major supermarkets have responded reasonably well to the challenge.

During the second world war rationing was introduced early on and customers were allocated to and registered with their regular grocer, baker, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, etc so there was no question of people trying to get food from a number of different outlets, but in those days the range of foodstuffs was much narrower and shopping was far more localised. Today there is a vast inventory of alternative products available so if you order a tin of Heinz tomato soup but will accept substitutes you don’t know whether you will get what you ordered, or tomato soup from a different manufacturer, or a different soup from Heinz or from a different manufacturer, or a slightly similar own-label version of tomato soup, or nothing at all, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to influence what you will receive. Not an enormous problem but it all adds to the irritation factor with the present circumstances. When I do our order I specify what I believe is the cheapest but most popular product in the category and hope it will be unavailable so that we get a superior substitute at no extra cost because the price difference is refunded. Given that Sainsbury’s own-label lines are generally satisfactory this works quite well and we sometimes have a nice surprise.

Love the last para Wavechange although slightly devious practice.

Nothing is either good nor bad……….my thinking tells me so 🙂

Just trying to keep one step ahead of the traders, Beryl – if they want to play games then we can have our moment of satisfaction too!

Nucco says:
19 April 2020

sainsburys stopped doing higher value subs more than a month ago. If you order something they don’t have, you don’t get it plain and simple.

If you really need it, order the expensive one, they’re more likely to have it in stock. If you order sainsburys yogurt and it isn’t in stock, you won’t get yeo valley. Lol.

They don’t rrserve ordered items because people can change their minds up to midnight. I find that usually, someone goes through your nearest distribution and picks your order a couple hours before delivery. Whatever is in stock is shipped, and what substitutions you get depend on the mood of the picker — do they feel the motivation to hunt for a substitute?

Thanks Nucco. We have continued to get higher-value substitutions this last three weeks. It might depend on varying practices at the different distribution hubs.

Orders can normally be changed up until 11:00 pm on the day before delivery but that is no longer necessarily the case. See my recent comment at –
https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/supermarket-delivery-slots-online-coronavirus/#comment-1593431

Bob Palmer says:
15 April 2020

As a 75-year-old with a 68-year-old with asthma & diabetes also in my household, I consider myself to be vulnerable even if I’m not on a list as such, and I know that if I catch the bug, it will be the end of me. I therefore refuse to enter any shops or other indoor premises and my car has gone nowhere since 12th March. On 12th April I finally got hold of a delivery slot from Tesco for 3rd May so now look forward to fresh fruit & veg, though goodness knows what will happen after that. Food insecurity has been hugely stressful, and I consider myself lucky to have a garden. My sympathies lie with families with small children living in flats with no outdoor spaces

Over the past month I must have spent a day of my life trying to get supermarket deliveries. My first success was to achieve a Morrisons C&C (click & collect) slot but it was over three weeks away and I had little fresh food left. I tried Tesco at 2am on a Saturday and found one C&C the following day, which would require a 19 mile round trip because the local branch does not offer C&C.

Never having used C&C before, I was rather concerned that I might come into contact with other shoppers or staff but the arrangements were very good. A Tesco refrigerated van was parked in a little used part of the large car park and I parked in the marked space, a sensible distance from the van. Other C&C customers were parked well away, waiting their turn. Bags of groceries were put behind my car and then I was able to put them in the boot. Only one item (flour) was missing and there was one substitution.

The Morrisons C&C was a real disappointment. I had read that a member of staff would put goods in the boot of the car but what happened was that a member of staff placed a stack of crates behind the car. Parking was in what looked like disabled bays, so it was difficult to keep away from other customers when loading the car. Had I known I would have taken some bags. Some of the fresh goods were short-dated. Some product substitutions had been made and other items were not available. I am not planning to use Morrisons C&C in future unless I am desperate. I now have another booking with Tesco at the end of the month. At least it will give me the opportunity to drive the car and hopefully prevent the problems that can occur if cars are left unused.

The first online supermarket I tried was Ocado, because their leaflets and offers of free delivery often appear in the mail. No joy, and eventually they started using a two hour queuing system, after which I was told that no booking were available. Why not just say that at the outset and stop wasting our time. 🙁

Having spoken to friends elsewhere in the country, some areas are better served than others.

Ocado seems to have got on top of this in the past few days: I keep the site open in a tab on my laptop and check most days if there are slots available, and for the past few days I’ve been seeing plenty of slots available. Right now I can see slots for tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, which is amazing. I’m lucky to be in the catchment area for Ocado Zoom, their same-day delivery pilot scheme, and I’m now able to get a slot the same day if I look in the app.

I have been unable to get a delivery from the two supermarkets I pay an ongoing delivery fee to . I have been unable to walk around the shop for about 3years , I do have COPD , pacemaker, and other health issues. So I get a lift to the store and struggle. There have been moments that I have been close to wanting an end to the life I’m being forced to live. I am angry that I’m paying for a service I don’t get and also to be put at risk of getting this viral killer. There are 7 days in a week why has the food industry been so long in getting into step . Yes prices have been inflated.

Although I was very happy with my first click & collect order from Tesco the collection was the following day. I managed to book another one for near the end of the month and by then all the offer prices will have expired. That could mean paying as much as twice as much for some products.

Perhaps supermarkets could put an end to price promotions – at least until normality returns.

madge says:
15 April 2020

Have used Ocado forever, but except for one delivery just as lockdown was started have not been able to get anymore. However Asda have come up trumps. Great quality on fresh food (fruit and veg) with long sell by dates. (Best lemons I have seen in UK for years)Tesco however has been appalling. Order arrived at 10pm as booked, Milk had two days to run only and the fruit had to be thrown away. Spinach which was supposed to be ready to cook was full of rotten leaves. I suggest never use Tesco for fresh deliveries. Asda, though has been really brilliant.
Also to say that my husband fits into the vulnerable category but we have heard nothing from GP, Govt etc. Sainsbury’s have blocked us as we do not appear to be on a list and Ocado do too at the moment. Extraordinary.

We’ve been able to get two Iceland deliveries over the last month or so – they’ve been great and left everything outside the door. The drivers have been polite and respectful – really impressed with them.

I’ve not even seen slots available anywhere else – have been refreshing Amazon Fresh and Morrisons most days but no luck at all there.

My brother has had the NHS extremely vulnerable text and letters, but that doesn’t appear to have translated to supermarkets being able to identify him yet.

At one stage, Iceland said that they would temporarily limit deliveries to elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating customers: https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/11241530/iceland-limits-online-orders/ That seems to have ended.

If your brother is in an area with a Mutual Aid group he should be able to get help: https://covidmutualaid.org

Trish says:
15 April 2020

A couple of weeks ago, after applying to Sainsbury’s for online shopping in view of my age, (76 and husband 77 in a couple of weeks) I received a recorded message saying I had been accepted but not for a couple of days. I have shopped at Sainsbury’s in store for 40+ years. I have been unable to get a delivery slot. I occasionally shop at Tesco and last night at midnight I tried to get a delivery slot and was successful but delivery not till 5th May. So we’ll done Tesco. I am shopping less frequently now and to some extent rationing what I am using to make it go further whether food for main meals or treats such as biscuits.

I received a text on 7th April 2020 telling me to stay at home at all times for 12 weeks. The letter to confirm this arrived on 11th April 2020. I have received no contact from official channels bar facile and patronising messages such as ‘We know staying home for 12 weeks may be frustrating …. blah blah … try something new or sudoku. Make a plan for each day’. The only thing that I am finding frustrating and do need help with is how I am going to obtain food when my current supplies run out. I would be thankful for any provisions the supermarket can supply. I am not on any supermarket priority list – I keep checking – although I automatically got a priority delivery slot for my mum several weeks ago on the basis of her age alone, she has not been told to shield. I am delighted to be able to help her and comforted that she will have supplies. Zelda the Cat has already voiced the way l’m feeling … ‘I’m feeling tense / I’m in a mood / I don’t need help / I just need food.’

Hazel Cairns says:
15 April 2020

I am vulnerable but not extremely vulnerable, but have to stay in doors for 12 weeks because of kidney disease, so not on governments list, what are just vulnerable supposed to do? I have worked for Tesco for 33 years but I cant get a delivery slot anymore have always shopped online as I dont drive. All very unfair.

It is very unfair. I have to stay in for 12 weeks and I’ve now registered with the government for help. But it’s so worded that I can’t get help if I don’t have any despite the fact that if I catch the virus in all likelihood I will die. You can register whether you fall into vulnerable or very vulnerable. Again I can’t get any delivery slots with Tesco. It’s our local and we have a Tesco card, but no. They have made up their own rules- as the latest I saw was they were giving extra slots to over seventies. I shall be 69 in May. There is a phone line last time I rang it the reply was this line is no longer in use. You could try registering with the government especially if you are on your own. This way you could get free food boxes. Although looking at a mock up of one you’ll have to survive on tea and biscuits. ☹️ I’ll see if I can find the email address.

What I meant to say, is I can’t get help unless I don’t have any!

I am extremely vulnerable, but just because my husband can collect we are getting no delivery slots from Tesco. He is getting click and collect slots with about two weeks in between and with the stipulation of ordering only 80 items we are going short of some things. If he catches the virus I will most probably get it and that will be my lot. The only way it seems to me to get a delivery slot would be to lie. And I’m not doing that. Tesco does have a phone line. Last time I tried it it said “ this line is no longer in use” I am not happy.

The online address is just gov.co.uk. What you do if you don’t have a computer goodness only knows. ☹️

Clare – I am not sure what you are referring to with your comment about a government website, but the address will always end with GOV.UK, not “co.uk”

The GOV.UK website is a gateway to all UK government services from which you can narrow down access to what you require, but it is always faster if you put in a specific key word and look for site addresses that end in GOV.UK

Josh says:
16 April 2020

I self registered using the you.gov vulnerable registration system and was contacted by sainsburys to say I now had priority. Not much use as there were no slots available for the entire month ahead so I haven’t bothered using them. I have chronic fatigue and asthma and my partner is over 70 so we self isolated two weeks earlier than rest of uk and before we went into isolation i I ordered a morrisons shop for half way through March to replenish stocks. Have since made use of local council covid hub who are fantastic when we have run out of milk and we are using a local farmshop that now does deliveries for fresh food, prior to that I was experiencing daily anxiety worrying about future food supplies as I could see lockdown was going to be a longer haul. I was lucky I happened to be online when morrisons released extra slots so we were able to book a delivery of store cupboard stuff and toiletries laundry stuff etc for end of April. I have also added things onto my online shopping for friends who are also self isolating and they’ve added stuff for me onto an ocado slot they managed to get. I am also doing online shopping for my 84 year old mum who lives in another town and experienced anxiety trying to get her registered with different supermarkets and getting slots. Now I use tescos fortnightly for her as they release slots daily and I just sit up one evening fortnightly and wait with her shopping list. If other supermarkets told vulnerable customers what time new slots were released it would be less stressful. With my chronic fatigue i was getting exhausted sitting on the computer at different times of the day slot searching with no luck. The Sun listed information about tescos and i take my chances with everyone else till I get a slot for my mum but it’s a lot less exhausting as I only have to spend half an hour fortnightly doing this not constantly searching. I’ve got mums friends using tescos aswell now as they were frightened. This is also the generation who are quite independent and dont want to be s bother so I shared my experiences of using the council covid hub and have managed to convince them it’s a resource they should be using. It’s the local councils sharing information about local shops that deliver and their volunteers that have made the biggest difference to my anxiety levels though. For people like myself and my mum this is going to be a long term thing till a covid jab is available so we just need to know how to secure our regular supplies and maintain our independence. I was already using online shopping due to my disability so I’m lucky as I was already functioning online but people like my mum and partner are of an age that prefer to do everything face to face and are not geared up to suddenly switch to a digital world.

Josh – just to be clear, the website you are referring to is GOV.UK, not “you.gov” which is a market research and opinion polling organisation.

Andrea says:
16 April 2020

After shopping online with sainsburys for years due to disabilities and disabled son and husband working for them. I spoke to them before lockdown to make sure was on the list of disabled customers as had previously registered for this service with them was told I was and then when it went in to lock down and vulnerable group spent 2 weeks trying to get through as wasnt in the group on site they said we werent vulnerable even though had a letter. Was then told nothing they could do to help and that I should source food from else where and wouldn’t help me. I know have asda gave been helpful and iceland also. I wont be using sainsburys anymore even though my husband works for them its disgraceful