Day 48 of Quarantine: Our Online Orders are Late

Delivery Boxes
Amazon and Walmart are both struggling with delivery times during the oronavirus crisis.

It’s Day 48 of Quarantine, and I am proud to say that I have not turned on the TV for three days.  I think I had been getting into a rut, so I broke out of it (although I will admit, I watched three YouTube videos today.)  Instead, I’ve finished four books – two physical and two on my kindle. 

We also submitted another online grocery order, selecting our third grocery store curbside pickup to try out.  This time, the wait for picking up an order was only three days, down from six the last time we tired.  Not sure if this is because they have hired extra people to do the shopping or if it is because the store was in the opposite direction of the other two we tried before.  In any case, we pick the goods up on Friday and I’ll report back how it goes. 

But speaking of shopping , I placed a couple online orders last week and the stuff is finally coming in. Slowly.

Amazon vs Walmart

On April 20th I placed an online order with and another with  Ideally, I would have ordered from one or the other, but neither online store had everything I needed, so I ordered six items from each, three food items and three non-food items.

So while I had not intended to order from the two leading online food and HBA (Health & Beauty Aid) sellers, I figured this would be a good way to see how they performed during the coronavirus crisis when everything is in high demand and their warehouses are slammed with orders.

The first three items were delivered on Wednesday, April 23.  Not the normal two-day delivery I would expect as a Prime member, but not terrible.  Here’s how it happened:

  • UPS delivered one food item from Amazon before noon.
  • Fedex delivered an HBA item from Walmart before noon.  Funny thing was, they used next day delivery.
  • That afternoon, a package from a third-party seller on Walmart was delivered via the postal service.

Walmart gets points for delivering one third of the order within three days. They start out of the gates in the lead.

On Saturday, April 25, a book was delivered by an driver.  This means each company has now delivered a third of what we ordered from them.

On Tuesday, April 28, eight days after we placed the order, one HBA item was delivered by an truck.

Amazon Loses Points for Delivery Error

So far, it’s looking like Amazon pulled ahead of Walmart, but hang on!  Amazon lost points because two other items that were supposed to be delivered that same day.  In fact, tracking said they were delivered and “handed to the recipient.”  Not true.

I logged on and chatted with Amazon’s bot, which told me the packages were delivered.  I told the bot they were not.  The bot said the driver must have made an error.  Tell me something I don’t know!  I eventually chat with a real person who has bad grammar, leading me to believe they are located off shore somewhere.  We walk through the whole problem from start to finish, and she tells me they driver must have made an error and to wait until the next day.  Clearly, they have no idea where the package is either.

My wife shoots an email out to the neighborhood list serve, asking them to be on the lookout for a missing package.

The next day (Wednesday), the package showed up by our gate pretty early in the morning.  We don’t know if Amazon delivered it or if a neighbor got it and dropped it off. We assume the former.

Today, Thursday the 30th, another Walmart item was delivered.  That gives us 3/6 Walmart items and 5/6 Amazon items.

At this point, tracking shows that the rest of the Walmart order has shipped from California and should arrive by Monday.  The one Amazon item that is missing is scheduled to arrive before May 11th.  I doubt it will actually take that long as they often give very wide delivery windows for third party sellers.

How they Rate

While Walmart got points for delivering the most soonest the fell behind after that.  I have to give Amazon credit for getting most of their items to us first, even though much of the goodwill is erased by their delivery screw up. And it’s not just their delivery screw up – it’s the not so great customer service.

In my experience, Amazon’s in-house delivery is nowhere near as good as Fedex or UPS.  They make errors, they tear down country roads at unsafe speeds, and they drive down the middle of the road.

I think that is partly because they use independent contractors, but I think the biggest contributing factor is that Amazon demands too much from them for not enough pay.  You can read the articles about the drivers not having time to eat or take a bathroom break. Running a company based on metrics is fine and dandy, but managing people on metrics alone is not.

I’ve ordered from both companies before and back in normal times – you know, in February – they were both making deliveries much faster, even out in our neck of the woods.  I do not live in range of an Amazon same-day or one-day delivery warehouse, but I can’t help but wonder it they are running behind, too.

Day 48 of Quarantine: Our Online Orders are Late


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