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July 23, 2015

Harris Teeter's Express Lane Shopping

As a mom with two little ones (and a third-one on the way), I am always looking for ways to make our life easier - creative ideas for staying organized, saving time, all while watching my budget. 

After bringing our second little guy home from the hospital, I discovered Lettuce Carry. This Charlotte-based business would deliver groceries to your door, and as long as you spent a certain amount ($25), it was free! 

It was such a great situation, but my hubby had great concern over their business model of delivering for free...His concerns were validated when Lettuce Carry shut down their business just months after we had discovered them. 

Would you think I was crazy if I told you I might have teared up a bit?

After hearing their announcement via Facebook (which I must say I would have appreciated a personal phone call regarding their situation - I mean, c'mon...I had been a faithful customer...), I immediately started searching for a similar business in our area. 

There was none.

I have loved using Absolute Organics - another great delivery company in our area, but they mainly specialize in produce. While we use a lot of produce (and their customer service is awesome!) I really needed more. 

I know you empty-nest mamas are rolling your eyes at the way us modern mamas stress over our options for grocery delivery service...I can hear you now, "When I was raising my kids..." but please just admit that it's the best thing since Ranch dressing. 

My desperation resulted in my finally trying Harris Teeter's Express-Lane Online Shopping Service. 
What had kept me from doing this in the past? The fact that there was a charge to do it. Yes, you heard me currently. I did not want to pay. So, I never tried them...and friends, I am now living with a great deal of regret. 

I am a believer. 

Maybe you've been considering giving them a try, but the $4.95 per order charge is holding you back as well...Today, let me share with you what I believe to be the pros and cons of the service and you can let me know what you think! 

The Pros & Cons of Harris Teeter's Express-Lane Shopping
Harris Teeter Express Lane Shopping

You can try it for free! Yes, your first order is free. 

Instead of paying $4.95, you can actually subscribe - for what has already proven to be a great savings for us. There are a couple of different options, but we have subscribed to the year-long service and paid $99.95. 

You can shop on-line from home! This makes all the different for me. No tackling kiddos...No juggling snacks...No cleaning up sippy cup spills...etc. within the store. I have been able to shop while the kids are sleeping - quickly selecting the items that I need. This saves me time (as I'm not walking up and down grocery store aisles) and it saves me money (as I am not making additional purchases on items that aren't on my shopping list).

They also have an app that makes it easy as pie to shop from anywhere! The Harrris Teeter app (downloaded from my Google Play Store) may now be my favorite app...In my heart, it's competing with Instagram for first place.)

I don't have to get out of my car! Hallelujah. Kids stay in their carseats. Mama stays in her front seat. I press the button for my automatic rear door, and the store employee loads my groceries in to the back of my super-cool minivan. The employee then brings the hand-held credit card machine (as well as my receipt) around to my window, and the transaction is completed right then and there.

My coupons are still accepted! To me, this was a deal-breaker. Without coupons, Harris Teeter is not always the best place to score great deals. However, with coupons, it is hands-down the number one [grocery-store] bargain stop in our area. With that being said, I am not comfortable submitting 20 coupons, rain checks, etc. through the Express-Lane service. At points when I find myself with lots of coupons to times such as double-coupon week, I plan to go in - shopping and checking out in store (probably on a Saturday morning after I'm finished yard saling...or on a Sunday afternoon while my kids are napping). Doing this will allow me to watch the cashier like a hawk and address any issues that might arise...Fellow couponers, you know what I'm talking about here.

Would I have liked to pay less than $99.95? Sure, and that amount may hold you back from giving it a try. However, in my current season of life, I would much rather give up $100 elsewhere and use the money for a service that makes all the difference for me right now. 

When shopping on the website, I wish the sale prices were a little easier to see. Oftentimes the eVIC sale price is not clearly visible until I click on the item. I feel like this creates an extra step for me, and I would love to see this aspect of the website adjusted. 

Yes, I love that the coupons are accepted, but here's what I don't love. When you drive up to pick up your order, you submit your coupons to the store employee. The coupons are "placed in your file" and the savings is deducted from your next order. In my opinion, this is the number one issue with this service - the one thing that bothers me the most. Ugh! I despise it. So, here's what I do...I snap a photo of the coupons I'm submitting (also making note of them in the shopper notes) and then I double-check them against my next order - making sure that no coupons have been missed. Have I caught mistakes? Yes. Drives me crazy. My photo documentation/note taking has definitely paid off, but I wish I didn't have to do it at all. Wouldn't it just be easier for them to deduct the amount at the time of your order? You would think...but no one really asked me...

Have you used this service? 

Some of you have told me that you love to grocery shop! In this season of life, grocery shopping is most definitely a chore that I don't love, so I've been excited to save time (and still money) by using Harris Teeter's Express-Lane Service. 

What pros/cons would you add to the list?

Are you a Target shopper? Target is another place where scoring deals is easy - thanks to their awesome coupon-stacking policy! Their customer service? Now that's another story...