Grocery delivery services trying to keep up with demand amid COVID-19

WYNNEWOOD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- With thousands across our region at home, either social distancing or in quarantine, grocery delivery services have become a lifeline.

But all those extra customers are pushing businesses to their limits, leading to long waits and limited supplies.

Many online grocery shoppers reached out to Action News with screenshots of what their online orders look like now, with signs that say, 'unavailable,' or 'sold out.'

Many shoppers said while they would usually get their groceries delivered in about two hours after ordering them online, now it's taking days, or weeks.

"If I could have had them delivered, I would have had them delivered," said Ryan Spalding, who lives in Roxborough.

Spalding said she felt she had no choice but to brave the grocery store, with hand sanitizer, because of the backup in online groceries.

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"I've been trying to search, and it's either everything I need isn't there, or recently the delivery times are just nonexistent," said Spalding. "I saw that there's a delivery time Friday night, but I kind or need food today."

A trip to the grocery store is more complicated for Erin Lewis, from Bluebell, who has three young children who are all out of school right now.

"It's frustrating because I don't want to take kids out to that environment," said Lewis. "I don't want to expose them to any sickness."

Lewis has been using online grocery delivery services like Shipt for about two years now, and it's a service she also pays for.

"Shipt has no options for delivery at all. When you click on that it says no delivery available," said Lewis.

Online grocery shoppers are feeling the effects in New Jersey, too.

"It is incredibly frustrating," said Harry Sampson, from Galloway, New Jersey.

Sampson said he's seeing orders delayed for over a week.

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"If I do need something, I'd have to wait," said Sampson.

"It kind of defeats the purpose of staying home," said Spalding.

Instacart told Action News, "Over the last three weeks, Instacart has seen the highest customer demand in company history with billions of dollars of groceries being sold on our platform."

Instacart said based on the current surge in demand, customers can expect to see delivery availability vary across stores during the busiest request windows.

"As consumer demand continues to climb, our teams are working around the clock to ensure we can reliably serve the millions of customers turning to Instacart as an essential service provider," the company added.
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