Pros and Cons of Walmart Pickup - Plus $10 off your first order!

Review of Walmart Pickup
This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information.

 I've heard a lot of people dis Walmart Pickup without ever even trying it. Some of this criticism comes from people who just flat hate Walmart and would never buy anything from them. The rest seems to come from folks who are concerned that our society is getting more and more screen-centric and that Pickup service is just another way to avoid socialization. I neither hate Walmart as an entity (and no, I'm not being compensated by them to write this or any other post*), nor do I feel their Pickup service hurts anyone's social life. I'm just a girl who loathes grocery shopping - so I decided to give Walmart Pickup a try.

Why I Use Walmart Pickup

When you live in a rural area, as we do, going to the grocery store is a much bigger deal than if you live in the city or suburbs. There are no "quick stops" to pick up one or two grocery items; a trip to the grocery store eats up more time and gas when you live in the sticks. I've also found the less we go inside the grocery store, the less money we spend - because we grab fewer impulse items.

So, for the above two economical reasons, I shop only twice a month. At this time, our homestead isn't producing meat on a regular basis, and while we eat a lot of homegrown veggies throughout much of the year, I'm still working toward total self-sufficiency in that department. So for my family of four, with two fast-growing kids who eat an awful lot (My 10-year-old has nothin' on most teenage boys!), I do buy quite a bit at the grocery store. Each trip results in an overflowing grocery cart...and pushing it through Walmart crowds is hard work, guys!

Other great reasons to use a pickup service like Walmart's include:

* You are ill...too ill to shop or just thoughtful enough you don't want to spread your germs around to everyone else.
* One or more of your kids are ill...Saving the world from germs and giving your and your family a break, too.
* You have preschoolers or babies and they are having a tough day...Enough said.
* You have mobility issues.
* Crowded places stress you out!!! (Ahem.)

How Walmart Pickup Works

Step 1: Set Up an Account

First ensure Walmart Pickup is available in your area by going here, clicking on "Walmart Grocery" (currently in the upper left of the screen), and entering your ZIP code. If it is available nearby, you'll also need to create a Walmart account, if you don't already have one for the Walmart website.

Step 2:  Order your groceries.

Start adding items to your online shopping cart. I like to do this on my laptop, because I'm an old fogy and I find it easier to use my computer than my phone for this task. But you can use the Walmart Grocery app, if you prefer.

I typically use the search feature to find the product I want. For example, I might type in: Cheddar Cheese Block. From there, I can choose the brand and size I desire. (By the by, the next time you place a Walmart Pickup order, you can either just reorder everything with the click of one button or select a few items to order again, making filling your cart even easier.)

Everything I've ordered on the Walmart Grocery site has had clear descriptions, including price, nutrition labels, ingredient lists, and sizes.

Speaking of which, the only real problem I've had with Walmart Pickup involves sizes. Apparently, I have no clue about them. For example, in my most recent order, I purchased 2 lbs. of flour to make my kids a (these days) rare treat of homemade bread (recipe here). The bag I received measured 4 x 6 inches. Who knew they even sold flour in a bag that small?! (What can you do with it? Make six cookies???) Obviously, I'm used to judging size by appearance next to other items, which is impossible to do online.

Step 2: Review your shopping cart.

This is just like reviewing your shopping cart for anything you buy online. At this point, I've changed quantities, deleted items from my cart, and added items to my cart. All of that is easy peasy.

Step 3: Tell Walmart when you want to pick up your groceries. 

They will offer a variety of days and times for you to choose from, and the times are relaxed; for example, 1 - 2 pm, not 1 pm sharp.

Step 4: Tell Walmart whether or not you'll accept substitutions on any or all of your items. 

In your online shopping cart, the default is a check (in a green box) beside every item you ordered; this indicates you'll accept a substitution if Walmart happens to be out of that specific item. (An example of a substitution: You ordered a 4 oz. jar of sweet pickles, but the store was out, so they give you a bigger jar of the same brand of sweet pickles or the same size jar of a different brand of sweet pickles.)

If you don't wish to accept substitutions for particular items, simply uncheck them. (If you prefer, you can also easily uncheck all items with the click of one button.)

I find this is a  great feature, by the way. I, for example, never want substitutions for the breakfast sausage I buy because there's only one brand in my local Walmart that doesn't contain sugar and is low enough in carbs to suit me. As a diabetic who doesn't consume sugar, a substitution would not work for me.

Do note that your Walmart shopper will never substitute cheaper items without charging you less. In my experience, he or she will always choose an item that's the same price or more expensive than what you ordered - but even if the substitution retails for more than what you originally ordered, Walmart won't charge you the difference.

Step 5: Pay with your credit or debit card.

There is NO FEE for the Walmart Pickup service. You pay for your groceries only, with no added charges.

Step 6: Wait for Walmart to say your groceries are ready.

A Walmart employee will shop for you, then the groceries will sit in a refrigerated or frozen area near the Pickup center, waiting for you. When all that's done, Walmart will send you an email or text - whichever you tell them you prefer.

Step 7: Let Walmart know you're on the way. 

This is easiest to do on your smartphone. If you have any technical difficulties with this step, the email or text also gives a phone number where you can call and tell a real person you're on the way.

By the way, this text or email also tells you exactly what substitutions, if any, were chosen. In the four times I've used Walmart Pickup, one order had one substitution and another order had two. How often you will see substitutions depends entirely upon your Walmart and how well stocked it is.

Step 8: Pull into the Pickup area of your local Walmart. 

The email mentioned in step 7 includes a map to show you where it is, if you don't already know. The grocery Pickup area is designated at the store by signs and orange paint, so it's easy to spot.

Park in a designated Pickup spot and a Walmart employee will come out to your car and verify any substitutions with you. If you decide you don't want the substitutes they chose, they will remove those items from your bags and you won't be charged for them.

The Walmart employee will then load your car with the groceries and have you sign that you received them. In my experience, they are careful about delicate items like bread and fruit, even putting special organge stickers on the bags containing them to remind everyone to use care.

Step 9: Take your groceries home and put them away!


What I Think about Walmart Pickup

I unabashedly love, love, LOVE this service! Grocery shopping used to be a 2.5 - 3-hour affair for me. Now I can quickly place my order online (in the comfort of my home) and pick it up in just a little over the time it takes to drive to Walmart. No fighting a crowded store. No waiting in line.

I've used Walmart Pickup four times now, and every time my order has been accurate, with no mistakes made. The produce has been in excellent shape, and so has the meat. (Walmart does have a policy that if you're unhappy with any item the Walmart shopper chose for you, they'll give you a full refund.)

Really my only complaint is that I no longer receive a traditional receipt that I can scan into apps like Ibotta, which give coupon-type rebates on certain items. Instead, Walmart emails me a receipt, which cannot be scanned into such apps. This is a bummer, but it's not enough to keep me from using Walmart Pickup.

Pros to Walmart Pickup:

* It's easy to order online (via your computer or your phone).

* You can order non-grocery items, too! I've ordered items found in the pharmacy and home goods sections, for example.

* Walmart remembers your preferred items and you can easily either re-order everything or just some things without having to add each item, one-by-one, to your cart.

* You get to choose the pickup time, which is flexible. (You don't have to be there at 9am sharp, for example. You have a window of one hour.)

* You can choose whether or not you'll accept substitutes, and before you accept your groceries, you can choose not to accept the particular substitutions, if any, your Walmart shopper picked for you.

* When a substitution is needed, if your Walmart shopper chooses a more expensive brand or a bigger size, you'll only be charged the price of the item you originally ordered. For instance, I recently ordered a small container of Great Value real maple syrup. My store was out of that size, so they substituted a larger container of the same product - but only charged me for the smaller size.

* You can change your order or add items to it within several hours of placing it. I've used this feature every time, because even though I make a shopping list ahead of time, I always seem to forget something!

* I've never had a long wait to get my groceries loaded. Usually, in a minute or two, someone comes out and starts loading my groceries. I'm sure as more and more people start using the service, this could potentially change. Hopefully, Walmart will be on top of demand. (And do remember that every Walmart has different management - some better than others.)

* The Walmart employees who bring my groceries out to me are friendly. In talking to them, I've learned they are excited about the new service, and love the variety they experience when shopping for other people. (It's got to be more fun than scanning items at checkout all day long.)

* Walmart has said they will never charge for this service. Walmart Pickup is FREE and is supposed to remain that way.

* Walmart does not allow employees to accept tips for this service. Depending upon your point of view, this can be a con, but if you're thinking in terms of expense, it's a bonus. (When I was in California caring for my father, I used Safeway's delivery service. It was easy, but there was a fee for delivery - plus I felt I should tip to the delivery guy. This was an added expense that under normal circumstances I could not justify at home.)

Cons to Walmart Pickup:

* There is a $30 minimum order.

* There's no "normal" print receipt that you can upload to coupon or rebate apps. Print coupons are also not accepted when you use Walmart Pickup. (Someone recently mentioned that if I go to eBates before hitting the Walmart Grocery site, I can earn money on my Pickup order that way. I'm going to try it next time I shop!)

* At this time, you can't use reusable grocery bags with Walmart Pickup.

* If you're like me, it might take time to learn what sizes to order!

* You have to place your order at least four hours before picking it up.


Overall, I'm blown away by how good the Walmart Pickup service is. The whole process is super easy, and it saves me tons of time and work. Although I plan to continue making a quick stop at Safeway for on-sale meat, I'll still use Walmart Pickup for most of my grocery shopping needs.


If you use this link, you'll get $10 off your first order with Walmart Pickup.

* Although no one is paying me to review Walmart Pickup or promote Walmart, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a wee bit should you choose to purchase anything through them or use the sites mentioned. Please see the FCC disclosure for full information.

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