Interested in trying Kroger Grocery Curbside Pickup but a little bit hesitant? Here’s my honest review and experience after trying a Kroger Pick Up Order!
Last week, I tried out ALDI Instacart Delivery. It was sort of a big fail — or at least I definitely couldn’t recommend it from a money-saving standpoint. (Read my post here, if you missed it.) But so many of you followed up and messaged me asking if I could try out Kroger Pick Up and do a review of my experience.
So, this week, I decided to branch out and try Kroger Pick Up (formerly Clicklist) and share my honest thoughts on how it went. I, once again, challenged myself to stick with our $70 budget and see if I could get enough groceries to last for the week with Kroger Pickup. Here are my thoughts after trying it out…
What is Kroger Curbside Pickup?
Formerly called Kroger Clicklist, you can order your groceries online from Kroger and then pick them up curbside on the same day!
It’s super simple to use Kroger Pickup and you get access to all the same weekly deals and mobile coupons. Plus, it’s free! Win-Win!
Keep reading to learn about my honest experience, how it works, and all the pros and cons!
Pros of Kroger Pick Up
Kroger Pickup has the same online weekly deals and digital coupons as in-store weekly ads
This is a huge selling point! I was able to place a Kroger Pick Up Order and get the same deals I normally would.
I went to KrogerKrazy.com and looked at the weekly ad to find what deals were running, clipped the digital coupons, and then added these items to my cart. I was able to score a lot of great Buy 5 or More Participating Products, Get $1 Off of Each deals + take advantage of some of the weekly Digital Coupon deal (hello, $4.99 bags of frozen chicken!)
The Kroger Pick Up fee is waived on $35+ orders!
As of right now (and I believe it’s been this way for a number of months!), it is completely free to place a Kroger Pick Up Order if you spend $35! The fee is usually $4.95. If you have little kids, are immunocompromised, or just don’t want to have to go into the store for your weekly shopping, as long as you are spending $35+, it literally costs nothing extra for someone to shop for you and bring your groceries out to your car. Score!
Cons of Kroger Grocery Pickup
You can’t get markdowns.
One of the reasons we’re able to keep our grocery budget low while also having lots of variety in it is by scouring our Kroger stores for their fantastic markdowns and closeouts. The only way to get these markdowns and closeouts is by shopping in-store.
You don’t know the final total on your Kroger Pick Up Order until after you get your groceries.
This drawback was a big deal for me. I found it really difficult to figure out what my total would be when the prices weren’t showing what I would actually pay for each item after the Buy 5 deals + the digital coupons — which were a lot of the deals I got.
My total at checkout said I was going to pay $120+… but I knew that wasn’t correct. By my estimation, I thought it would be right around $70 after taking off all of the Buy 5, Get $5 off discounts + the digital coupon discounts. However, I completely messed up on the pizzas and accidentally calculated the price they would be *after* the Ibotta rebate.
If you were on a really tight budget with no wiggle room, I think it could be very hard and frustrating to not know your exact total — and to maybe end up spending more than you had planned to, which could really throw your budget into a tailspin.
Instead of $70 like I thought our total would be, our total was actually $82 — which is okay since we fund our budget categories for the month ahead. So I’ll just make sure to only spend $58 this week on groceries and it will be alright. Not ideal, but we’ll make it work. Back when Jesse was in law school and we didn’t have any extra wiggle room in our budget, the $12 unexpected extra it cost could have been a devastating blow to our budget.
I think with time and practice, I could definitely get better at figuring out the totals and making sure I didn’t overspend. But I still much prefer shopping in-store where I can see the shelf tags and ring up my own groceries at self-checkout and see the prices in real time.
That said, if we end up in a really full season in the future (such as when we say yes to another foster placement, etc.) and I need to take a break from hardcore strategic shopping OR we are trying to stay out of the stores because we are caring for a medically fragile foster child or something, I think that using Kroger Pickup could definitely be a great option — provided we were okay with spending a little more on groceries and not knowing our exact total.
My Kroger Pickup Shopping Trip
Here’s what I ended up buying and paying:
- 2 bags of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- 2 cartons Kroger ice cream — $1.79 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- 3 bags frozen veggies — $1 each
- 5 DiGiorno Pizzas — $3.99 each with the Kroger Weekly Digital Coupon deal
- 3 3-lb. bags frozen chicken breasts — $4.99 each with the Kroger Weekly Digital Coupon deal
- 2 packages Pampers wipes — $0.99 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- Peanut Butter — $1.50
- 4 boxes cereal — $1.49 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- 2 bottles Kraft BBQ sauce — $0.49 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- Pringles — $0.99 when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- 3 bags Kroger chips — $1 each with Buy 2, Get 1 free sale (I just realized they didn’t take off my digital coupon — I thought these were going to be $0.75 each.)
- Water — $0.89
- 3-lb. Gala Apples — $3.99
- 32-ounce shredded cheese — $4.99 when you purchase 5 or more participating items
- Eggs — $2.50
- Milk — $2.49
- Carrots — $1
- 2 heads Lettuce — $1.79 each
- Total with tax — $82.61
By the way, after you place your order, it’s super easy to pick it up. I got an email notification + a text notification reminder to pick up my order. They also notified me that one item wasn’t available and offered me the choice of a substitute.
When you get to the store, you can let them know you are on your way through the app. Then, just pull into the designated stall and let them know you are there through the app. They bring out your order and load it up for you.
Kroger Curbside Pickup Advice:
- If you choose to allow substitutions, I’ve heard they are very generous in what kinds of substitutions they offer often giving you a larger size for the same price. However, keep in mind that they won’t take off the digital coupon nor will they give you the discount if what they substitute is not part of the Buy 5 deal. I chose not to have any substitutions because I bought so many items that had digital coupons and Buy 5 discounts attached to them.
- If you order on the day before the sales change and then pick up the next day (the day the sales change), I’ve been told you won’t get the day before price but the day of prices. This could dramatically change your totals… so just something to keep in mind!
- You do not get a paper copy of your receipt. Instead, it is emailed to you and also available in the app. I wish they would give you a paper copy to review to make sure everything is correct. Plus, it would allow you to easily scan it into iBotta for rebates.
Kroger Grocery Pickup FAQ
It’s super simple! Just place your order, wait for a notification by text/email that your order is ready, and then go pick it up. You can let them know you’re “on your way” when you leave for the store. Pull into a designated parking space for Kroger Curbside Pickup when you get there and select the “I’m here” button on the website or in the app. An employee will bring your order out to you!
Nope! They explicitly state on their website that you are not supposed to tip employees for Kroger pickup. In fact, Kroger associates are not supposed to accept tips at all.
When you order online, you have access to all the weekly deals and mobile coupons — just like when you’re shopping in-stores! You will not be able to use hard copy coupons, though, since you’re ordering online.
Well I just got an idea. We do not have Kroger but a town nearby my husband frequently travels to for work does. I could order and have him pick up. It would give me the option to shop at Kroger.
Crystal Paine says
Oh! That’s such a great idea!
I’ve tried Kroger’s pick up 3 times now and will never again. Every time they have been out of stock of way too many items (and not notified me when I was placing my order…meaning I still had to go do more shopping), twice I have been charged double for multiple items, and one of those times that I was charged double for meat, it was missing from my order! When I’ve gone back to the store to get it fixed, the customer service is great, but they shake their head like it’s something they have repeatedly experienced too with the online shopping. Plus, I always have to wait almost 30-45 minutes for my order once I am at the store! I have used Walmart’s pick up since it started and rarely have a bad experience.
I did a Kroger pick up once and had to wait about 20 minutes. They were very busy and it was raining. They gave me a very generous discount. I also tried to add onto my order and for some reason it gave me two orders and took a discount off both, so I was very happy. However, I did ask the young man waiting on me if he was allowed to accept tips. He said he was new and yes he could so I gave him a tip. I read online afterwards that he was not allowed to accept tips.
I’m so glad you’ve had good experience with Kroger pick up.
It’s not the same here. I have tried to pick up about 15 times over the past two years, and it’s never been worth it.
We do have paper receipts, but we don’t have a way of knowing substitutions ahead of time. I’m doing well when my order is 1/2 to 2/3rds completed.
The wait for our store is 20-25 minutes; since it normally only takes me 30-35 in store, I choose to shop myself so I can take advantage of markdowns. I’ll save the pickup for if we’re sick or headed out of town.
I’ve heard of others having great service, and I’m happy for everyone who does. As for me, I’ll stick to Walmart or Aldi pickup. Less hassle and time for me.
Crystal Paine says
Did you try downloading the app and adding your phone number? The should text you about substitutions if you do that… or does your store say they don’t offer that?
Thanks for commenting. Our store at this time does not do that. If it’s something “new” than we run about a year behind. Lol
I’m willing to try again down the road. By then maybe our store will have caught up.
I do use the app regularly for digital coupons, store sales, and to check availability.
I love grocery shopping! Most of the time it’s not a big deal to run into our store for a half hour.
I use Kroger pick up weekly. After I build my order, I go through and subtract the dollars off for the mega event items. Then I go through and subtract the digital coupons I am expecting to apply to my order. It is a bit more time consuming, but it is actually very easy to get a better estimate of what you are going to spend. You can also use paper coupons (at least you can at my local Kroger) that they scan when they bring your groceries out. Also they have been very good about taking an extra dollar off my order if they have to substitute any items that are mega event items in order to truly make it an even substitution price wise. At my local Kroger you have to spend a minimum of $35 to get the free pick up. I always ask for a paper receipt so I can verify that the correct coupons came off and that the mega events and/or substitutions are priced correctly. This service has saved me a lot of time and even though there have been some inconveniences (like they forget to put a bag of groceries in my car), it has been worth it overall. Most of the time with substitutions they will upgrade you to a larger size or name brand if you had ordered Kroger brand. If I get home and realize my total was wrong or a digital coupon didn’t come off like I was expecting, Kroger Customer Service will take care of it for me by adding a credit to my Plus card.
For Ibotta, take a picture of your receipt right from your computer screen! My Purchases > Purchase Details > View Receipt. I’ve never had an issue with this method and saves me from having to keep track of the paper receipts.
For the buy 5, if I suspect an item is popular and might be out-of-stock, I add a comment that I’d like them to sub something that counts towards the buy 5, which they’ve always done.
I haven’t tried Kroger, but I did try Safeway. I’m surprised they couldn’t total up your order, because I make sure I download all the deals, and the Safeway app tells me exactly what I will pay when I’m done ordering. Their pick up service has always been free (as far as I know).
Like you, I prefer to shop in-store for all those mark down deals. Last month, my whole family contracted COVID (we had it very lightly) and the grocery pick up was a lifesaver for us! I could order and pay for the food, and then a friends could pick it up and drop it off at our door!
Thank you so much for your honest review. I live in Utah and Smith’s is a Kroger affiliate. I’ve used the pick up option several times over the last year and while it is more convenient in some ways, I’ve had issues with at least 1-2 items on every order. Sometimes, they say they are out of something and so I just don’t get it. Another time, they gave me fresh parsley when I ordered fresh cilantro (a tad frustrating). I prefer shopping in store, but sometimes I’ll deal with the other frustrations because life is full or I’d prefer not to tote my small children through the store.
There are always pros and cons to new services. It’s important to see what works best for your situation and make an informed decision! -Jordan, MSM Team
I use the Kroger pickup and agree that it is difficult to know ahead of time what the price will be, but I figure that when I am walking around the store, I don’t know the price until I get to the checkout anyway. I do get a paper copy of the receipt when I pick up the groceries so I can see then what happened, just like when you are at the cashier. I always say yes to substitutions, because like you said, they are generous. The app will let you decline substitutions so you can decide based on your coupons whether you want the thing. The problem I have is when there is a buy 5 deal, if one of the products isn’t available, that messes up your whole buy 5 setup, since you can’t pick up another product that qualifies.
It is really important for everyone to weigh the pros and cons and see what works best for their families! -Jordan, MSM Team
Sarah Smith says
I’ve been doing grocery delivery/pick-up for years. I’ve used Instacart, Shipt and Walmart and Sam’s grocery pick up.
(Cons:) There is definitely a loss of ‘control’ over the items you get (quality of produce, substitutions etc). I also don’t think it is reasonable to expect to pay the same amount for grocery services as you do when you shop yourself. You can always find markdowns at the store. You can use more coupons when shopping yourself. Also, I do pay extra to tip my shopper that delivers the items to my house.
(Pros:) With that being said, I absolutely love the convenience that grocery pick-up/delivery provides. To me, the little extra I spend saves me in time, gas and back pain (haha.) I can easily work at home while my groceries are being shopped for. I don’t have to brave the snow or rain. Not to mention no impulse buys with kids, etc.
I am fortunate to have some pretty good shoppers with Instacart and Shipt. I can decide ahead of time if I want an item substituted or refunded if my store is out of something. I can also chat with my shopper if I forget to put something on my list. This has saved my life a time or two!
Again, this service may not be for everyone if you like absolute control of what goes into your grocery cart and want to pinch every single penny, but for me, the pros outweigh the cons. 🙂
You bring up so many great points! It is so important for everyone to look at how this can work for their family and decide if it is worth it for them. Everyone will be different. It’s important to find what fits your situation best. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience! -Jordan, MSM Team
I do love this service. The problem I have had is the store not having a product that was qualifying me for a Buy 5 deal.
I can see how that would definitely be frustrating! -Jordan, MSM Team
You can view your Kroger receipts on the Kroger App. I don’t know how long it takes but since we track our budget with groceries separate from paper products, it is helpful to know the cost to split up that total. I don’t know if you could print them or add them to ibotta that way.
Thanks for the tip! -Jordan, MSM Team
I have only done Walmart grocery. I like it because I can see each item add up as it goes straight into the cart. If you are not to brand picky many of Walmarts storebrand items are cheaper than other items even with a coupon (and most are just as good). (I know coupons can really help, but I live in an area where if you aren’t the first one after the deal, you may as well not bother😜).
Thank you for sharing your personal experience! We love hearing how these different services work for our readers! -Jordan, MSM Team
Archie Davis Jr says
Your insight is excellent . I believe each person has to do what is best for them. I never had issue using pickup and I was not worried about Subs because I set aside enough money for my budget. Curbside works for me because I not worried about Markdowns. I used it alot and it worked for me. Each Kroger store is different when it comes to curbside.
You are so right in that each person has to decide what’s best for them! That is so important to remember! -Jordan, MSM Team
Charity P says
I’m not as good at finding markdowns in the store (not sure if it’s the time I go, location, or having kids distracting me) so for me when I do curbside it’s more of a guarantee to get the deals I want. For instance, when I order kroger rootbeer and they are out in the store they give me A&W for the same special sale price. I like doing coupons and studying the website to make my list beforehand so I do usually get really good deals on stuff – just no markdowns. I don’t always do pickup (because I do like the markdown search) but when they have the get $5 off for 5 items deals or something similar I do enjoy stocking up without having to take little kids into the store.
Thanks for sharing your honest perspective! -Jordan, MSM Team
I agree that the inability to get all my normal discounts is a reason I don’t like using the curbside. I’ve used it once in order to space out trips when case numbers were high locally. I didn’t have many many discounts as it was my last minute Thanksgiving trip and included my perishable “must haves”. I did allow for substitutions and found that everything that was marked down was free. Free milk, free cottage cheese, free whip cream, etc. I was okay with that! Might not happen every time, but it was a nice surprise.
Whoa!! That’s amazing! -Jordan, MSM Team
I just go over my order and calculate my total with correct prices before I submit my order. Its always been pretty accurate unless I’ve agreed to a substitution that changed it.
Lauren G. says
How do you factor diapers into your weekly budget?
Crystal Paine says
We haven’t had to buy many because our friends were crazy generous… but we will eventually need to factor them in!
I have never done the pickup, it scares me. I’d rather go shopping myself. Plus, it’s my relaxing time! I like to Shopkick as well.
I have done over 85% of my grocery shopping via Kroger pickup within the last year (and almost all the rest still online). Building the order online is relatively easy, although I am not able to move items from a list directly into a cart. Using e coupons has dramatically improved in the last year. I almost always get a paper receipt when I pick up. Maybe it has to do with substitutions. (It’s rare for me to get everything on my order.) Lately, I have had to make sure I have a $35 minimum order to waive the $4.95 fee. This is a relatively new change in my area. I do like that there are several stores near me, so if one store is out of an item I want, I immediately put the item back into my cart and change the store so I can get it on my next order (which is often the next day to get whatever I couldn’t get the first time around). Although this is annoying, at least I can get what I want/need since I am not shopping in the stores these days.
I have had some unusual things happen with substitutions:
1) If you order a multipack of some item, they will not substitute the same number of individual items. I once tried to get a 4-pack of beans. They were out and they wouldn’t substitute 4 single cans (same size, even). That was really frustrating. I’m sure it has to do with their computer systems, but it seems like the person filling the order could figure that out.
2) The substitutions are sometimes TOO generous. I was told I would get a 12-14 lb. turkey on my pickup the weekend before Thanksgiving. I got my order, went home, immediately unloaded, and…no turkey at all. I immediately went back to the pickup line, and some poor teenaged boy, very apologetic, told me he would go back in and get a turkey for me. About 5 minutes later, I see him in my side mirror hauling what had to be the biggest turkey ever. Poor kid could barely carry the thing! He was so proud that he had gotten me a 22-24 pound turkey to feed my family of four with plenty of leftovers. I took pity on him, not because I really wanted that much turkey, but because I just couldn’t send him back into the store lugging that giant bird around!
3) About 5-6 weeks later, I was preparing to make a bunch of freezer meals between Christmas and New Year’s. I’d ordered about $90 worth of organic meat and got my text message promptly at 20 past the hour before I was due to pick up my order informing me that they were out of all the meat. That seemed odd, but I chalked it up to the holidays and figured I’d just order it from another store and get it the next day. Well, when I got home from the pickup, I had all the meat and had not been charged for it at all. It was their mistake, but I couldn’t let that one go. So I went back to the store, and had to go in to customer service (which I was nervous about since I’ve only been in the store a handful of times since last March) and tried to explain the whole thing to the guy at the service desk. Of course, since it was through Kroger pickup, he had to walk to some other part of the store to talk to someone while I was left at the desk counting the minutes until he returned. When he came back, he didn’t really know what to do, so he charged me $50 and I was out of there!
All in all, I am grateful for the service but am looking forward to shopping in the store once again. Honestly, it has been one of the things I have missed the most the past year.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! -Jordan, MSM Team
I’ve used the Kroger Click list a lot. You can ask for a paper receipt when you pick your stuff up. And I suggest going over that receipt with a fine tooth comb. I can’t tell you how many times my clipped coupons have not come off. Or a deal like on pop, say 4 for $10.00. Doesn’t come up that sale price.
When any of this happens, I call the click list dept. explain what coupons didn’t come off and they give me a credit on my next shopping trip. You just have to tell them you have a credit when you pick up your groceries.
Thanks for the tip! -Jordan, MSM Team
At one time you could sync your Ibotta account with your Kroger Plus account and then you didn’t have to worry about scanning the paper receipt. It hasn’t worked for several months, but hopefully Ibotta will bring that feature back soon!
In this season I’m currently in, Kroger Pickup and WalMart pick up save my sanity, lol! But, yes, you have to be super careful to not blow your budget!
Also, with WalMart pickup you don’t get a paper receipt, but Ibotta can be linked up with your WalMart account. You just have to make sure to load your Ibotta offers before you pick up your groceries. I receive my Ibotta rebates 1-2 hours after my pickup.
Thanks for sharing those tips! -Jordan, MSM Team
Target does that with Ibotta so whether you shop online or in-store you will get your rebates without the need for receipt pics, you just have to make sure to add your offers to whichever method you are using to shop at target with- they have a set of offers for shopping in store and one for online, although I believe they are mostly the same.
You can get your paper receipt! Just ask!
When I pull up and text that I have arrived, I add a hint that I want a paper receipt by entering my lane number and the word “receipt “- run is altogether, no spaces allowed. (Ex.- 2receipt ). Most employees get the message and bring a copy with them, but if not, they go back when I ask- politely, of course! Also you can hand them paper coupons when you pick up! Of course they will have to go back and print after removing the paper coupons.
Thank you for sharing those tips! -Jordan, MSM Team
Not knowing the final cost is a big drawback for me too. I do get a paper receipt, and I have found errors almost every time I have done pick-up. My store will credit substitutions for the Buy 5 sales, but I usually have to go to the front desk.
After trying Pick-up a few times, I have gone back to in-store shopping. Often I went into the store and found items they were “out of.” I like to choose my own produce and meat.
Crystal Paine says
I definitely agree that I think in-store is best! But I’m also a weird person in that I LOVE grocery shopping! 🙂