EVERGREEN, Colo. – King Soopers has increased its customer coverage area for deliveries both nationally and locally with its Instacart partnership, but Colorado's older residents say they're not reaping the benefits and are being left to fend for themselves.
The change happened this past Saturday, on April 28.
“Previous to their major decision, it was fine,” Wendy Lockwood, 79, said. “It was great. I didn't see any faults in it whatsoever.”
Lockwood has used the previous Home Shop delivery service for more than 13 years, ordering grocery delivery roughly three times a month.
“I would call in and give my list of what I wanted, and they would proceed to pass it on to those who delivered,” Lockwood explained. “They would go through the store and choose what I had on my list.”
Her groceries would then be delivered to her home.
Lockwood described her need, “On a scale of one to ten, my need would be ten.”
The senior said she has full-body arthritis and has survived three heart attacks. Because of this, Lockwood said it’s difficult for her to walk.
“I’ve had my share of disabilities and it’s limited my mobility,” she said.
Now that services have moved to a strictly digital platform, many seniors who aren't familiar with using technology have little option.
As Lockwood explained, customers would previously call into phone banks to place their grocery delivery orders. They’d be able to request all their necessities including hygiene products and prescriptions.
With this new partnership, the retailer is eliminating the need for a phone bank as orders will soon be placed through an app, or online.
Doing so will allow King Soopers to expand its delivery services to 110 locations across the region, offer 62 curbside pickup locations, with plans to add 25 new locations this year.
“King Soopers is investing in redefining our customers’ grocery shopping experience by bringing online and offline seamlessly together,” Dennis Gibson wrote in a press release.
The President of King Soopers explained, “Having grown our digital sales in 2017 by 90 percent, we continue to accelerate our digital roadmap in 2018 to make shopping with us simpler and more personalized.”
However, Lockwood and others maintain the partnership will do nothing but complicate their lives.
“I don’t have a computer. I can’t afford a computer,” Lockwood said. “We’re not in that generation.”
Lockwood described feeling extremely helpless with these upcoming changes. She told Denver7, “I’m expressing that pain and suffering, and I’m not the only one that’s going to be going through that if they proceed on with this.”
Lockwood said she doesn’t know what other options she has, but she’s considering calling local churches to see if they have services to assist.
“I’m willing to pay more for the delivery. It’s worth it to me,” she said. “I’m certain that there’s a lot of other seniors and disabled people who are of the same mind.”
Denver7 reached out to Adam Williamson with King Soopers.
The public information officer explained the biggest heartache with this partnership is no longer being able to go from phone to home.
Williamson acknowledged the retailer’s understanding that the change will impact the senior population drastically.
He compared the looming situation to Uber, the ride-sharing service. Williamson explained users would have difficulty finding Uber services in remote areas because of the lack of drivers. He said that will be the case with Instacart deliveries.
Williamson said the previous delivery option only worked for a small group. He added, while King Soopers will soon be able to help a majority, it’s hurting the minority.
The retailer's spokesperson released this statement to Denver7:
"We are redefining the grocery experience by investing in technology that meets the needs of today’s customer. For customers that prefer curbside pickup they can find this service at over 60 locations. King Soopers Delivery service can deliver in 2 hours or less and is available at 110 locations from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. We realize one size doesn’t fit all. We do wish we were able to meet every individual’s needs."