Tag Archives: amazon-fresh

Big Radishes We Are Not

All kinds of changes are afoot at Amazon Fresh, as Amazon tries to figure out its business model in home delivery of groceries.

What’s the Deal with The Radishes?

Amazon Fresh used to offer free delivery on orders over $25, and then it became orders over $30. But now The Fresh is calling its biggest customers, those who buy over $400 per month in groceries, “Big Radishes” and offering free delivery on orders over $30- everybody else pays $5 on orders up to $75.

Unless you’re an Amazon Prime customer,which we are. So while we failed to achieve Big Radish status we still get free delivery at $30.

Greener: Fewer Bags and Pooled Delivery

Last time I ordered I noticed a truck icon that told me when a truck would be in my area. The site urged me to select that time and “Decrease your carbon footprint!” which I did. Of course it keeps their costs lower too. It’s a great feature to increase efficiency for everyone.


We also got a note in our order telling us that “one of the top requests we get from customers is to use fewer bags,” which they did. Kudos. More on their blog.

Another Expansion Vote

Back in January the Fresh put their expansion plans to a vote, and Ravenna won over Magnolia. But they just expanded to Magnolia anyway, making the last vote one of those kids’ games where everybody wins. They’re doing it again, this time pitting Redmond vs. Kirkland vs. Renton.

I can see the culture wars now:

  • Kirkland argues it must have free delivery of chips and beer for critical viewings of  The Bachelor and episodes of the post-clubbing munchies.
  • Redmond petitions that stressed-out Microsofties and their families, made despondent by constant traffic on Redmond Way and 148th, have stopped buying food at all and require assistance from the Fresh.
  • Meanwhile, Renton argues that police pursuing Renton’s Most Wanted should be able to get The Fresh delivered directly to patrol cars. (I love the Most  Wanted page. It’s a great example of putting government info online. The WordArt-style “Arrested!” could be updated though.)

Note that I don’t work for Amazon and have no economic interest in the business. A friend of mine was involved with the Mercer Island pilot before we even lived here. But I write about it because it’s an interesting application of technology, and darnit I like not having to stop by the store.

Radish photo credit: Robert Lurie on Flickr.

Feeling a Little Insecure About Amazon Fresh’s Intentions

Changes are afoot in Amazon fresh. They’ve got an online survey to see where they go next. But that’s not news for Mercer Islanders, as we were the pilot market for the Fresh.


Mercer Island was the Fresh’s first love. No, we’re not jealous it’s expanding. Well, maybe a little. Photo: amish.patel.

The real news is buried at the end of the story. Residents of the new neighborhood– most likely it’ll be Ballard– will have to be Amazon Prime members.

This is probably not good news for us Fresh customers. I can see only two reasons why they’d do this:

  1. They’re trying to increase adoption of Amazon Prime. But that’s odd, because grocery delivery must work better at scale. 3 deliveries per block must be better than making deliveries to a handful of Prime customers. Prime isn’t even profitable as a program by itself, it’s a bet that Prime customers will give Amazon more share of wallet. So why cut off non-Prime customers who would order anyway?
  2. Amazon is migrating Amazon Fresh to just plain Amazon, which already delivers dry goods. You can even get a subscription to your favorite cat food. If this is true, we’d lose all the refrigerated items- fresh produce, ice cream, guacamole.

Both options would would basically kill the Fresh as we know it. Today, I can (and do) order at night to have vegetables delivered the next day for dinner. With delivery of dry goods only, I’d still end up making all those annoying stops at the grocery store.


Photo: leff.

I love seeing those light green trucks driving around the Island, and even more I love seeing my groceries on my doorstep when I get home. But Amazon Fresh is still a test program, and it could go away any time. Amazon Fresh, don’t leave us to the mercy of Mercer Island grocery stores!

Bonus link: Seattle Daily Photo catches the Fresh in the act.

UPDATE as of 1/16: Techflash says Ravenna edged out Ballard. Savvy grocery customers, those Ravennans. Welcome to the Fresh club!

1st Football Game Tonight at MIHS

On the Mercer Island Bulletin Board, MIHS announces the 1st football game of the season:

With a strategic rider by Dave’s BBQ, who’s been all over the Island. They have some marketing department for a BBQ joint, or a sign-maker on steriods.

Boys’ Basketball is recruiting, and so is Yoga:

Earthcorps is still at it, and there’s a garage sale today and tomorrow.

Rest assured that I am fully committed to my spotty coverage of the Mercer Island Bulletin Board, and there’s a decent-to-strong chance that if a new sign goes up, I’ll be right on it within a week or two.

Bonus link #1:Amazon Fresh is delicious, but also noisy

Sounds like Amazon Fresh is waking people up, but not in a good way. The P-I reported that The Fresh may be breaking noise ordinances here on the Island with early-morning deliveries. Now as you know, we luv us some Amazon Fresh, but we’ve started getting afternoon instead of morning deliveries because those trucks are loud. As soon as we started leaving our windows open at night this spring, I heard how loud the friggin’ truck was.

Bonus link #2:MIHS radio station now at 88.9 FM

Again from the PI, sounds like the MIHS radio station got in a tussle with a station from The Dalles down in Oregon. Hot Jamz Radio is now at 88.9 FM.

Amazon Fresh, Don’t Leave Us to the Mercy of Mercer Island Grocery Stores

Photo credit: Flickr.

A friend noted that the Amazon Fresh pickup station in Kirkland was shuttered one day a few weeks ago. In this letter The Fresh confirms that its pickup stations are discontinued:

“In order to meet the considerable demands of the expansion of the home-delivery portion of our business, we are shifting our team’s efforts to focus on this area. As a result, starting on 15 February 2008, we will no longer be offering the AmazonFresh Pick-up service.”

Amazon Fresh’s home page says:

“Pre-Dawn, Doorstep, and Attended delivery options are available for neighborhoods in the following zip codes: 98004, 98005*, 98006*, 98007, 98008, 98033, 98039, 98040, 98102, 98109, 98112*, 98116, 98118*, 98119, 98122*, 98126, 98136, 98144*. (*Limited coverage)”

The best Mercer Island grocery store
Not discontinued. Photo credit: Flickr.

Don’t leave the 98040, Fresh! We’ll be stuck with the Mercer Island QFCs, doomed to the irony of standing in line longer to pay more for groceries.

Let me take a break from begging to note other news for addicts like us:

  • The letter hints at more local and organic products, nice since there’s no farmers market on Mercer Island.
  • Totes now nest, which is handy if like us you forget to put them out a couple of times and end up with seven of the suckers. In case the concept is difficult, Amazon Fresh includes a helpful diagram (credit: Amazon Fresh site): How the Totes Stack

Full disclosure: a friend works at Amazon Fresh, but that’s not the source of my devotion. I was skeptical until I tried the service.

Amazon Fresh TotesTotes, we’ll leave you out for pickup, but come back soon.

Photo credit: Flickr.

Mercer Island Grocery Stores: You’ve Got To Be Kidding

When we moved to Mercer Island, I was a little disappointed with the grocery stores. Two QFCs, and a hidden Albertson’s. Albertson’s isn’t a great grocery store. Sometimes I even have trouble finding the food in there.

My disappointment has slowly turned into a permanent feeling of dismay, and yes, claustrophobia. Of course it’s a lovely place, but when you’re in the middle of an island, you’ll probably pay way to much for a lime ($0.79? really?) than drive 25 minutes to and from the store. Yes, you can choose QFC North or QFC South, but there’s no reasonable alternative to QFC- it owns Mercer Island.

Take, friends, the case of a delicious meal from Thai Kitchen. If you haven’t tried these yet, I highly recommend them. The product to the far left is coconut milk, and it cost $2.88 at QFC. Delicious

Richard Sprague has been reporting on a farmers’ market forming in Mercer Island. Bring on the locally grown, free-range and hormone free chickens! I’d shop there, even though I’ve been to enough to know that the prices will probably be higher, not lower, than the local grocery store.

Anyway, back to the present. Mercer Island does have a white knight:
Amazon Fresh
Yes, Amazon, that Pac-Med-habitating, low-price-setting, picking and packing hometown wonder, which first got Fresh on Mercer Island. Amazon Fresh delivers, and they charge $1.66 for the same coconut milk.

Until we get the happy chickens and the expensive honey in our own Mercer Island farmers market, we’ll be shopping at Costco and Amazon Fresh.

BREAKING UPDATE: If you like a slice of lime with your Thai food (I highly recommend it), you’ll find a lime for $0.89 at QFC vs. $0.39 at Amazon Fresh. Somebody call the CNN Situation Room.