Metro Detroit grocery delivery services overwhelmed by demand amid coronavirus outbreak

People turning to home delivery to avoid grocery stores

How the demand for grocery delivery services is growing

DETROIT – Even with Michigan now officially under a stay-at-home order, residents are still allowed to go to the grocery store. But to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, many people are turning to home delivery for their groceries, and the system is getting overwhelmed.

If you were hoping to make your order on your phone and have your groceries delivered, you might be out of luck, because the people who do the shipping are finding the shelves bare.

“You can’t find anything,” Instacart driver Sekera Johnson said. “First choices, everything is gone. No toilet paper, flou, bleaches -- everything is gone.”

Johnson is a Wayne State University student who picked up the side job to make extra money. Users sign up online for Instacart, pick a store and make their selections. Then, Johnson goes out and buys the groceries for delivery.

She said business is way up.

“So many people are becoming new members to Instacart,” Johnson said. “A lot of staying out of the way.”

The idea is great, especially if you’re trying to limit your exposure to the coronavirus and staying in, but the problem is that everyone has the same idea.

One Local 4 employee tried to order deliver from Amazon/Whole Foods on Instacart and Shipt, but there weren’t delivery times for either.

It shows how uneasy and nervous people are about the coronavirus outbreak.

“We had a huge order (and we) leave it all on the front porch,” Johnson said. “She was going to leave and did not want to touch us. She was really nervous. I think she was really nervous.”

Some Metro Detroit grocery stores offer delivery, as well. The owner of Nino Salvaggio said business is very busy, and workers are trying to accommodate all orders.

There are also a lot of good Samaritans offering to shop for others and deliver to their porch. Check your local Facebook and community groups.

Local 4 reached out to Instacart, Shipt and Amazon for comment, but did not hear back, likely because the companies are so busy right now.

The good news is that grocery stores are remaining open and working with suppliers to keep the shelves stocked.

About the Authors:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.