How many times have you been at Walmart, looking for help or waiting in a long line for a cashier who ends up questioning your coupons, and you found yourself thinking – wouldn’t it be nicer just to stay home and invite one of these Walmart employees into my kitchen instead?

Probably never, but Walmart wants to change your life anyway by coming into your kitchen and delivering your groceries straight to your refrigerator, so you never have to venture out to a store to buy your groceries again.

Walmart’s “InHome Delivery” service officially launches today in three test cities. And if it goes well in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida, Walmart may soon be delivering groceries to your fridge as well.

Walmart generated a lot of buzz earlier this year when it first announced that it was planning to offer in-home delivery, in which a Walmart employee will be given access to your home while you’re not there to stock your fridge with groceries that you ordered online. But, like deliveries via drone or driverless cars, it seemed a little like a pie-in-the-sky idea that might never become reality.

But if you live in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, then starting today – it’s real, all right.

The concept behind InHome Delivery is simple, and similar to rival Amazon’s “Amazon Key.” If you’re too busy to stop by the store, and don’t want to wait around at home during a long delivery window, you can order your groceries online from Walmart and have a delivery worker come into your house and put everything away for you, so your groceries are there waiting for you when you come home.

The concerns about InHome Delivery, meanwhile, are understandable – are you really supposed to leave a key out for a Walmart employee to enter your home, while you wonder what exactly they’re up to while they’re in there?

But Walmart says it’s thought about all of that. In order to sign up for InHome Delivery, you first need to get a Walmart-compatible smart lock installed on your front door or garage. “Level Lock” will work with your existing house keys or garage door opener, but will also allow you to lock and unlock your door using your smartphone. And it will grant Walmart delivery workers one-time access for each delivery. Their access ends when the delivery is complete, until the next time you place an order. The device will cost you $49.95, but installation is free.


Delivery workers will also wear a camera when they come inside your home, so you can watch the delivery remotely via live stream, as it happens, to make sure your fridge is the only thing they’re accessing.

And, as further reassurance, Walmart says all delivery employees must have at least one year of service with the company, and all will undergo extensive background checks and training.

So, if you can get over the idea of letting a stranger come inside your house to stock and rearrange the food in your refrigerator, how much will this convenience cost? Unlike some grocery delivery services like Instacart, which marks up the price of your groceries, Walmart says prices for the groceries you order via InHome Delivery will be the same as you’d pay in store. But, in addition to the cost of the smart lock, you’ll pay a flat fee of $19.95 per month for unlimited deliveries, with a $30 minimum per order.

That’s $239.40 a year for the privilege of never having to go inside a Walmart again.

So who would opt for this kind of costly convenience? “Take Laura, a mom of three in Kansas City with a full-time job as a graphic designer,” Walmart offers. “Laura loves baking banana bread with her kids but doesn’t have enough time to shop for the ingredients after work and get it out of the oven before bedtime. Now, with InHome Delivery, Laura can order all the ingredients she needs and have them delivered directly into her fridge while she’s at work – no more late-night trips to the store or taking time out of Sunday afternoons with her family.”

For now, it’s worth noting, InHome Delivery is mostly for groceries, and not the other kind of things you might get by stopping by a Walmart. You can get some general merchandise items like health and beauty products and over-the-counter medicine, but for any other type of item, you’ll have to venture out and get it yourself. Even so, Walmart says grocery deliveries are only the beginning – it’s planning new features for InHome Delivery, including the ability to return items purchased on Walmart.com simply by leaving them on your kitchen counter – no labels, boxes or return fees.

“We’re obsessed with simplifying grocery shopping and finding ways to make our customers’ lives easier,” Walmart says. “That’s why InHome goes the extra step so that our customers can live their lives without worrying about making it to the store or being home to accept a delivery.”

So if you don’t mind spending an extra couple of hundred dollars a year, and don’t mind inviting a Walmart delivery driver into your home when you’re not there, InHome Delivery could be for you. Otherwise, you might just want to keep your doors locked and fill your fridge the old-fashioned way – by going to the store and doing your grocery shopping yourself.

Image source: Walmart


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