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Are you ready for drive-through grocery stores?

Some businesses let you order groceries online and then pick them up at former gas stations or delivery trucks the next day.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 22, 2013 12:31PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe grocery store could soon be as obsolete as the video rental store.

Giant Foods is turning gas stations into grocery pickup locations, The Washington Post's Thomas Heath says. You order online, pull up at the station, and an employee "deposits your order, from a loaf of bread to 50 bags of groceries, into the trunk." It has 20 such grocery stations around Washington, D.C., right now.

Groceries © Tetra Images/CorbisIt's not the only business giving online groceries a try. Relay Foods has 35 locations in the D.C. area, with plans for up to 100, Heath says. "It has raised $14.5 million from venture capital firms, including investments from Google chairman Eric Schmidt's investment vehicle, Tomorrow Ventures," he says.

Time's Brad Tuttle notes that a few other businesses are running pickup grocery operations in limited service areas, including Walmart and Safeway.

In general, customers need to order online the evening before they want their stuff. Same-day pickup may be available for an added fee. Groceries are shipped from central warehouses to a pickup location in trucks with refrigerated cases. Some businesses will have an employee load the groceries into your car, while others require you to come inside and pick them up.

Depending on the service, groceries are picked up at an actual grocery store, a converted gas station, or a designated mobile pickup location -- the back of the truck carrying the groceries from the warehouse.

Tuttle identifies some concerns that have kept this kind of service from growing faster. People want to pick their own produce, for instance. They worry about freshness or goods being damaged in transit. Groceries already somehow get to grocery stores relatively fresh and unharmed, but this is new -- it seems natural to worry.

Would you be interested in trying a grocery pickup service? Have you already used one?

More on Money Talks News:

Oct 22, 2013 1:50PM
I think this is a great idea.  I would love to order the night before and stop by to pick up my food.  After a long day at work, who wants to have to grocery shop?  I know I don't.  All I want to do is go home.  This is just as good at the Peapod service Giant has.  I have used that in the past and it's great.  I used it a lot over one winter when it snowed a lot and I didn't want to have to deal with that mess.  What a great service.  With Peapod, all I had to do was order, schedule deliver, and answer my front door.  Wonderful!  I never got any produce or any product that was not fresh or in good condition.  I think this will catch on no matter where it is offered.
Oct 22, 2013 2:23PM
So how do I checkout the lettuce to see if it is good or the bananas?  Processed goods likely would be fine but not fresh produce.  
Oct 22, 2013 3:05PM
seems like a good idea but i think to many things can go wrong?
Oct 22, 2013 2:42PM

We lived in the country and worked in the city and there was a store that offered this service for small fee. I was a little worried about what we would get, but it was a high quality store and they selected great quality produce and cuts of meat. It was definitely worth the cost to be able to swing through their drive through and be on our way. We are back to doing our own shopping now that we are living in the city again and are not spending the time on long commutes.

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