We recently started to use Sainsbury’s online grocery shopping service to pick our groceries and have them delivered to our door. You pick a particular delivery slot on the day of your choice. The last time we did it the man in a van turned up just two minutes outside our chosen slot and handed over a £10 voucher off our next shop by way of recompense.
This got me thinking about how I can try and maximise the chance of late delivery. There are a number of factors which need to be taken into account:
- Position on the delivery schedule
- Traffic and road works
- Weather conditions
Both times so far our delivery has been towards the end of (or after) the chosen hour, which means we are probably towards the end of the delivery schedule. However this is dependent on who else has chosen to have a delivery in that hour. Therefore it makes sense to choose a time in which other people are most likely to want a delivery. Probably on a weekend, with Saturday being most likely. So far, we have chosen Saturday 12-1pm so this seems to back this up.
In order to work out the significance of the route we need to determine where the driver is likely to be coming from. It is a fair assumption that they start from a Sainsburys store, of which there are three possibilities. It is probable that they have a number of vans each servicing a fairly standard set of routes with a variable number of stops each time. Over the course of time through friendly chat with the delivery driver I should be able to ascertain more information on the route which will help me when I come to consider…
Traffic and road works. Once I have a better idea of where the van is likely to come from, then I will have a good idea of what times of day they are most likely to hit congestion. Due to the fact that we live in a marina, there is effectively only one route in and out of where we live (they are unlikely to revert to water-borne delivery methods) which gives us a good starting position. Given the location of the Sainsburys stores, they are likely to come from the generally West or North of us. To the West is the city centre which houses a major shopping centre, retail park and leisure complex which normally causes heavy traffic on Saturday lunchtimes. To the North is the home of Southampton Football Club which gives us a particular advantage on days when Saints have a home game with traffic build up between about 12-2 before games, and 4:45-6pm after games. After games tends to be much worse.
Road works are harder to judge, but for instance there are currently works on a nearbly one-way system which any van coming from the West would need to traverse. The westerly direction also includes a level crossing occasionally used by trains entering the docks, though this is very hard to predict.
The final variable is the weather. We all know that traffic snarls up during bad weather, but we also know that weather is notoriously hard to predict with accuracy. We can choose a delivery date from next day to up to three weeks, so logic suggests that choosing a much nearer date on which there is a reasonable chance of inclement weather is better than a far-off date.
So, taking this all into account, the optimum time for delivery is on a Saturday late afternoon when Saints are playing at home and it is pouring down with rain. Unfortunately the cupboards are bare, so we are getting one this Saturday when Saints are away to Barnsley. We’ve gone for 11-12pm to try and hit the shopping traffic at its peak, and to try a slightly different time to before to see if it makes any difference in the place we seem to get in the delivery schedule.
Of course, after all this we could just go to the store and forego any chance of saving getting a £10 discount but not have to pay £5 delivery charge either, but that wouldn’t be as interesting now would it!