Come And Get It - shopping online does not guarantee delivery

Come And Get It - shopping online does not guarantee deliverySPENDING | You can fill your order at ONLINE GROCERS, but be prepared to drive by a supermarket to pick it up.

THE TURMOIL surrounding dot-coms has hit online grocers especially hard. Home delivery is a painfully sore spot for e-grocers, who must either recoup their delivery costs by setting a high minimum on purchases or risk losing customers by raising their fees. Web-van, for example, has raised its minimum purchase for free home delivery from $50 to $75 for some California customers, and GroceryWorks has more than doubled its minimum order for free delivery from $25 to $60.

Rather than close up shop, struggling Internet grocers may be bailed out by traditional supermarkets. Customers will still order their groceries online but go to a nearby market to pick them up. If you prefer the convenience of delivery to your home or office, you'll have to pay for it.

Albertson's, the Idaho-based supermarket chain, already gives its customers the option of going to one of 36 Seattle-area stores to pick up online orders at drive-through sites. The service is free for online purchases of $5 or more. Otherwise, you have to pay $5.95, the same fee customers pay for a home or office delivery when purchases are less than $60.

"People in this business are throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks," says Matt Stamski, an analyst with Gomez Advisors, and he thinks the pickup option has staying power. "There's still the convenience of not having to walk around the store or stand in line at the check-out counter." And picky customers who prefer to examine their own avocados can run into the store.
Safe Shopping

Almost everywhere we shop-from the toy store at the mall to an online linen warehouse-we are asked to provide personal information. Some stores ask for a zip code or phone number at the checkout. Online sites may demand more,

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Do you love the convenience of online shopping but worry about who might be grabbing your credit card information? The truth is, using your credit card anywhere puts you at risk. Anyone who handles your credit information is a potential thief. But the Internet somehow instills greater fear. As we'll see,
Do you derive pleasure from pressing innumerable buttons on your touch-tone keypad just to get an answer to a simple question? How about logging on to a Web site and clicking aimlessly around, deluged with pop-up ads, to learn more about your long-distance account? Do you get a real kick out of being a target of cross-promotion?
Shopping Online Safely, There can be real advantages to shopping online: Prices are sometimes cheaper and product selection greater; it's often easier to find information about a particular product; parking isn't an issue; and the Internet is open 24 hours a day. But online shopping also has inherent risks and disadvantages,