Do You Use Walmart Grocery Pickup & Delivery? Find Out What Popular Perk is Ending Soon…

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Walmart is eliminating one of the perks of online grocery shopping.

blue walmart+ reusable shopping bags filled with groceries sitting on steps at front door

According to a leaked memo obtained by Business Insider, Walmart customers may soon be paying more for substitutions they receive with their online grocery pickup and delivery orders. The memo, which was sent to Walmart store managers on September 30th, confirmed that the store’s substitution pricing policy will be updated in the coming weeks.

The memo reads in part:

“Moving forward, customers will now pay the list price for specific substitution items made on their order. Customers and members will receive updates about this change in the Walmart app at various points in their shopping experience.”

Great Value White Bread

Ever since Walmart launched its grocery pickup and delivery service, customers were charged the same price for the item they originally ordered, even if the store substituted a more expensive item for it.

So if you ordered a loaf of the store’s Great Value white bread for $1 and it was out of stock on the day your order was filled, the store might have substituted Sara Lee white bread at no additional cost to you, even though the name brand costs $2.42. Under the new store policy, that substitution will now more than double the cost of your bread. 😬

Great Value peanut butter

As someone who orders a lot of groceries from Walmart, it was reassuring to know that a substitution would never increase the cost of my order. This was a nice benefit of ordering groceries online from Walmart, and certainly not unheard of in the grocery pickup and delivery space.

Kroger (the nation’s second largest grocer), still has a similar policy in place, ensuring that you only ever pay for the items you actually order. You’ll never pay more than what you were expecting to pay, even if you receive more expensive substitutions.

holding phone with open Walmart app

Despite Kroger’s more customer-friendly substitution policy, Walmart defended its own policy change by stating that it’s a standard practice in the industry. The company went on to say it’s part of a larger push to give customers “extra controls over what substitutions they receive when an item is unavailable.”

Customers do have the opportunity to select and save preferences for substitutions. You also have a brief window between the time that your order is filled and the time that it’s picked up or delivered during which you can accept or reject substitutions that were made to your order.

Walmart Customer Service

But if you miss the notification to view your substitutions and fail to reject them in time, you will be charged for them. Sometimes you can get a refund in the app, but many times Walmart requires you to return any unsatisfactory substitutions in-store.

Chances are, entering the store is the exact experience you were trying to avoid by ordering your groceries online in the first place, so that’s a definite bummer.


Walmart Grocery Pickup

Even though the new substitution policy will require a period of adjustment, Walmart pickup and delivery is still probably one of the best ways to save time on your grocery shopping. Unlike some other grocery shopping services, there are no service fees, you pay the same price for everything as you would in the store, and the curbside pickup option is completely free.

If you continue to order your groceries from Walmart, just be aware of this change, keep a close eye on your substitutions, and don’t hesitate to request a refund if you receive any items you wouldn’t have purchased yourself!


Check out some of the newest perks of having a Walmart+ membership

(Thanks, Jen!)


About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.


Join The Discussion

Comments 28

  1. 5pink1blue

    I may have missed this but can you note on substitutions? I know that you can specify this at Walgreens.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey there! I just checked this in my app. During checkout, I was able to update my substitution preferences for each item to either “replace with best match,” choose a specific replacement item of my choice, or “don’t replace.” Hoping that is helpful! πŸ’•

  2. Natalie

    If I’m not mistaken, you may still be able to reject substitutions at pick up.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Natalie! I just checked on this for you, and it looks like you can reject the substitutions at pick-up, but not on delivery. For delivery, the help article says – “the driver can’t remove the item from your order and return it to the store. You can set up a return from your Purchase History on the Walmart app or Walmart.com. Hoping this helps! ❀️

  3. Michelle

    When i did a walmart+ delivery order two days ago, it already said that any substitutions would be charged at the price of the item substituted. You can click no substitutions after you process your order if you go back into orders, and view the order details. I just plan to do that from now on. The order pickers are not always the best at doing substitutions!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing about your recent experience with your order, Michelle! πŸ’•

  4. Jen

    Bummer! It was so easy before when I just looked at the substitution and decided if it would work. I don’t like having to take price into consideration as well.

  5. Amy

    Wal-Mart feels like the wild west when it comes to substitutions–you never know what you’re gonna get. Yesterday they delivered keto bread as a substitute for gluten-free pizza. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Hopefully this makes for fewer crazy replacements. I’d just love for them to get the orders right consistently.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      That is an interesting substitution, Amy! This new policy sounds like customers will have more control over their substitutions, so it may help eliminate the random ones!

  6. Amy

    Somewhat related, but for those of you that order delivery, what % of your bill do you tip? I want to make sure I am doing this right!

    • rcb37404

      Hi Amy, I have Walmart Delivery also & since they use a separate service to deliver the groceries & that person doesn’t do the job of picking or bagging them, I tip based on distance driven from the store to my house. So much less than I would if it were a Shipt delivery or Instacart. I also know the drivers are paid a set amount for each delivery, so the tip is always something extra for them. HTH.

      • amy

        That helps a lot, thank you!

    • Luna

      20% like pizza delivery

  7. Amommy

    Well bye walmarWalmart, I never get the substituted list for some reason until pick up,which was annoying but now my bill could be a ton more no thanks. Yea I know ya can reject substituted items at pick up time but if it’s more than 1 item and imma picking up with a screaming baby or the wait time to get my order was over 10 minutes, no thanks…. hello kroger least they give me notifications via text 1 hr before pick

  8. KB

    I placed an order this week and it noted this change. πŸ‘ŽπŸ»

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Glad to hear that you were aware of the change before placing your order, KB! Thanks for sharing about your experience. πŸ’“

      • Justina

        yes, this switched up maybe 2 wks back for us on VA coast for pickup

  9. Carissa

    Happened to me yesterday. The person who brought my order out was NOT aware of this change, and she verified that I would be charged the lower price. She said to call 1-800-WALMART if I was charged the higher price. I called this number about an hour later, and they refunded me the amounts. This is so frustrating of a change, though I do like being able to pick the substitutes. I did not enjoy being charged twice as much for some items though!

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this change, Carissa. Happy to hear that their customer service was helpful with the adjustments/refunds on the substitutions. πŸ’“

  10. Pam

    I am going to miss those substitutions. It may sound crazy, but I always looked forward to the mystery of substitutions in my order. The biggest frustration for me is that in our area, there are times when the substitution email comes in at the same time as the ready for pickup email, so you aren’t given a chance to accept or reject the substitutions ahead of time. I don’t know if it’s short staffing, allowing too many pickups per window, or both, but many times my order is either ready right at the beginning of the pickup window or delayed a bit. It really is inconvenient to reject more than one or two substitutions at pickup since I typically have very large orders, so the change is very disappointing.

    • RamonaR

      Hi Pam. I seem to have the same inconvenience as you, whereas my substitution(s) email comes either at the same time as the pickup is ready email / text or I have a 4 minute time frame (why the 4 minutes…email is time-stamped 4:26pm and says I have until 4:30pm to review the substitutions, happens like this 50 percent of the time which does not give me enough time to sort through). I do appreciate the entire ordering online and pickup service as I’m unable to physically shop inside stores anymore, and being that I live in a rural area I don’t have the option of getting delivery at home, so I am just going to have to make it a point to review my substitution choices BEFOREHAND, especially now that I’m made aware of the new changes. Thank you, Hip2Save, for giving us the heads up. Appreciate all the help you do for us!

  11. SuzyHomemakerGoneBad

    I guess I will be checking the β€œno substitutions” button from now on. Some of the substitutions were a bit weird anyway, I guess.

  12. Mel

    We use Walmart because they DID honor the price of the original item ordered. The Kroger in my area NEVER has honored the original price. This change will probably change the way (and the store) I order my groceries because the option to reject your substitutions has never worked. I’ve tried online and through the ap. If they are going to change things, they really need to update the things they have in place so that they work properly.

  13. Materof6

    Thanks Hip2Save for the update. Two things…I’ve often wondered how they could keep affording the substitutions, but, like you said, Kroger does, but you would think Walmart could follow suit. Secondly, I personally have never had an associate make me keep the substitutions if I missed the window. They usually ask, “Did you see your substitutions?” (many times I miss them!). If I don’t like them, they politely adjust the bottom line. But, that’s my experience in the Knoxville. TN area at several different Walmart locations, it may differ elsewhere.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re welcome, Materof6! Thanks so much for letting us know how the substitutions have been working for your area. πŸ’—

  14. Lori

    I did an order yesterday and my total was $3 higher because I had two substitutions – so I think some stores are already doing it. But before I picked it up I was notified of the substitutions via email and could have rejected them if I wanted.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Hey Lori! I did spot that information about substitutions in my app today as well – so I would agree that many locations may already be rolling this change out. Thanks for sharing about your experience! πŸ’“

  15. Dollar Revolution

    Yep, I’ve been experiencing this for about the last month unfortunately. Always looked forward to that free little upgrade when something was out.
    Good thing is they are still doing the no questions ask refunds (as long as you don’t overdo it). So we got one substitution which completely did not make sense. So I clicked through for a refund on the item through the app and it was instantly approved.

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