When Chris Pagnucco received her most recent grocery delivery order, it was missing the three cans of on-sale Kroger cinnamon rolls with frosting. Instead, she got three cans of Pillsbury pastry sheets.


On her original order, Pagnucco had said she was willing to accept any frosting flavor as a substitute.


"It's an innocent, honest mistake," said Pagnucco, 71, of Rochester. "It's a product that I have used and will use, but the rolls was something I was hoping for."


Pagnucco said she is generally successful with her online grocery orders and appreciates the service.


With the pastry sheets, Pagnucco said, she will turn them into a some sort of baking project.


"Because the pastry sheets are in a can, they'll last a while," Pagnucco said. "I plan on using them to make sweet or savory dish."


When the coronavirus pandemic hit, grocery delivery and curbside pickup services became became immensely popular as more and more people stayed home and looked for ways to avoid supermarkets.


As shopping services became busier than ever, customers faced longer wait times, orders abruptly canceled, missing items from their orders and odd substitutions.


Still, most people appear to be thankful for the service.


Jolyn Felten who lives in Warren and is a bargainstobounty.com blogger, has had some glitches with products when ordering groceries online.


Once she received radishes instead of a greenhouse cucumber. And she had a pricing issue with bananas. When she began ordering the bananas, they were listed at 25 cents each. But at checkout she was charged 50 cents each and she had ordered 28 bananas because she was shopping for a group.


Eventually she was credited.


But Felten is thankful for the professional shoppers from services such as Shipt and Instacart because they work really hard at getting you what you want.


"The more notes you give your shopper, the faster and more efficiently they can shop and it makes it easier for them," Felten said.


Before Monica Laux, a Shipt shopper in Macomb County, starts each order, she sends a text message to the customer asking if she can substitute items within reason.


"I will always ask them when in doubt," Laux said. "When they choose allow for substitutes you can send atext and say what's available."


But Laux is grateful for those who give ample information on substituting.


"They are so helpful," Laux said. "Some just tell me to use my best judgment."


With Kroger PickUp, if you do not select a substitution and the item is not available, you will get a substitute if available.


If an item is substituted with a one that is higher priced, according to Kroger, the customer will be charged the lower price. For example, if you order a 5-pound bag of Kroger brand flour for $1.99 and they sub out Gold Medal Flour that costs $2.49, they will charge you $1.99.


Here are 5 things to know when ordering groceries for pickup or delivery:



When ordering be as specific as you can about the products you want and what you will take as a substitute. If you don't want substitutions make sure you indicate that. Be specific about brands, sizes and preferences. For example you can say you want only ripe bananas with no green tinge to them. List what you will take as a substitute.


Be patient. Delivery and pickup still has some wait times. Once you place your order and secure a date and time make sure to be available during that time to answer any questions from your shopper.
Double check that the your address and phone number is correct so your shopper can communicate with you. Shoppers don't see your actual phone number. An encrypted number system is used by both the customers and shopper.
If you get a wrong product and want a refund and went directly through Instacart or Shipt, you will need to contact them to request a refund. It’s best do so as soon as possible. Instacart will not provide refunds on orders after one week. If you place your order through the store's website, you will need to contact the store's customer service department.
Do tip on your order and don't "tip bait." Tip baiting is when customers add a large tip to attract a shopper to pickup the order. After the ordered is delivered, the customer reduces or removes the tip entirely. Still, Instacart said that tip baiting is a rare occurrence. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Instacart said, customers either adjust their tip upward or not at all after after delivery on 99.5% of orders.