Review: Prime Pantry

It’s been a deliciously lazy Sunday morning here. While I have a gig this afternoon, I finished my math homework last night, and my Physics homework earlier in the week, so I have no due-dates for Monday looming and I could seize the opportunity to spend time with my husband chatting and sipping coffee.

We were interrupted by the arrival of a box. The box was borne on the slender arms of a staggering postlady, who gasped to the First Reader “It’s heavy.”

And lo, there was indeed a bright red sticker on the box which eclipsed our petite mail carrier warning that it was heavy. The First Reader, a quizzical look on his face, brought it to the kitchen where I was preparing for the day’s work, and opened it. I stopped him and grabbed the camera, because I’d promised a review of this service to a friend, and having used it twice now, felt that it was time to reveal my findings.

Prime Pantry Box
The box is partitioned to prevent shifting and squishing.

The box is a standard size, which while you are shopping Prime Pantry, the items each fill a pre-determined percentage of the box. I think the percentages are based on weight and total bulk, so if you were buying, say, all soda you’d max out before the box was ‘full’. This box I filled to about 94% and it wasn’t ‘full’ in terms of the items filling the box, and they were packed securely with brown paper and cardboard dividers to keep the load from shifting. The packaging on both boxes we have gotten has been very well done, not a surprise given Amazon’s track record in shipping.

Prime Pantry Box
I was wondering how they would keep dishsoap from blowing up in the box… this seems to be a good idea.

As a Prime member, Pantry does not qualify for free shipping: each Pantry box costs you $5.99 to ship. But if you do what I have been doing, and looking through the ‘buy four, get free shipping’ items, then you can avoid the shipping cost. I found that costs of items are comparable to, or lower than, my usual sources for those items. I’ve long been trained in keeping track of the ‘per item’ cost while shopping, usually looking at the per pound or ounce price breakdown for accurate tracking rather than the cost ‘per box’ and at one time, I could approach the checkout line knowing within a dollar what the total in my cart would ring up to. I’m disinclined to spend more money for convenience, so I was initially dubious about Pantry, and wouldn’t have tried it at all if Amazon hadn’t offered me $5 credits for shipping ‘slow’ on my other Prime purchases. Also, there are coupons on some items, a nice little surprise.

Burts Bee's Hand Salve review
Mini Review: this is good stuff. I battle exczema on my hands all winter, and a friend had given me lotion bars (primarily olive oil and beeswax) last year but they were gone… and this is the right stuff if you are prone to very dry and cracking skin.

The selection isn’t crazy good… yet. I suspect that will change if other people adopt this like I plan to. There are already ‘generic’ options that mean you aren’t stuck will all name-brands. I was very pleased to see a lot of hard-to-find nut meals and spices that would be great if I decide to chase the gluten-free baking for my Mom and others who suffer from real gluten issues. I haven’t made up my mind on that one yet. Maybe I should just send a box to my Mom…

Overall, the biggest reason I will probably do this Pantry box once a month or so (sorry, Mail lady!) is that it cuts our shopping down to perishables. Eggs, milk, fruit, veg… and everything else I can throw into my Pantry list, then order at will rather than taking the time to drive to the store, wander around shopping and impulse buying (we’re good about that, but still, odd things wander into the cart when neither of us are looking). I just don’t have time, and I’ve never been one to like shopping. I find it an exhausting chore, and so does the First Reader. So I’m sold on this new Amazon offering.

Verdict: recommended. But be kind to your two-legged delivery person.