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A smooth test run getting Publix groceries delivered by Shipt

With all the hype on social media about Shipt coming to Tampa Bay, I had to try the grocery delivery service for myself.

I downloaded the free app on my iPhone and spent some time browsing its virtual aisles before placing an order. Shoppers have to sign up for a membership on before any orders can be placed on the app. Other than that, getting started is pretty easy.

I had to type in my email address, phone number, credit card information and my street address on the phone.

I found everything I normally shop for in Publix on the app. There's a great search feature that can pull up almost anything — even hard-to-find items like sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. (Shipt won't deliver beer, wine or liquor right now, though that may change in the future.)

I ordered groceries to make dinner Thursday night — fresh salmon from behind the seafood counter, sun-dried tomatoes, some regular beefsteak tomatoes, and more fragile goods like fresh baked Italian bread, a dozen eggs, two cartons of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked ice cream and three ripe peaches. I tried out a BOGO deal, too — and got two Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottles for the price of one.

When I went to schedule my order for later that evening, the app told me the next available delivery time was the next morning. So much for dinner Thursday night.

My groceries were scheduled to arrive sometime between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Friday morning. The app updated me to let me know that a shopper had accepted my order, and later that she was at the store shopping. She texted me when she was running a few minutes late and again when she arrived in my neighborhood.

The shopper was sweet and polite. She asked if I had questions and waited for me to inspect the bag of goods briefly before she went on her way.

I was pleasantly surprised, for the most part, at the groceries she had picked out. The peaches and tomatoes looked great. They were ripe and colorful with no bumps or bruises. The bread and eggs arrived without issue. The only problem was the ice cream. Both cartons were clearly freezer burned and one had a good-sized hole in the side and had started to make a mess.

The order cost $52.89 for eight items.

I thought the service was great. But there's something cathartic about a trip to Publix, so I don't see myself using the service often. Maybe if I'm planning a party, having groceries delivered the day of an event would be convenient.