Illustration for article titled Peapod ceases Midwest delivery, making “hired delivery drivers” a quaint relic of past
Photo: Roman Tiraspolsky (iStock)

Grocery delivery service Peapod announced it’s closing its Midwest operations, the Chicago Tribune reports. That means cutting distribution centers in two Chicago suburbs, Chicago proper, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis, totaling 500 cut jobs. The company HQ will remain in Chicago’s West Loop, where it’s been since 2018. The company will still operate on the East Coast, but given the fact that it was founded in Evanston, Illinois, back in 1989, it’s striking to see its Midwest operations kick it first.

The online grocery industry is a booming one, having grown from $12 billion to $26 billion between 2016 and 2018. It only continues to grow. While Peapod might’ve been one of the earliest online grocery delivery companies, it appears to have gotten bested by newer, speedier rivals such as Instacart and Amazon. Peapod used a quaint, old-fashioned business model: drivers were actual Peapod employees who drove Peapod-owned trucks, not independent contractors who drive their own cars. As a retail consultant who spoke to the Tribune put it, “Once the expectation is set that you can get deliveries to your house in an hour, why would you settle for anything other than that?”

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While Peapod might’ve taken a little longer to deliver your groceries, at least those employees weren’t driving their own cars into the ground while doing it. So let’s take this as an opportunity to remind you that algorithms are cutting food deliverers’ pay and Instacart workers just recently called for a national boycott because they’re so underpaid. Waiting an extra hour for broccoli delivery looks pretty good now, eh?

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