Amazon Prime members used to be able to get Whole Foods orders delivered for free. Not anymore: Amazon this week started charging $9.95 for delivery, though Prime members still get discounts at the grocery store as well as free pickup for orders over $35. In response to the new fee, Walmart announced that subscribers of its own membership program, Walmart+, will get a $9.95 refund on their annual fee of $98, CNN reports. "Because customers deserve a grocery delivery service that won't leave a Whole in their wallet for delivery fees—whoops, typo," Walmart said in an email to customers. Walmart+ also offers members free grocery delivery, free shipping, and other perks.
As for Amazon's move, the company says the fee is necessary to cover delivery operating costs without raising grocery prices, as Whole Foods delivery orders more than tripled in 2020 over 2019 due to the pandemic. Last month, when Amazon first announced the fee was coming, Eater noted that "free" delivery was never really free. "The thing is, grocery delivery never should have been free in the first place," wrote Elazar Sontag. "Or at least, not if the outcome is consumers thinking they have a right to groceries dropped on their doorstep, while workers during the pandemic face incredible pressure to meet demand, and risk their lives in return for paltry health protections and low wages." (Read more Whole Foods stories.)