Some customers play bait and zero tip tricks on Instacart shoppers
While much of society has come to see people who work in stores and deliver groceries to our homes as a lifeline in this time of pandemic, there are others who not only do not seem to value these workers but have preyed on their need to make a living. Reports across the country have come in about consumers offering large tips to Instacart shoppers only to pull the gratuity once a delivery has been made.
The way the Instacart system works is that the company’s shoppers can see details of the order — items to be bought, store location, what Instacart will pay for the delivery and the customer’s tip amount — when it comes in. Workers accept orders, shop for the items requested in a designated store and then deliver them to the homes of customers. In numerous cases since COVID-19 has forced Americans into their homes, however, shoppers see that promised tips vanish once a delivery has been made.
“It’s very demoralizing,” Annaliisa Arambula, who delivers for Instacart in the Portland, OR area, told CNN. “I don’t pretend to be a hero, like a nurse in a hospital … but I literally am exposing myself [to coronavirus] and when I return home, exposing my own family to the possibility of transmitting this disease. When you know that it’s somebody who’s just doing it to game the system and to get their order when they want it, it’s really frustrating.”
Instacart has said that it has made changes to its system, removing “none” as a tipping option and putting in a default amount that customers can change. The delivery service provider told 11 Alive in Atlanta that tip baiting happens in fewer than one percent of the orders it receives.
An Instacart shopper in the Atlanta area identified as Shika said that tips paid, in general, have actually gone down since the pandemic forced people to stay at home.
“The store is out of pasta or taco seasoning or something, and so, the more items I have to replace or refund, so at the end of it, I’m looking at fourteen dollars for two hours of work,” she told 11 Alive.” I have never had this many complaints in the three years I have done Instacart, and I don’t know if it’s for free groceries or refunds or whatever.”
There’s no doubt that tensions are running high in some places around the U.S. as retailers and third-party services such as Instacart and Shipt try to keep up with the unprecedented demand for home delivery of groceries. Many Americans who have not purchased groceries online before are doing so for the very first time. Twenty-eight percent of online grocery shoppers made their first purchase in March, according to an Acosta study.
- People are luring Instacart shoppers with big tips — and then changing them to zero – CNN
- Instacart shopper describes frustrations during pandemic: Number of shoppers going up, workload and tips going down – 11 Alive
- Amazon puts new online grocery customers on hold, reconfigures Whole Foods – RetailWire
- Will socially distanced shopping launch robot delivery for the masses? – RetailWire
- Retailers are going to curbside and delivery. Will they stay that way? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How should delivery services handle customers who appear to be trying to game the system? What have your personal delivery experiences been like since the coronavirus outbreak began?