I got fired on my day off for “stealing” groceries.
If you aren’t aware, Instacart is a grocery deliver service app that guarantees same-day delivery. As a customer, you can simply download the app, register as a customer and literally begin online grocery shopping just like you’d do with any other online purchases. The stores that Instacart is partnered with are provided for you. You can chat with your personal shopper and request substitutes and refunds if your items are not available. Once your groceries are purchased, your shopper delivers the items to your doorstep. The process is similar to become a shopper. You simply download the app, register and wait for your lanyard and Instacart Visa card to arrive in the mail before you can begin shopping. Once the shopping is done, simply deliver to the customer.
At the peak of COVID-19, I lost both my full time and part-time jobs. I became an Instacart shopper to keep myself afloat while applying for full time jobs. Combine the fear and frustrations of COVID-19, being over/under qualified for jobs and not being willing to accept minimum wage positions, I had a nice little cocktail of not being able to find another job. *I tried applying for unemployment and it was a nightmare.
I’ve been a shopper since March 2020. I started in Killeen until recently here in Austin. I’ve seen many a highs and lows as a shopper. The best and worst of customers, grocery store employees and customer service agents.
I survived the hump when customers were tip-baiting (offering big $$$ only to reduce the tips to $0 after their items were delivered). I survived the huge data breach (which Instacart initially denied) that reduced deliveries significantly. More recently, I have been surviving “bots” or hackers snatching the higher paying deliveries from honest shoppers. The Instacart platform has been a wild, Wild West shit-show for a long time but nothing compares to the email that I received yesterday about my account being deactivated.
So then I said
And then they said
My response was
And this is all that they provided
But that wasn’t enough for me.
All communication ceased from that point.
To date, I’ve only received ONE phone call about an order not being delivered and of course I had Instacart to contact the customer to verify the delivery and they did.
Any other emails I’ve received about an order not being delivered were met with me contacting customer service as well. Each time I had to defend myself. And each time I asked the customer service team to verify the deliveries with the pictures that shoppers are required to provide during delivery. I was told that they didn’t have access to this information on numerous occasions. How ironic.
Below are a few screenshots of real time conversations with customer support agents, because well, Instacart doesn’t allow you to actually speak with someone unless you’re being accused of stealing their groceries.
In the age of social media, I decided to head to Instagram to see if there was a way to get more assistance. I DM’d the officially account and went to the comment section of their posts.
Lo and behold.
I’m not the only one that this has happened to.
Their posts are FLOODED with complaints from shoppers like myself about issues ranging from account deactivations (as a result of false non-deliveries), tip-baiting, rude customers, poor customer support agent experiences and shoppers not being paid and/or reimbursed properly.
Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself.
My biggest question after this ordeal is exactly HOW is Instacart holding their customers accountable for rudeness, tip-baiting and false accusations? To me, it seems as if the only people being held accountable for anything is their shoppers who are risking their livelihoods to provide a service for a company that doesn’t support them. I also wonder if this issue is persistent across all independently contracted delivery service apps.
All I know is that what happened to me is a true shame. Unfortuately I’m sure that this won’t be the last time that it happens to a shopper. If you’ve had this experience or any other horror experiences with independently contracted delivery service apps, please feel free to reach out. We deserve answers.