3 Reasons Instacart Grocery Delivery Service Is A Big No-Go For Me

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This is not an Instacart review. My opinions and experiences are solely based on my situation.

I’m self-employed and set my own hours.

I work from home and don’t have kids.

Publix Supermarket is a 3-minute drive from me.

Well, that does it…

I shouldn’t need to use Instacart unless I’m lazy, right!?

Just like everyone should stop paying for cable television.

And quit drinking lattes.

I mean, that’s what “money/social experts” seem to think.

But there’s much more to it than just that.

I do have friends, many of whom have kids.

I hear all of the adventures of “dragging them along everyplace” (their words, not mine!).

I hear the wishes of “It would be great to have X brought to me”.

I totally get it!

Hell, I’d love to have someone bring me 5 cases of bottled water and other supplies, especially when building my emergency preparedness kit.

I still can’t bring myself to use this grocery delivery service, not because I’m cheap, but for other reasons…

My Recommendation
Instacart grocery delivery service

Home Grocery Delivery Service

Never go off of what one person’s experience is–try Instacart and see for yourself if it’s a service that benefits you & makes life easier!

How Does Instacart Work?

Before we get into the three main issues, this is something that has been brought up numerous times.

No one seems to be able to answer with authority anymore the question of “how does Instacart work?”

Some regions require an Instacart Express subscription.

In some regions, you can simply order and pay the fee.

Sometimes the fee can be waived.

None of this information is transparently available on the Instacart website.

Many people in the comments on this very article state as much.

Apparently isn’t as simple as signing up, ordering, paying, and knowing exactly how much your Instacart order will cost anymore.

If I was desperate to have a grocery delivery service available to me, this would be a 4-part article!

Alas, it isn’t so let’s get to my actual complaints about Instacart!

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I Don’t Trust Instacart Shoppers

Instacart shopper inspecting white eggs in a cardboard carton in front of egg cabinet at grocery store
Many people won’t even check eggs (or other items) for quality when they shop for their own family, so I don’t trust that they will check for me if I use a grocery delivery service.

Personally, I know my mother taught me how to shop.

She showed me how to use coupons, not obsessively to the point where the search would outweigh the benefit, but like a normal person.

She taught me how to look for the best quality groceries.

And most importantly, she taught me that everything has an expiration date.

That’s right, it’s not just the produce.

Or the meat.

Or the dairy.

Even pantry and dry-packaged items have expiration dates.

This is where my mistrust comes in.

On the site, I don’t see anything about qualifications except for age, availability, and ability to lift heavy loads.

Simon over at the Rideshare Dashboard has a pretty in-depth overview of the Instacart job signup process for being an Instacart shopper.

He specifically mentions the fact that viewing training videos and passing the associated quizzes is no longer a requirement for becoming an Instacart shopper.

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There is also some talk about actual in-person training which doesn’t seem to inspire much confidence either.

So, who is to say that when I place an order, the person who does the picking will have any knowledge about shopping other than what food is what?

If I order meat, will they just grab a package that comes close to the amount of weight I desire, or will they actually inspect it for quality (fat content or color)?

Will they know that eggs need to be checked to make sure they aren’t cracked on the bottom and stuck to the carton?

Hell, will they even open up the package to see if the eggs are cracked on the top?

You might want to read this article about cracked eggs and bacteria.

If I order produce will the picker know how to test fruits or vegetables for freshness?

I have a hard time paying for a service that is 50-50 at best to deliver me the best quality items available at the time.

Now, this isn’t to say that all shoppers are bad–there are always good and bad people in any line of work–but a generalization isn’t a shot at anyone in particular so please understand that if you or someone you know is a shopper/driver…no one is speaking about them personally!

However, there are instances of Instacart shoppers purchasing products for their own use on the customers’ dime which doesn’t help alleviate any trust issues and not just in one instance, but across the country.

I guess that can happen when you have to pay for an expensive car on tips.

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I Don’t Trust Instacart Fees/Pricing

Black male surprised trying to figure out Instacart prices for grocery delivery service on a laptop
That’s the look of many people who have no idea what the actual cost of a grocery delivery service will be until they are actually charged (from the many comments).

Just today, I tried a little experiment.

I had just come back from that Publix which is around the corner from my house.

Yes, in the middle of the morning on a Friday…that’s one of the best parts of a business owner.

But I digress…

I decided to go to the Instacart website and test out the prices.

Unfortunately, I had to create an account first, which I also find to be a pain in the ass, and don’t really trust sites that don’t let you see how they work without giving over your personal info.

Hesitant as I was, I did it so I can gain access and see what the prices were like.

Now, I did read the FAQ about pricing and averages and data feeds and all before doing my comparison.

That in and of itself gave me pause because if you have all of these disclaimers, you are essentially saying that your prices probably won’t match the store’s prices.

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It’s basically just an excuse to charge even more on top of the standard grocery delivery service/subscription fees.

Anyway, the first thing I looked at was Fresh Express Baby Spinach because I knew that I had just bought it and remembered the price I paid was $3.99 each BOGO.

I did a search on the Instacart Publix section and found this:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

The BOGO is correct, but the pricing is off.

And just to compare it to what the store itself advertises in the current circular:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

Notice in the 2nd image, it says “SAVE UP TO $4.19”?

That means the most expensive Fresh Express product that Publix sells under this sale costs $.40 more through Instacart.

Want another one?

Good, because I tested another one from the Publix ad simply to see if there might be something to this.

This time I tested a 5lb bag of Organic Russet Potatoes:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

So this one even tells you that it’s on sale and displays the “savings” as well.

But compared to the one from the Publix ad…

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

Sure there’s no picture on this one, but it really doesn’t matter because the Instacart image is just a plain bag and anyone who has ever been grocery shopping knows, those 5lb bags always are branded.

Getting back on track…

The Publix ad shows, again, a lower price.

And remember that “savings” Instacart displayed?

Well, it appears they not only charge more than the store does, but also calculate everything differently, reflecting larger price savings than Publix offers.

And I tried a bunch of other items too, but I wasn’t in the mood to start clipping images of everything…you can do your own test to see how your area stacks up.

It just doesn’t sit well with me.

If everything is $.40-$.50 more expensive and you are paying for the service on top of that I call bullshit real quick!

Sure, the store may dictate the pricing via Instacart, but here’s the real problem:

Instacart is getting money from the store to provide the service and from you in the form of fees/subscriptions.

That is double-dipping, and that is where my big issue with the price differences comes from.

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Instacart Isn’t Partnered With All Of My Stores

This may be insignificant to many people.

That’s cool because this is only pertaining to my personal reasons for not using the service.

If any of you are friends with me on Facebook or follow my Facebook Page or Instagram feed you’ll know that mention an Italian market frequently when I talk about food (and if you aren’t, go follow NOW ? )

That’s because 90% of the items I buy from it beats the pants off of any of the national/regional supermarket chains.

And in case you’re wondering, I mostly buy fresh meats/produce and cook my meals from scratch rather than buying prepackaged foods–not a judgment, but it does clarify why I don’t get much use out of a big supermarket.

Here’s the thing–in my area, there are 4 options for using Instacart, and my main store isn’t one of them.

Side note: Instacart is in a bunch of Aldi stores which is a place I definitely think people should give a shot!

So, when it comes to the one I do go to that is in my service are–Publix–I only go there for the BOGOs, and occasionally when I get coupons for $5 of $50 in the mail direct from the store itself (which is like 1 month a year).

And when I go, I may end up spending between $15-$25, which makes even a $5 delivery fee a relatively HUGE amount!

It’s kind of like those dumbass pizza chains that give you a $7 pizza after applying the promo code but then charge a $4 delivery fee (and they all suck anyway hahaha but you get my point).

If you shop frequently or in a larger volume than I do and can get that fee down to a tiny relative value, that’s great…it just doesn’t work for me.

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Instacart And Store Receipts

A big issue stems from the pricing differences and receipts–or not getting the original.

Some people have come to me to argue that you don’t get the original receipt from the store because you are buying from Instacart.

The argument is that as a reseller you shouldn’t get a receipt showing what the original cast was the same way you don’t get a receipt from the store showing its own purchase price in addition to your copy.

The fault with that argument is simple:

Instacart isn’t buying items to store and sell later via its website.

Instead, the company is providing a personal shopping and delivery service.

This is exactly why you should get the original receipt–as a personal services company, you should be allowed to compare what the cost difference is between doing it yourself and what the Instacart costs add.

Personal shoppers do exactly that–spend the client’s money at cost and add their fee on top.

That’s an important piece of the puzzle for a lot of people.

People who budget their time and money want to know if the added cost is worth outsourcing grocery shopping as opposed to doing it themselves.

It’s not a minor thing for a lot of people, especially when they take the time to really break it all down and see a sometimes large percentage increase in cost by using the service.

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Instacart Customer Service

Woman looking over Instacart receipt with concern after receiving grocery delivery service order.
If you check your Instacart receipt and notice that you were charged for items you didn’t receive Instacart customer service is quick about rectifying the situation.

It does seem as though there is one “bright spot” about using Instacart for a grocery delivery service.

The reason I put bright spot in quotations is that I firmly believe that with the best companies you will never hear anything about their customer service (good or bad) because they deliver from the start.

But I digress…

It seems from most accounts and especially down in the comments that Instacart customer service is pretty good.

As mentioned in point #1 above, there have been many instances of Instacart shoppers buying their own items on the customer’s order.

I definitely can understand some people’s worry about becoming an identity theft victim in these circumstances.

Alerting Instacart customer service seems to quickly resolve the issues.

This appears to also go for underwhelming selections picked by the Instacart shoppers.

Again, while I think it’s terrible to have to even contact Instacart customer service for these negative issues, at least they are given the latitude to fix it quickly.

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Update For 2020 & Beyond

I hate talking about hot-button or “moment-in-time” issues, but this needs to be addressed.

(To be clear, I am not using the names or buzzwords here specifically because I am not trying to capitalize on those searches)

A lot of people are starting to comment about how life is changing for them.

Using Instacart and similar grocery delivery services can certainly make life more manageable, particularly if you unexpectedly find yourself home with children for an extended period of time.

Or if you are elderly.

Or have a compromised immune system.

Having Instacart deliver the groceries will certainly allow you to practice (extreme?) social distancing or at the very least insulate yourself.

Trust me, I’m acutely aware of the importance of this as my mother is immunocompromised due to a kidney transplant.

This all goes back to my main point–that I have questions about the service.

Never do I say you should not try Instacart.

I never even say that it’s a bad service.

Never do I say these people shouldn’t try to earn a living.

So, especially now with the situation impacting the way we go about our daily lives, it’s important to understand that I am simply voicing my own personal concerns about Instacart.

If shopping using the Instacart grocery delivery service makes your life easier, go for it.

If it makes you feel safer, use it.

Again, you need to do what works for you and your particular situation, regardless of what anyone else has experienced–including me!

My Recommendation
Hello Fresh meal delivery service

Meal Delivery Service

If you don’t have time to plan for meals but still prefer to cook, try HelloFresh & get full meals in a box complete with instructions.

Wrapping Up

Look, not everyone is going to agree with me.

I not only recognize that fact, I expect it.

I also realize the marketing agencies are all over the negative trying to convince people of how great Instacart is via ad campaigns and social media.

Plus, I actually wrote about how personal finance should be tailored to the individual and not used as a blanket or a one-size-fits-all type of deal.

So, sure you may be like many of my friends and not want to drag screaming kids up and down the aisles of your grocery store (again–their words, not mine!).

You may not care that you’re paying higher prices on top of the service fee because any amount would be worth having that task off of your shoulders.

The quality or shelf-life of your food may not even matter because you never even considered it important yourself.

You may have the money in your monthly budget to pay for the convenience.

That’s all cool with me.

Again, this is all due to my own personal manner of handling my food needs and my personal living situation, and yours may vary greatly.

I’m just voicing my own concerns because I hear about people using the service or waiting for it to be available and I keep thinking about those three things each and every time.

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Your Turn

Have you ever tried Instacart? Tell us your experience–good, bad, ugly it all helps! And if you haven’t used it yet, what are the reasons for your own hesitance? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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  1. I agree! I finally caved and used it a couple of weeks ago and the fees were a manageable $3. That plus a tip made it worth the convenience. Today I tried to do the same and after adding all the crap to my cart I finally go to checkout and I’m met with $3.99 dees for all the available delivery windows. Ok fine. I got this far. Then after choosing one I see that I’m being overcharged on all of my items, I have a $4 delivery fee, a $10 service fee, and of course I have to tip the poor soul being exploited by this trash company – thats $20 minimum just for the delivery!!! Outrageous.

  2. Well I can’t speak for every shopper, however my mother taught me how to shop as well. She taught me to check the same things you listed above. I am an instacart shopper. I pride myself on delivering the highest quality food I can. I have insulated bags to keep cold/frozen food cold and hot food hot. I pride myself on delivering the same quality of service I would expect if I we’re ordering the food for me and my family. I know a lot of other shoppers that do the same thing as I do.

  3. I can use a calculator and bypass an accountant too but I don’t mind paying the account because the service is worth it to me. Hopefully they are not a terrible account but you never know, maybe they are not careful with my money like some are not careful about checking eggs. Also, how much am I being charged by said accountant, it doesn’t feel transparent to me. What if they don’t have to update the income statements as much as last year? Do I get money back? I’m clearly being tongue and cheek but my point is services cost money. Lots of delivery services have popped up over the last decade and most have failed due to the fact they couldn’t sustain a financial model…Instacart abs Shipt are pulling it off, and shockingly yes it costs money. I know, difficult for an accountant I’m sure 😉 I think what people forget is this isn’t pizza delivery. A annual $100 fee isn’t going to cover a years worth of shopping for someone who does the shopping AND delivery. The shopping part is intensive. And you have to know that whether you know it or not the pizza costs more because they have delivery drivers. It may be that all the pizzas cost more so it’s harder to distinguish. In a way, instacart is actually just a more honest look at how services impact prices and I doubt many go into the service being so naive. It’s a fact that a definitive way to impact ones happiness in a measurable way is by using services and this is one of those that saves people time and aggravation. I don’t know many people who love grocery shopping to be honest. So for those who can afford it and plan it out it’s a great convenience but also had a cost. I mean you have to pay a similar annual fee for Costco and Sams Club. Doesn’t mean you get anything else besides being allowed to walk in that door. Anyways I appreciate the interesting topic and I get that it’s your personal take but also your personal take is a very narrow perspective and tonally came off angry about it. You make some good points about shoppers taking care of you, but I’ve seen on my camera Amazon and other delivery people on occasion toss stuff onto my porch. It’s the risk you take when you don’t do everything yourself and there has to be some trust that the majority of food items in a grocery store are good and I like to assume the same with shopper 🙂

  4. I was suspicious after I ordered from Meijer’s and my bill was higher than I expected. I went online and entered the exact same items from Meijers pick up and while I wascharged$70 on Instacart, had I used the pick up service my total would have been under $50! This is a huge mark up a d does not include the tip and service charge. I will be canceling my membership.

  5. I just ordered from Instacart last night… they did leave the receipt in the bag… but online and in an email it showed $443.20 as my subtotal… but it was actually $401.23 on the receipt. But then I was charged $1.34 for tax (strange)
    $22.16 for a tip
    $22.16 for a service fee (coincidence?)
    $6.68 for a heavy order fee (I had two gallons of milk)
    And somehow ended up with a $10.00 coupon.
    All in all.. I spent $80 extra with $20 missing somehow…
    no one contacted me about replacements (they usually do) because all of my gluten free or vegan products were replaced with non vegan or full gluten products.
    I have picky kids and this was awful service.

  6. Actually, you might be happy to know that you are wrong. Take me for instance. My car is being repaired (and we are in a pandemic), so i can’t go to the grocery store (Wegmans). I use(d) instacart to deliver my order, which i placed through my local Wegmans website. Now, I am fine paying Instacart delivery fee of only $3.99 but “Wegmans” added a “shopper fee” to my bill total which they verbally advised that it’s not a fee that is paid to Instacart… it covers liability insurance, back ground checks, etc…) and this i’m fine with as well… it’s only when the prices on the “Wegmans website” for product that i buy regularly, was more than that regular price. Example. A round loaf of Tuscan Garlic Rosemary presliced which i buy weekly, costs me $4.50 – however on the grocery store website (not instacart) shows same bread cost $5.25. I found this with almost all my items… that the online price and the actual labeled price, is different. So I spoke to both Instacart and Wegmans at great length (actually today), and this is Wegmans doing, not Instacart. Wegmans on the phone and then again in writing told me their prices are higher online on their website vs in store pricing for the very same item, in order to cover the cost of “shopping the order) – they advised to expect each item to be roughly 15% higher per item – they then gave me an example. A $100 order purchased in store will be $115 when purchased through their website. And in writing it says this charge is collected by the grocery store and not paid to Instacart. Instacart makes their money on the subscriptions and delivery fees… not the product price difference.
    I called Instacart and confirmed exactly the same. Instacart also said that I could see a list of stores which do not upcharge online products to identical in store items, on their website. I’m going to go that route now. Again, i don’t mind paying a company to do a job, to do a service… delivery fee and subscription fee is fine – they have to make money and then we tip the delivery driver on top of that… (same if you order a pizza or chinese for delivery) – My beef is paying $.70-$1.25 more for an item because i ordered it online as part of my instagram order, only to see a lesser labeled sticker price when i take it out of the bag. In my opinion, that’s borderline stealing. #wegmansshouldbeashamed

  7. I literally just got my delivery and have been using instacart for about 3 years now. My problem when I was living in Florida wasn’t with them but with Publix. At the very beginning it states that prices may be higher than in the store…this was only with Publix. I live in Pa. now and use Aldi and Shop and Save through instacart and prices have been exactly what was in the ads specials included. Then I get my receipts through my email. Once accidentally the shopper left it in the bag and it was exactly what I was charged. I use the month by month subscription for 9.99 if I think I might use it 2 or more times which allows me to save on the 3.99 delivery fee.

  8. I occasionally do use instacart. With this COVID business I have to use a mask to get in the store and they make me extremely anxious. I can only stay in the store a short time before I feel like I am going to have a panic attack . Not many people seem to understand that not everyone can “just wear the damn mask”

    The think that gets me with Instacart is the fees. It is ridiculous to have to pay a service fee AND a delivery fee, plus you have to give a tio also. All this on top of the groceries themselves being upcharged at least .50 an item. That adds

  9. I am an Instacart shopper…..I always give my customers the store receipt, Instacart doesn’t tell us not to give the store receipt….so I don’t know where you got the info that we don’t give the store receipt to the customer!!! You are paying for a service, shopping and delivering! Of course there are fees. If you don’t want or like to shop, we do it for you!!!  With the pandemic, people don’t want to go out in public. I pick a customer’s groceries like I would my own and I have had GREAT customer comments about how I pick meat and produce!!!! All the info in your article is available for a customer to read before using INSTACART…..I found it before I ever signed on as a shopper…..all your article does is SCARE the public from using INSTACART AND OTHER SHOPPING SERVICES OUT THERE!!!!!
    Great journalism!!!

  10. I found the delivery from Aldi drivers to be very unprofessional, I live in an apartment building on the 6th floor. The driver left my bags downstairs without even notifying me that they were there.

  11. I tried Instacart three times. The first time went beautifully and smoothly. I purchased items that were very simplistic and easy to find. No one asked me any questions and Michaela had absolutely no problems finding absolutely everything I ordered. I ordered, I got a text saying my order was ready for pick up. I went to the store, the items were brought out to me and I was THRILLED.
    Second time: Lots and lots of texts from a very reliable shopper who told me that items were not available and asked me if a replacement was okay. Her communications skills were amazing and she went out of her way to find items that were suitable and send lots of pictures of items. She asked me at the end if I wanted anything else. She was kind enough to send picture of new items I asked for and asked me if the new items were okay. She was great. Pick up was perfect. A bit annoyed at the inconvenience. But still felt okay about the service.
    Third time: ABSOLUTE #%(#*)+$ TRAINWRECK!!! (Major understatement) This new shopper was completely clueless as of where to find items that weren’t really that hard to find if you shopped Shaw’s on a regular basis. She actually asked me if my order was for frozen or fresh organic Kale. Are you frickin’ kidding me?!!! Can’t follow instructions by looking at a picture. WTF! I ordered an item that the other shoppers had no problem getting. The person said she couldn’t find it and it would need to be refunded. Did she offer me a replacement?? NO. She didn’t ask me. This item was crucial to my order. I finally receive a message that my order was done. ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!??? Did she ask me if I wanted anything else? NO. Did she ask me if there was anything else I wanted? NO. The kicker was when I went to the store. I clicked on I am on my way when I was on my way. I clicked on the “I’m at the store button”. I get a message that reads. “No one is available to bring your items out to you. Please come into the Store.” WHAT????!!! To say I was livid was an understatement.
    I was PISSED!!! I went into the store and looked for the important item that she said was not in. Found it! Right where it was supposed to be. I asked for the Instacart person. They said she left early. WHAT????!!! More pissed off!! My pickup time was scheduled! Did I get a text saying she went home? NO.
    The worst part is that since my order never showed as being completed, I couldn’t leave feedback. That left me more pissed off.
    My relationship with Instacart has been severed for all eternity. I started my service so that I wouldn’t have to come to the store in a pandemic. WTF.

  12. I have been using them a little in the last couple of months, but the quality of groceries I get is very poor. I am done with insta cart.

  13. OMG the attitudes here!!! This is a SERVICE. If you don’t want it don’t use it. We don’t need to know all the details about your out of stock items.
    This was heaven sent to me with the pandemic last year. I was able to browse aisles sitting in living room AND I was able to shop at stores I don’t have local to me and get some different items to try. To go to the store it costs me 5.00 bridge fare..gas and my time. For a SMALL fee and a tip I didn’t have to do anything. I shop at Wegmans and the meats are pre packaged and individually sealed and honestly..i’ve NEVER purchased anything bad at Wegmans so i took my chances.
    I couldn’t have been happier!!!!
    If something was out of stock i was given a choice by my shopper to substitute or not to substitute. My shopper looked at all the dates on items because i confirmed by messaging him to please check the dates.
    No one is perfect and I myself have bought outdated things when in a hurry so sxxx DOES happen and it doesn’t make it the rule.
    I think this is a great service that provides many choices for many different people and shouldn’t be shot down because a few people have had some issues with them…i mean really..if that were the case there wouldn’t be ANY grocery stores left open because we all at one time have had a customer service or product issue at a “REAL” store ourselves.
    Cut instacart a break and don’t use it if you choose not to but don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

  14. Oh gosh I have pages of inside information about this company and actually scared for my life. They are very sinister and they are data mining their shoppers and their customers as well as their parent companies. This is no different than Amazon and the privacy you have to say yes to is unreal. Never again for me. It is smarter to have a personal assistant

  15. I have been a shopper for instacart for 3 years. I can affirm that there is no technical training and no, since we are paid low by the job and not per hour, we definitely don’t care about expiration dates unless they are within a couple days and easily visible. I’ll double check if there is a note on the item but since 1 bad rating can tank your income by over 30%, i would drop any order that had excessive notes or problematic and abusive communication, yes we get all caps yelled at sometimes because the store is out of a specific apple juice but the app didn’t say so. I check all produce for standard quality and unripe over ripe if not requested, especially avocados. I do check all eggs fairly but I’m not gonna take them out, just a quick roll to see anything obvious and that they aren’t sticking and no staining on box. I don’t check meat except for the correct barcode because the inventory is so deeply innaccurate that it’s easy for a customer to order 1lb of something that only comes in a 4+lb package. Or order a value pack because it’s cheaper per pound but not knowing what weight it’ll be. It is easy to accidentally mix items between orders as we do up to 3 simultaneously so those personal items they’re buying on your dime are most likely a different customer’s. Again though, the rating system is so insanely unforgiving that many shoppers either overwork slowly and thus reduce their own pay or become completely reckless rushing through orders without caring about the impact, which is honestly the most fiscally sound tactic despite it’s ethical concern. This balance combined with a complete lack of psychic abilities of whether you needed that generic no salt diced tomato can for dinner tonight or you were just stocking up on low cost items, can make replacement choices difficult. Here’s my advice. Keep your phone on you and communicate with the shopper, but don’t be a prick, I’ve left customer’s orders in a cart and walked away knowing full well it was too late for someone else to finish that day and we take virtually no penalty for doing so as long as to isn’t too frequent or for good reason. Make your replacement or refund choices clear and if something is wrong like a damaged item or bad date you can get a refund credit without lowering their rating. The customer service really is overly corrective for the customer in fact I’ve had people regularly say that I didn’t deliver whole bags of groceries or expensive items and they got the refund without challenge, we also seem to get no penalty so far since it is hearsay which is the best that they can do considering. The prices are definitely the trick of trade though. Expect to pay 20% more or worse because they also don’t honor in store sales like bogos if it isn’t already applied by you when you order. Please use the service if you need it as it is huge for the gig economy. Don’t be a dick about it. And honestly expect it to be the same as giving your neighbor your grocery list, something is gonna be different when you get the order almost guaranteed. And if you’re wondering considering my reactive attitude, I do very well (over 30k a year easily with a lot of time off up to a potential 100k if i was masochistic working 90+ hr/wk) and consistently have a very good rating and a great relationship with all the employees and customers in my city.

  16. In the UK, unless you go out of your way to use Deliveroo or Speedy Shopper or something for groceries, most are delivered directly by the supermarket, for a delivery fee between £0 and £7 (£4 is very typical) and no other mark-up.

  17. After reading your article, I can certainly respect your reasonings as to why you choose not to use Instacart. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t use them either, but in some cases, there isn’t always an option.

    Regarding what you said about Instacart not providing the original printed receipt to the customer, the issue goes far deeper than simply an issue of whether or not Instacart is charging marked up prices. Around 75% of the time when I have to utilize this service, I do not receive my receipt, despite explicitly stating in the purchase instructions that the receipt is to be delivered to me. I have received all manor of excuses from drivers, a few of which I’ll outline below, along with explanations on why their statements are false.

    1. There is no printed receipt — this is an outright lie. The fact that an Instacart shopper is physically picking and checking out the order instead of doing it myself does not change the fact whether I go to a human-operated till or a self-check, the register prints a receipt.
    2. It’s in your app — this is a copout, and an extreme failure to follow basic instructions.
    3. Any citation of how they were trained to handle receipts — I have had variances between “we’re told not to, but I still provide it”, to “we’re told not to, so I’m not going to give it to you”, to “there isn’t a formal guideline on how to handle customer receipts”

    I have had a situation where I had to file a complaint over a shopper buying themselves a little treat on my bill, but there is are two much greater problems stemming out of the lack of providing original receipts than an inflated price or an item being purchased but not delivered, and I will lay out the problem based on where I normally order from: Kroger.

    When I place an order through my Kroger account, to be shopped by Instacart, my information from my account data is logged in the sale. This logging of data includes the last 4 digits of whichever financial card I used to pay, as well as the last 4 digits of my Kroger Plus card number. These numbers are printed on the original cash register receipt at the time of checkout. If the receipt is not being given to me, I have no idea where my personal information is … is it ending up in the hands of a hacker, who can reverse-engineer an identity theft from this information? Can I trust the driver, who now has my name, address, phone number etc. as well from the information on my card?

    Further to that, people who are budget minded or financially strapped often utilize cash back / reward apps such as Fetch Rewards or iBotta in order to recover some of what they’re spending. These apps require that you scan the original receipt. Depending on the number of offers you’re capitalizing on, or the number of points you should otherwise receive, this can amount to several dollars at a time … if the customer is not able to get those rewards because they weren’t given something that belongs to them in the first place, then Instacart, through its policies, is quite literally stealing money from the customers utilizing its service.

    Between failing to protect the customer’s personal information and literal theft of rewards by not providing receipts, one would have to question if this “policy” by Instacart to not give customers the receipt that is their property is potentially class-actionable …

  18. I’ve used Instacart throughout the pandemic, but now I’m using them less and less because I can easily go to the store and make sure I get what I want.

    Usually. However:

    When I’m busy with work or other things after 5pm, it’s nice that I can fall back on Instacart to get something I need so I’m effectively doing 2-4 things at a time and don’t have to work late because of it.

    If I find I’m out of something I had to have for dinner, I can use them to buy a few things including the thing or two I need for dinner. No missed gaming time and no rush to the car to buy 1 or 2 things at the store, then we eat late.

    I can get stuff delivered to my office during the day, store in the office refrigerator if necessary, and I have what I need that day (lunch, because I eat salad most lunches) or that night. All while doing my job, again, doing 2-3 things at a time, so I don’t have to work late.

    There are lots of reasons I see value in using Instacart. With all that being said, like I said, I’m still using them less now because I like shopping for things sometimes and now I can since I’m fully vaccinated.

    All the times I’ve used them over the last 15 months, about 110 times total, maybe 5% of the time I get the completely wrong item or I have missing items, so we do have to “receive” and check the stuff according to what I ordered. And, that wastes my time, plus the time if I have to report a problem and get a refund. But, the small number is really insignificant. And I’ve always received the store receipt to check, so I don’t know when that ever happened to anyone.

    What I’ve noticed more and more, including an order I got today, is that I often get stuff for free that I never ordered — completely off the wall items, like 5 small jars of tomato paste not even close to anything I ordered. Or today I got a 12-pack of root beer, and we ordered beer, but no soda. In all cases, the free items were not on the receipts, and I did not pay for them.

    Today’s order was odd, because the prices didn’t match on meats, but it was completely in my favor. I paid $91 for the order, $71 plus tip and fees, but the receipt shows Instacart paid $98 for what I got — plus the soda, at about $4-$5. I bought hamburger and pork ribs, but effectively got an extra 50% off because of the mistake.

    So, I’m guessing Instacart averages it out over all orders from all customers and makes money in the end. Or they’re going out of business soon. And/or these items were for other customers and those customers are reporting problems and getting refunds, and Instacart is going out of business.

    I don’t know, but it reminds me of the dot-com boom when pets.com would ship a 50 pound bag of dog food for a price that’s lower than any retailer would sell locally, and with free shipping. We know how that ended, they went bankrupt. Someone else today ships dog food, but it’s not common because of the obvious problem with weight and free shipping.

    Anyway, I’ll use them as long as they are around and I find them useful sometimes. They’re downright essential if you get injured like I am now with my sprained ankle and you need someone to help shop groceries for you.

  19. I’ve been using Instacart since about March 2020 (guess why…). I don’t have a car and have medical issues, can’t even get vaccinated until later this year so am staying in hermit mode (which I actually prefer).

    My days of walking several miles to get to Kroger’s are long gone, so I’ve been stuck with higher prices and less variety in the one grocery store within walking distance. COVID made that too risky for me. I have never been able to get friends to pick things up for me, even waving money in their face. I am not made of money, haven’t had paying work since COVID hit and can’t work full time anyway.

    I hate not getting most of the in-store sales and the delivery fees (they charge about $8-$9 per month on annual plus mysterious $1 or $2 delivery fee per order (my orders are small but several times a month for perishables). When comparing with online food sources such as frozen, I figure on prices for a Instacart food being 12%-15% higher total due to the fees and tip. But I need it for fresh produce and regular frozen fruit and veg and nowadays it even does let me buy some nonallergenic frozen processed food (vegetarian allergic to dairy and egg). And frozen vegan food has always cost about that much extra for shipping.

    But if you want to know how you are charged, just look for the info in the list of stores in the Instacart app. Some like Kroger’s charge same as in-store except you don’t usually get sale prices unless Instacart gives you similar coupons (they do have Instacart sales in the app). You can double-check by downloading the individual store’s app and just checking their in-store prices that way. But they seem pretty upfront now about how you are charged.

    Also check out rebate coupons for Instacart from outfits that let you link to the stores directly (no need to have a physical receipt to photograph and submit). Ibotta does this for Instacart and Shipt, so all their stores for delivery should be covered. I just check off all possible items I might buy in the Ibotta app, stuff on the list is automatically rebated once Instacart reports to them, and the rebates are put in my Ibotta account for retrieval once I meet the minimum. I think the minimum is about $20. You can send it to a bank or PayPal but I usually just get an Amazon gift card as easiest for me. There are other gift card options, I think.

    If you need a receipt for a non-linking rebate app, maybe you could just ask the shopper to include it. Just use the chat with shopper option. They have accidentally left one sometimes. They don’t need it themselves.

    Those rebates really help me, even though I don’t have as much mainstream items to buy as most people. Can even cover the tip sometimes. And lets me soothe my child-of-the-triple-coupon-day-queen soul.

  20. About the shoppers – I’ve had a lot of different shoppers and most do quite well. I put detailed instructions about ok substitutions (have allergies and rebate requirements so they often can’t just use their own judgment) and tell them to check for instructions via chat. Shoppers are not mind readers. They just ask me questions via chat if they find something else that might work and send me a picture if needed.

    Maybe once or twice I’ve had some sad soul who obviously never shopped for produce in their short life, but most do as well in picking good stuff as I would. One sad soul did fine when I got her several months later, so she just needed experience.

    It’s not the shopper’s fault if things are out of stock or hidden in odd places. Quite a few have gone the extra mile trying to find things for me, but I don’t expect it. The store and Instacart need to do a better job of updating in-stock and out-of-stock and putting things in a rational place.

    Don’t play games with the rating. Just give them five stars and thank them. Really. They’re doing an important job.

  21. My driver left my receipt from Costco. I literally paid $50 more using instacart. Then I tipped $20. So I paid $70 not to drive 3 miles. Ridiculous

  22. well, i am handicapped and usually still shop, which causes more pains, so since i look at the frys website and see a coupon for delivery and have not been enjoying my shopping in person experience due top pain. first off i think fry’s should make it clear that they are outsourcing their delivery service. My other gripe at frys is the check yourself out only after 9 p.m. Without digressing too much, let us just say this is difficult depending on the handicap or if I have had anything done recently like surgery. I was finally going to take the advice of so many people and order and have my groceries delivered. I guess I could get used to not going to pick out my own stuff, maybe, and what a wonderful bonus, they would bring to the front door. No struggling with getting groceries from car to house. Then as I was starting to think it wasn’t gonna be a horrible experience, I noticed what I thought was a price increase on peanut butter, hmm, then I was surprised when grapes on sale for seventy fice cents a pound popped up online at $2.38 a pound. I grabbed my phone went to the app and looked and they were correct on my phone app. So, that was the point when I figured out they jack the prices up for delivery. Next I looked online and found this article. So bummed out. I understand that instagram has to make money, obviously, I really don’t understand how a nationwide company as large as kroeger , doesn’t have their own delivery service. I really only want to deal with one company, no pointing fingers or excuses that way. So charge a fee is you have to but it is rather confusing to do digital coupons and study the ads, then the prices are not even close. I would rather know okay add whatever amount at the end. It would just keep it simpler ub my opinion.

  23. Instacart charges $9.95 service fee and you pay a % of the grocery total for tip, so $100 in groceries is around $20 to get them delivered to you.

    So, there’s that. Not very cost effective, but if you can’t go get your groceries…or if you just don’t want to…at least that is a known item.

    Now, the Instacart shoppers. That is always a downside you don’t know until you get the groceries. I’ve gotten totally spoiled produce (completely unusable), expired food, and have had missing items. They’re on the eReciept, so the item must have been rung up…so where are they?

    Not to mention, the availability issue that started when Covid did. If you’re on any sort of restrictive diet, this poses a real issue. Even when you click “no substitutions” the shopper still chooses items to replace unavailable items that most times are not ones within your diet. I’ve even had them sub regular cheese for non-dairy cheese. That seems like a lack of common sense, but that’s a whole other story. And, even when they don’t decide to substitute against your wishes, I’ve seen ss much as 10+ items unavailable, which in some cases may be 25% of your groceries, so you have to go out and get groceries because you needed those items…. And paid $20 extra to get $100 in groceries for no reason.

    For those reasons, I feel Instacart is not a viable option and is nothing more than extra cost.

  24. Instacart…… Sucks. Both as a driver and customer. The customer never ever gets sale prices. They send us to stores that don’t even stock an item at times. The guide that tells us what row and shelf is a lot of the times inaccurate. Navigation is up to Google maps and an app called beans which I use. The company is just using people. Now they want to build warehouses so that they can step into Amazon’s realm. Probably looking to cash out eventually buy being bought out by Amazon. They don’t care about you or their drivers. Stop supporting them.

  25. On Halloween morning 2021 I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and spent a week in ICU with Covid related pneumonia. What followed were several months of recovery at home on oxygen and no going outside period (I was to weak to walk very far anyhow). I used Instacart and Walmart Plus. Both started out great but by my 3rd or 4th week of orders I noticed a decline in service quality. I was getting expired foods, items I hadn’t ordered, compromised packages (leaking milk, juice, etc). One female shopper refused to deliver my case of water because I live in an upstairs apartment and just drove away with it still in her car. It began taking longer and longer to receive deliveries. A Walmart Plus driver stole my entire $120 Christmas Eve order (never delivered it but said he did) and Walmart refused to refund my money. That was it for both of them. I’ll never use that type of service again.