Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

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nisiprius
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Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by nisiprius »

...of a recent transaction?

I have a persistent problem with one particular product: ordering a large jar and having the shopper pick and deliver a small jar. (A store brand of unsweetened applesauce, if you care).

It's annoying because the small jar has a much higher unit price, and because I eat a lot of applesauce and want the larger jar.

The large and small jars of course have different barcodes.

It happened today. The register slip, which the shopper leaves in the bag, shows that the small jar was scanned and the lower price paid, but my Instacart online receipt shows the large jar, with the higher price included in the total to be billed to my credit card.

Today, as is my custom, I gave the shopper my normal (large) tip and my customary five-star rating*. But I also reported an issue, "wrong item received" and requested that the price be refunded to my credit card.

Question #1: I think this must be an innocent mistake, as I see no way for the shopper to benefit from it. Correct?

Question #2: I assume that the shopper has the ability to verify the barcode but is not required to, and must have been so sure they had the right item that they didn't bother to check the bar code. Is this right?

Question #3: I gave the shopper five stars and a big tip but I also reported an issue. How does this affect the shopper in Instacart's eyes? Does reporting an issue ding the shopper's reputation with Instacart, or does Instacart just say "five stars is five stars?"

Question #4: Is the issue reported to the shopper?

(*It is my personal judgement that the mistake is "worth" less than half a star--consider that my "real" rating would be 4.7 and I rounded to the closest number of stars).
Last edited by nisiprius on Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RudyS
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by RudyS »

Can't answer your questions, but some comments for our experience as customers. We use the notes field: "see clerk if you can't find it, they often hide it" (specific bread), or for other details. We also use "specific replacement" or "do not replace" so we shouldn't get stuck with errors. Instacart is good at refunding errors. We try to be accessible to the phone when the shopper is shopping so we can interact on issues.
sport
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by sport »

I have one item that has been shopped incorrectly multiple times. So, what I have done is send a note to the shopper while he/she is shopping and ask them to verify that the item is what I requested. For example: "Just to verify, is that jar of applesauce the 32 ounce size?" I have found this works well. Sometimes the shopper will reply with a photo of the item they selected.
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by Flobes »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:07 am I have a persistent problem with one particular product: ordering a large jar and having the shopper pick and deliver a small jar.
Next time you order applesauce, include the Special Instruction, "Large size only. Please do not substitute small size." And choose "Do Not Replace" option.
RudyS wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:56 pm ...some comments for our experience as customers. We use the notes field... We also use "specific replacement" or "do not replace"... We try to be accessible to the phone when the shopper is shopping so we can interact on issues.
^ Me too. My shopping list is very detailed. Every item has a specified replacement choice; I do not allow "shopper choice" as an option for anything. Under Special Instructions, many have a note, ie "Small cabbage, please" or "Do not substitute for gluten-free flour" etc.

And I try to be online when shopping happens, because she'll recommend a different substitution that I can accept or reject. Often, if I ask in the chat, something is available that I want although it's not on the option list for pre-ordering. I have one item that always shows as "there" but it's not been "there' yet; it's a small amusement that I continue ordering it, and sometimes it helps push me over the $ minimum.

On the other hand, if you do not restrict the substitutions or provide clear notes, then the shopper will purchase what they think is the best choice. Which may not suit our requirements. If you're online or on phone, you can agree to or decline each substitution. I believe shoppers are acting in earnest attempt to please, not anything scammy.

I order at times to get the same shopper; she's come to know me and my predilections. I have her cell number. She has been available for hire for other errands like going to PO or shopping local stores not Instacartable (and her husband does yard work!).
onourway
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by onourway »

You should get a notice when your shopper begins. Tell them specifically what you want in the chat.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by ResearchMed »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:07 am ...of a recent transaction?

I have a persistent problem with one particular product: ordering a large jar and having the shopper pick and deliver a small jar. (A store brand of unsweetened applesauce, if you care).

It's annoying because the small jar has a much higher unit price, and because I eat a lot of applesauce and want the larger jar.

The large and small jars of course have different barcodes.

It happened today. The register slip, which the shopper leaves in the bag, shows that the small jar was scanned and the lower price paid, but my Instacart online receipt shows the large jar, with the higher price included in the total to be billed to my credit card.

Today, as is my custom, I gave the shopper my normal (large) tip and my customary five-star rating*. But I also reported an issue, "wrong item received" and requested that the price be refunded to my credit card.

Question #1: I think this must be an innocent mistake, as I see no way for the shopper to benefit from it. Correct?

Question #2: I assume that the shopper has the ability to verify the barcode but is not required to, and must have been so sure they had the right item that they didn't bother to check the bar code. Is this right?

Question #3: I gave the shopper five stars and a big tip but I also reported an issue. How does this affect the shopper in Instacart's eyes? Does reporting an issue ding the shopper's reputation with Instacart, or does Instacart just say "five stars is five stars?"

Question #4: Is the issue reported to the shopper?

(*It is my personal judgement that the mistake is "worth" less than half a star--consider that my "real" rating would be 4.7 and I rounded to the closest number of stars).
First, the shopper gets tips based upon total shopped. So if there is less, they get less... hence somewhat of an incentive to replace out of stock items with another brand, OR, perhaps, to get more expensive versions (e.g. 2 smaller jars at more per ounce, etc.??).

NOTE: Per my writing below - to make sense of this comment - one shopper texted back something like, "they are out of almost everything, do you want me to stop, I get paid by tips". I replied something like, "Thank you for explaining [that was the only time anything like this happened, but it was quite a tell!]. Please get whatever IS available, and we'll add extra to the tip so it is worth your time". She did, and we did.
And a few times, a shopper specifically asked that we rate them (a few requesting 5 stars, sort of like for service at the car dealer :annoyed ), so we guess that is very important.

We had a *LOT* of wrong "substitutions" initially, some making sense, some less so, but none what we wanted.
That was early in the pandemic, and at least in our area (or our local store), even InstaCart finally acknowledged that yes, it had to be some combination of hiring/training/supervision, and we genuinely suspected all three, due to the circumstances.
That included, in part, the horrible difficulty getting any "appointment". So we figured they must be hiring almost anyone who could breath and walk.

There was and still is, at least in our area, a place for every item for a "note" or to "select a replacement" (including "do not replace").
We've gotten quite specific, although we were previously, too, and the honchos at InstaCart did understand the problem when we wrote in, for example, "only 6-packs of DIET Coke bottles", and we'd get 2 liter bottles of non-diet, or even something other than Coca Cola. (They don't make 6-packs of any large bottles, at least in our area.)
Or we'd specify "Gallon FREEZER Ziploc bags ONLY, NOT STORE BRAND", and we'd get store brand, non-freezer, and pint bags. Grrrr.
Mgmt actually agreed that at that time, there was a serious problem in our area or store (that part wasn't clear from the comment).

We would get reimbursed every time, but that didn't help with not having what we wanted. IF the store was out, that was understandable, but given some weird substitutions, we doubted that was usually (ever?) the case then.
About 2-3 weeks after some serious conversations with InstaCart, things started changing, for the better.
Then things picked up more generally, meaning PeaPod had more availability, too.

Importantly, there is interactive texting with the IC shopper, either on cell phone or through laptop (which is slower).
Do you have that?
Unfortunately, PeaPod doesn't have any feature like that, or even any specific "notes" about substitutions/etc., but they do also have a "do not replace" choice for each option, plus a "suggested replacement" that can be checked. Some make no sense (like regular bread for gluten free, a real no-no for someone with celiac disease).
I did not initially notice this function, which at least explained a bunch of bad - in *our* opinion - replacements the first few times. Then I looked more deeply (possibly I was less frantic about our preferred TP? :D ).

I now reply to the Shopper's greeting with a big thanks and a mention of something like "Please note we do NOT want substitutions [except for <if applicable>], so you do not need to ask. We are trying to save you the time/effort. Just refund the item. Many thanks!"
This actually seems to have made the biggest difference (although it obviously hasn't been a controlled trial).
Now, that would mean that if we couldn't get x brand of something, or a y-sized jar, then we'll get none of that item.

And we now give more detailed instructions in the notes/replacements sections for each item. Yes, that can get tedious with a big order, but sometimes (and, er, sometimes not!?), the system "remembers" the notes for the same item from order to order/day to day, which helps.

No, all of this should not be needed, of course.
But we are staying totally at home, so we are really dependent upon the shoppers, so we "play along" to make it work.
Last week, one good shopper (same person twice in a row)... we asked if she did any private shopping. We ended up texting separately (OFF the IC app or website), and then by email. She has several private clients, and takes classes at night. She's also offered to stock up on things when she sees them.
She charges a high percentage, so we are keeping that for urgent situations.
Oh... she had also gone to the trouble of asking, about a missing item, if there were any more in the back of the store, and there were! BIG kudos, an extra tip, and a special comment, for that.
{We would not even think of mentioning any "private" arrangements on any particular shopper's IC-linked messaging, of course. We certainly aren't trying to replace IC. We are quite dependent upon them.]

Unfortunately, an awful lot of the success, or lack thereof, seems to reflect some characteristics of the individual shopper... Do they read carefully (or at all)? Do they care about doing a good job? Etc. It's somewhat clear from the texting what is likely to happen.

We have tried to be understanding and also generous with tips. The shopping seems to us to be a rather thankless job, with more complaints likely than extra thanks, etc. And the shopper can't read the customer's mind, which is why we've taken to the detailed notes and interactive communication. (Only one shopper seemed annoyed by that. Too bad, given that the others seem to be using the notes at least some/much of the time, with smiley faces or "thumbs up", etc.)

And we definitely have asked for refunds when due, partly on principle and principal, but partly also hoping that the feedback will help with, er, training/re-training. If there's no/little official feedback, then there's less and less incentive for them to bother to get it right.

Final note: One can NOT (at this point, anyway) request a specific shopper, but one *can* request "NOT a specific shopper". It takes a phone call, not something to be done online, AFAIK anyway.

RM
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nisiprius
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by nisiprius »

I've had a note in the notes for a couple of month: "LARGE SIZE 37 oz only. Any brand OK." But perhaps "Do not replace" is the safest choice.

My question wasn't clear. It isn't "how do I avoid this mistake." My question is "does reporting an issue count against the shopper?"
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downshiftme
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by downshiftme »

I am trying to avoid InstaCart shopping because all my experiences with them, and similar services, have been unacceptably bad.

There is no way to know if any particular items will be in stock or not. If an item is out of stock (or the shopper just chooses not to pick it) cannot be known in advance and you cannot plan around it.

Substitutions made by the shopper sometimes do not make any sense, or are the priciest option available. Shoppers making substitutions may or may not send any notification that a substitution is being made. When I gave up on substitutions and specified instead "NO SUBSTITUTIONS" both by choosing the no substitutions option and by explicit instructions to not make substitutions, the shoppers made substitutions anyway.

Canned goods received are routinely damaged to the point I would never have chosen such a can for myself, and I bet the shopper wouldn't choose if it was their order either. Many are damaged enough that I just throw them out.

Meat and cheeses routinely are past their expiration dates. I strongly suspect the stores are pushing shoppers to clean out inventory because the number of out of date items (or items just barely not yet expired) are much higher than random selection when I shop in person.

Fruits and veggies appear to be routinely handled roughly. Many are badly bruised (in transit maybe?) and they do not last very long before the damage is obvious. I cannot tell if this is like the expiration dates issue in that shoppers pick from deliberately inferior selection, or if the transport is just rough and they get damaged on the way to delivery.

In any case, I am not aware of any reliable InstaCart-like service operating in my area.
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by Bfwolf »

I think perhaps you need to retitle your post as "Can any InstaCart employees." When I see "InstaCart shoppers" I think people like you who are doing their grocery shopping on Instacart.
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by RudyS »

Bfwolf wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:27 pm I think perhaps you need to retitle your post as "Can any InstaCart employees." When I see "InstaCart shoppers" I think people like you who are doing their grocery shopping on Instacart.
A nitpick:
The Instacart "shoppers" which is the correct name, are not employees. As an Instacart customer, I am familiar with the term "shoppers." But anyway, you make a good point. Maybe add parenthetically "not customers".
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by nisiprius »

Bfwolf wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:27 pm I think perhaps you need to retitle your post as "Can any InstaCart employees." When I see "InstaCart shoppers" I think people like you who are doing their grocery shopping on Instacart.
Good idea. I'm trying it.
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Re: Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by jabberwockOG »

We have had mixed results. It's better to include special instructions on anything you are extra picky about. Many of them are in a hurry, and rather than focus on a quality service they are moving quickly and not taking time to find things. I had one guy immediately substitute several items until I texted that I wanted my exact items and if he had one more substitute on my order that I wanted to cancel the entire order. Then magically there were no more substitutes.
Last edited by jabberwockOG on Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by Rager1 »

I used to have an Instacart account, but I deleted it in May, 2020 after my experience with an order from Costco, shopped and delivered by Instacart.

The shopper left her shopping receipt in one of my packages, allowing me to see the price she was charged. (All other orders I had placed through Instacart didn't leave a receipt). When I compared what she paid to what I was charged, the increase in each and every item ranged from a low of 22.3% to a high of 31%. This didn't consider the additional delivery fee, service fee, and tip. When all costs were considered, my cost was 49.5% higher.

So, what my Instacart shopper paid for my list, was a total of $65.89 (not including tip, service, and delivery fee). What I paid was $81.57 (+23.8%). All in, my cost was $98.48. I found it amusing that my receipt from the order showed I had saved a total of $4.00!

Ed
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by sport »

Rager1 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:26 pm I used to have an Instacart account, but I deleted it in May, 2020 after my experience with an order from Costco, shopped and delivered by Instacart.

The shopper left her shopping receipt in one of my packages, allowing me to see the price she was charged. (All other orders I had placed through Instacart didn't leave a receipt). When I compared what she paid to what I was charged, the increase in each and every item ranged from a low of 22.3% to a high of 31%. This didn't consider the additional delivery fee, service fee, and tip. When all costs were considered, my cost was 49.5% higher.

So, what my Instacart shopper paid for my list, was a total of $65.89 (not including tip, service, and delivery fee). What I paid was $81.57 (+23.8%). All in, my cost was $98.48. I found it amusing that my receipt from the order showed I had saved a total of $4.00!

Ed
This does not match our experience. When we use Instacart at Costco, the prices are inflated, but there are no other fees except for the optional tip. OTOH, at the local grocery, the prices are regular store prices, and IC adds a small service fee and a $3.99 delivery fee, and of course, the tip.
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Re: Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by Pomegranate »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:07 am
Today, as is my custom, I gave the shopper my normal (large) tip and my customary five-star rating*. But I also reported an issue, "wrong item received" and requested that the price be refunded to my credit card.
Did you receive the item you ordered? No - just report a missing item.
Keeping giving poor shoppers 5 stars and large tips hurts good ones and also hurts other customers :oops:
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Re: Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by adestefan »

I’m not sure of Instacart, but for a lot of the other gig companies it’s 5 stars and everything else is basically 0. Unless they’re egregiously bad I give them a 5 star.
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Re: Can any InstaCart shoppers give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by RudyS »

sport wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:15 pm
Rager1 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:26 pm I used to have an Instacart account, but I deleted it in May, 2020 after my experience with an order from Costco, shopped and delivered by Instacart.

The shopper left her shopping receipt in one of my packages, allowing me to see the price she was charged. (All other orders I had placed through Instacart didn't leave a receipt). When I compared what she paid to what I was charged, the increase in each and every item ranged from a low of 22.3% to a high of 31%. This didn't consider the additional delivery fee, service fee, and tip. When all costs were considered, my cost was 49.5% higher.

So, what my Instacart shopper paid for my list, was a total of $65.89 (not including tip, service, and delivery fee). What I paid was $81.57 (+23.8%). All in, my cost was $98.48. I found it amusing that my receipt from the order showed I had saved a total of $4.00!

Ed
This does not match our experience. When we use Instacart at Costco, the prices are inflated, but there are no other fees except for the optional tip. OTOH, at the local grocery, the prices are regular store prices, and IC adds a small service fee and a $3.99 delivery fee, and of course, the tip.
At my local supermarket, Instacart prices are 10-15% above shelf prices. Delivery is $3.99, small service fee (~$1) plus tip. I can have the delivery fee waived if I buy a $9.99 per month membership. This is all worth it to avoid shopping in person while Covid-19 is still around.
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Re: Can any people who shop/deliver for Instacart give me a shoppers-eye view...

Post by j0nnyg1984 »

If you eat a lot of applesauce, why don’t you make your own? It’s really, really easy - I make gallons of it every year! After years of doing it by hand (with a food sieve / mill), I finally bought a grinder / strainer attachment for my kitchenaid stand mixer. I used it last week and it worked fantastically.

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