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Instacart Forces Shoppers To Work in Inclement Weather

Instacart Forces Shoppers To Work in Inclement Weather

It is that time of year when snow becomes a problem in some cities. Snow tends to cause Prime Time and Surge Pricing to Lyft and Uber, respectively. Fewer people tend to go out and they tend to order delivery, so various delivery services are very busy when a storm hits. The various delivery companies offer incentives for drivers to be out on the road. A typical offer would be an extra $2 per delivery.

When the weather gets really bad, some of these services will pause operations for the day or notify drivers about the weather. I was in Boston when we got more than 100 inches of snow, 80 inches within the span of 6 weeks. The Massachusetts governor had declared a state of emergency and shut down roads for a day during that season. Lyft and Uber voluntarily paused operations for the day. For the rest of the season, they always notified drivers about the hazardous road conditions and encourage drivers to stay safe if we chose to drive.

How Instacart Deals with Inclement Weather

Many Instacart shoppers say that there is few communications between Instacart and their shoppers about the weather. They typically do not send emails warning their shoppers about the weather. Also, no shopper has ever seen Instacart give out incentives for working during times of either high demand or during inclement weather. Other services that have scheduled shifts tend to offer their workers the ability to drop their shifts without penalty. However, Instacart does not do that. In many situations, they penalize shoppers who change their schedule, in spite of the weather. They also do not give incentives for shoppers to entice them to work.

Instacart Reliability Incidents

Starting last month, Instacart changed the reliability incident policies. If shoppers changed their shifts less than 24 hours before their start time, Instacart will accrue a reliability incident. If there are 5 in the last 30 days that you provided services to Instacart, you will be deactivated. This is a huge departure from the previous Reliability Metrics policy where reliability incidents were counted for the past 30 calendar days instead of the last 30 days that you provided services to Instacart.

Due to the snow, many shoppers cancelled their shift either the night before the storm or the day of the storm. It wasn’t until Instacart shoppers complained about the reliability incident that Instacart removed them for a few shoppers. There were a few Instacart shoppers that were deactivated because they had a reliability incident (the fifth) due to the snow. These shoppers responded to Instacart within 48 hours but were still deactivated. In other cases, Instacart saved shoppers from deactivation by removing the reliability incident due to weather. There were other shoppers who have multiple reliability incidents due to weather and Instacart refuses to remove them even after multiple emails explaining the situation.

Below is the copy of the email about Instacart’s Reliability Metrics:

Reliability Updates for Full Service Shoppers

Hello Shoppers,

We want to inform you of some changes to Instacart’s Reliability metrics that will begin Tuesday, December 6th.

To offer you even more flexibility, you will now have the option to cancel or edit your confirmed hours up to 24 hours before your start time, instead of 48 hours, without accruing an incident on your account. Keep in mind however, that any cancellation or edit within 24 hours of your start time or ending hours early will result in an incident. Late edits to hours often lead to late orders, which is an overall disappointing experience for customers.

We want you to start with a clean slate. As of Tuesday, December 6th, your reliability metric will be reset to 0 so that previous reliability incidents under the old system will be removed.

We understand that there can be unforeseen circumstances that may prevent you from shopping or delivering at the times you committed. Therefore, if you have 5 days with a reliability incident within the last 30 days that you provided services, your account will be subject to review. You will receive an email from the Shopper Happiness team if your account is under review. You will then have 48 hours to reply and share more context about any previous reliability incidents. This will help us make an informed decision on your continued account status. If you have fewer than 5 days with a reliability incidents in the last 30 days you shopped/delivered, you do not need to explain each incident as it occurs.

Lastly, the Shopper App will send you reminder messages near the beginning of your hours in situations where it has detected either:

    • (1) Your Instacart Shopper App does not appear to be active, or
    • (2) Your GPS does not reflect that you are in your selected zone for the day.

Keeping your Instacart Shopper App active and being in your chosen zone puts you in the best position to receive batches and fulfill as many customer orders as possible. If your committed hours are ended early for the reasons above, after multiple attempts to contact you, your account will incur a reliability incident.

More detailed information can be found here:

As always, we welcome all feedback at shoppers@instacart.com as want to hear from you to understand how to improve your overall experience as a shopper.

Thank you,
Instacart Operations

Instacart Forces Shoppers To Work in Inclement Weather

When there is a storm that hits a city, Instacart shoppers are usually afraid to drop their shift and get a reliability incident so they are forced to work. Instacart shoppers are not given incentives to work during inclement weather or high demand. Instacart shoppers are motivated by fear to work for Instacart. Instacart shoppers are afraid to get reliability incidents so they force themselves to navigate icy roads and sidewalks so they won’t get deactivated. They are afraid to get deactivated by missing a shift so they are forced to work. This type of behavior would be typical for a full time job, but not for a job in the so-called “on-demand” economy. Instacart seems to abuse their power over shoppers to get them to work during inclement weather.

Instacart doesn’t seem concerned with this problem either. A few shoppers we spoke with had emailed into Instacart multiple times to remove these reliability incidents, but these requests usually fall on deaf ears and the reliability incidents have stayed on their record.

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