It’s been a turbulent year for Instacart Shoppers, and we’ve overcome many obstacles, celebrated some major victories and felt the pain of lost income and rights. We’ve fought to earn an income working on a platform that promised a flexible schedule and a fair working wage. At times this promise was realistic and at others times, we have felt our wings clipped like an employee, but not receiving employee benefits. We’ve stuck it out because the good outweighed the bad, but now we ask ourselves is this still the case? Do we own our schedule and still have the opportunity to make a fair income? The tip button was threatened to be removed, but it was saved and hidden under deceitful verbiage. We lost the perk to edit our hours last minute and have been given an “employee documentation” for not complying. Some gained the privilege of completely choosing their own schedule with “Early Access” Sunday mornings while others are fighting for the leftover hours on Wednesday morning. Then they sent us the new Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline.
Yesterday, we all woke up to the “ Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline.” As I read this decree, a few things stood out. I knew it was going to be outlandish when the first line read:
”Instacart is proud of its relationship with full service shoppers.”
Instacart’s new Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline are very specific as to what can restrict your access to the Instacart platform or get you “deactivated.”
“Instacart seeks to partner with professionals who meet and exceed customer expectations, follow industry norms, and comply with applicable legal requirements.”
All of this is under the pressure of shopping and delivering a perfect batch under an unrealistic time frames and not earning decent pay unless the customer can navigate the confusion around our TIP button!
Repeated failure to deliver orders on time or to deliver a complete order, including:
Repeated failure to complete an order within a reasonable period of the time communicated to the customer.
Failure to complete an accepted batch
Since I’m living in Los Angeles that has some of the most extreme traffic in the country, this really stood out to me. At times it feels as if Instacart doesn’t give us a realistic time frame to shop and deliver as it is, but now they are holding us accountable for our time. Will they be giving us a bigger time frame to shop and deliver? Instacart wants us to maintain excellent customer service, but I feel corners will be cut. Instacart shoppers would rather not get deactivated than take a risk and go above and beyond for a customer, especially since there isn’t a guaranteed tip!
Instacart failed to mention anything about rejecting batches in the new Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline. This means that when you are “offered a batch,” if you don’t “acknowledge” the batch, you are kicked off your shift. As long as it doesn’t fall within your last hour, the “get back on shift” button is available for up to two hours. I don’t have the exact number, but I believe if you exceed 3 per shift, you will be permanently taken off shift for the day. My interpretation of today’s update is that if you actually “acknowledge” the batch and then don’t complete it, you could find yourself in breach of the shopper agreement. As long as you reject, it sounds like the standard policy applies.
What about Weapons?
Failing to Maintain a Safe Environment
Carrying a weapon while providing services through the App and while on the premises of a third party retailer or a customer location, unless state law expressly prohibits this restriction
Assault, violence or threats of violence
Abusive or threatening mental or verbal treatment
Harassing customers regarding money, pay, or tips
Living in the far left bubble of Los Angeles, I found the first part to be hilarious regarding weapons. A friend even texted me that “she’ll have to stop bringing her Samurai sword on deliveries.” However, in certain parts of the country, gun laws are different so I recommend that if this applies to you make sure to understand and comply with the law.
“Carrying a weapon while providing services through the App and while on the premises of a third party retailer or a customer location, unless state law expressly prohibits this restriction.”
Waive and Save Flyers?
However, I along with many fellow Instacart Shoppers around the country can relate to:
Harassing customers regarding money, pay, or tips
Engaging in conduct that jeopardizes food safety, e.g., including tampering with packaging or placing non-retail items in bags, failing to verify possession of insulated bags
This past year, Instacart shoppers from all over the country have been verbalizing and giving out “waive and save” flyers to clear up the confusion between the service charge vs the tip. Overall, our organized grassroots movement has produced more tips showing up for shoppers. In my opinion, Instacart is losing money from the “service charge” not being paid when savvy customers are tipping their hard working personal shoppers instead! This is opposite of the original intention of the service charge, which was to use customer tips to increase their own revenues:
Instacart is referring to the “non-retail” items in bags as the “waive and save flyers.”
This is only my interpretation and how I’m going to handle the tipping situation:
- I’ve never “harassed” a customer for tips.
- I will continue to explain the confusion on the app between the “Service Charge” and the “Tip.” I’m only educating customers, and many of them ask me to explain. The customer almost always appreciates the info.
- I will continue to explain that if they “choose” to tip their shopper, they may rate and tip me at the end.
- I will no longer leave the flyers inside bags if I’m unable to have communication with the customer
- I will never communicate inside or outside the App in writing anything about the service charge or tip
Tips are a huge chunk of my income, and I won’t be scared away from providing good service to my customers and clearing up any confusion.
Common Sense Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline
A few other common sense guidelines outlined in the Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline that could cause “deactivation.”
- Bringing anyone along (including minors) who does not have an Instacart Shopper account while providing services on the platform
- Breaking any local, state, or federal law while providing services through the Instacart platform
- Misuse of payment card, including, but not limited to misappropriation of funds or cash-back attempts
Advice to Shoppers:
- Read carefully and make sure you understand the updated Full Service Shopper Account Access Guideline
- On every shift do your best to provide the best customer service
- Try be kind a respectful to fellow Instacart Shoppers, customers, and to employees at markets.
- Working on this platform is a choice. Use your best discretion to decide if it’s worth your time and energy, and if it is be positive and make the best of it.
Be vigilant of any changes made by Instacart and respectfully stand up for yourself through email or end of shift comments if you find something to be unfair.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions