Instacart is Selling Jobs to the Lowest Bidders

Austin Bob

Dec 15, 2018
What City & State do you work in?
San Antonio
This is really hard to believe... but Instacart appears to be selling jobs to the lowest bidder!

A few months ago they sent out an email saying they valued their 70,000 "dedicated shoppers" and that they wanted to "invest" in the shopper experience with new tools & features to make shoppers' jobs easier. They made a bunch of changes and explained that they wanted "to provide clearer and more consistent earnings." They also said the changes made tipping easier, bonuses more plentiful, earnings more transparent and high-demand times more lucrative. And in the end after saying they wanted to make bonuses more plentiful, they also said "These changes have been designed to keep average earnings the same as under the prior system", so sounds like a bit of a contradiction.

But, what's the reality? Bloomberg talked to some shoppers and found out the reality is nearly the exact opposite of what Instacart said it would be (of course).

“The pay per job is now inexplicable –- and much lower.” Of course, again. Why does it seem like the pay is always lower whenever these companies say it's going to be higher? Some workers say they've seen "dramatic cuts in our paychecks". Some are now making a third less than they used to make.

But get this - this is the clincher. Some of the shoppers say that:

"Shoppers often reject jobs only to see the same jobs re-appear minutes later with slightly higher pay, indicating that Instacart is simply trying to sell the job to the lowest bidder with no other obvious standard for how a given job should be paid."
And get this, apparently they're not paying workers 100% of their tips. Oh of course they say they are, but Bloomberg says:

"Because Instacart pays at least enough to ensure that its contribution plus the promised tip would total at least $10 for an order, a customer’s higher tip could lead Instacart to pay less on a small trip, according to the company, but that wouldn’t happen on larger jobs."
So if a customer leaves a big tip - Instacart pays them at a lower rate! That sounds like tip stealing to me. You can't change how much you pay your workers based on how much tip customers leave. You have to pay your workers whatever you've agreed to pay them. Tips are extra.

"The workers behind the petition said that under the new system, generous tips promised from customers when they place an order on the app trigger lower pay from the company itself. If customers instead promise just 22 cents as a tip when they make an order, and then either adjust the reward higher after delivery or tip in cash, the workers say customers can “keep Instacart from stealing our tips.”