What's it really like to work for Instacart

Jon York

Nov 30, 2018
What City & State do you work in?
New York City
Well, in a word - it's tough. People can sit for hours hoping for a call to come in and none do. Sitting unpaid for more than an hour is a major drag. It's incredibly stressful. You don't know if you're even going to make enough to pay for the gas it took to bring you out.

Instacart says drivers can make "up to" $25 an hour. While the "up to" is their legal way out of being accused of fraud, they know by having it in there that a lot of people will think they're going to make $25 an hour and they'll sign up.

But that is such a stretch. Hardly anybody makes $25 an hour. Oh sure, you might have a good hour here and there and make that much, but not usually. A more typical hour is $10 - $15. That's a huge cut below what they tell people before they sign up.

A friend of mine works for Instacart and he says it's really incredible. He'll get a call, have to do some major shopping... people often use Instacart when they need to shop for things that are heavier than what they want to lug home. So, he'll get a call from somebody who is ordering a ton (literally!) of heavy things. Maybe they'll order 4 cases of bottled water (heavy). 4 gallons of milk (really heavy), 4 bags of cat litter (super heavy)!

When you get an order like that you're supposed to get paid a "bulk-order" bonus. But Instacart somehow figured a way out of having to pay this all the time. They came up with a totally random rule that says if a person orders multiple amounts of the same thing - it only counts as one item. So if they order 5 cases of bottled water, Instacart considers that just one case and they won't pay the bulk-order bonus on it.

Friend says it's pretty bizarre too... he'll drop off at some really rich person's house - who will leave him no tip. Then he'll do a drop-off in a middle class area and they'll give him a $10 tip.
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