3 Reasons Instacart Grocery Delivery Service Is A Big No-Go For Me

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This is not an Instacart review. My opinions and experiences are solely based on my situation.

I’m self-employed and set my own hours.

I work from home and don’t have kids.

Publix Supermarket is a 3-minute drive from me.

Well, that does it…

I shouldn’t need to use Instacart unless I’m lazy, right!?

Just like everyone should stop paying for cable television.

And quit drinking lattes.

I mean, that’s what “money/social experts” seem to think.

But there’s much more to it than just that.

I do have friends, many of whom have kids.

I hear all of the adventures of “dragging them along everywhere” (their words, not mine!).

I hear the wishes of “It would be great to have X brought to me”.

I totally get it!

Hell, I’d love to have someone bring me 5 cases of bottled water and other supplies, especially when building my emergency preparedness kit.

I still can’t bring myself to use this grocery delivery service, not because I’m cheap, but for other reasons…

How Does Instacart Work?

Before we get into the three main issues, this is something that has been brought up numerous times.

No one seems to be able to answer with authority anymore the question of “how does Instacart work?”

Some regions require an Instacart Express subscription.

In some regions, you can simply order and pay the fee.

Sometimes the fee can be waived.

None of this information is transparently available on the Instacart website.

Many people in the comments on this very article state as much.

Apparently it isn’t as simple as signing up, ordering, paying, and knowing exactly how much your Instacart order will cost anymore.

If I was desperate to have a grocery delivery service available to me, this would be a 4-part article!

Alas, it isn’t so let’s get to my actual complaints about Instacart!

I Don’t Trust Instacart Shoppers

Instacart shopper inspecting white eggs in a cardboard carton in front of egg cabinet at grocery store
Many people won’t even check eggs (or other items) for quality when they shop for their own family, so I don’t trust that they will check for me if I use a grocery delivery service.

Personally, I know my mother taught me how to shop.

She showed me how to use coupons, not obsessively to the point where the search would outweigh the benefit, but like a normal person.

She taught me how to look for the best quality groceries.

And most importantly, she taught me that everything has an expiration date.

That’s right, it’s not just the produce.

Or the meat.

Or the dairy.

Even pantry and dry-packaged items have expiration dates.

This is where my mistrust comes in.

On the site, I don’t see anything about qualifications except for age, availability, and ability to lift heavy loads.

Simon over at the Rideshare Dashboard has a pretty in-depth overview of the Instacart job signup process for being an Instacart shopper.

He specifically mentions the fact that viewing training videos and passing the associated quizzes is no longer a requirement for becoming an Instacart shopper.

There is also some talk about actual in-person training which doesn’t seem to inspire much confidence either.

So, who is to say that when I place an order, the person who does the picking will have any knowledge about shopping other than what food is what?

If I order meat, will they just grab a package that comes close to the amount of weight I desire, or will they actually inspect it for quality (fat content or color)?

Will they know that eggs need to be checked to make sure they aren’t cracked on the bottom and stuck to the carton?

Hell, will they even open up the package to see if the eggs are cracked on the top?

You might want to read this article about cracked eggs and bacteria.

If I order produce will the picker know how to test fruits or vegetables for freshness?

I have a hard time paying for a service that is 50-50 at best to deliver me the best quality items available at the time.

Now, this isn’t to say that all shoppers are bad–there are always good and bad people in any line of work–but a generalization isn’t a shot at anyone in particular so please understand that if you or someone you know is a shopper/driver…no one is speaking about them personally!

However, there are instances of Instacart shoppers purchasing products for their own use on the customers’ dime which doesn’t help alleviate any trust issues not just in one instance, but across the country.

I guess that can happen when you have to pay for an expensive car on tips.

I Don’t Trust Instacart Fees/Pricing

Black male surprised trying to figure out Instacart prices for grocery delivery service on a laptop
That’s the look of many people who have no idea what the actual cost of a grocery delivery service will be until they are actually charged (from the many comments).

Just today, I tried a little experiment.

I had just come back from that Publix which is around the corner from my house.

Yes, in the middle of the morning on a Friday…that’s one of the best parts of a business owner.

But I digress…

I decided to go to the Instacart website and test out the prices.

Unfortunately, I had to create an account first, which I also find to be a pain in the ass, and don’t really trust sites that don’t let you see how they work without giving over your personal info.

Hesitant as I was, I did it so I could gain access and see what the prices were like.

Now, I did read the FAQ about pricing and averages and data feeds and all before doing my comparison.

That in and of itself gave me pause because if you have all of these disclaimers, you are essentially saying that your prices probably won’t match the store’s prices.

It’s basically just an excuse to charge even more on top of the standard grocery delivery service/subscription fees.

Anyway, the first thing I looked at was Fresh Express Baby Spinach because I knew that I had just bought it and remembered the price I paid was $3.99 each BOGO.

I did a search on the Instacart Publix section and found this:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

The BOGO is correct, but the pricing is off.

And just to compare it to what the store itself advertises in the current circular:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

Notice in the 2nd image, it says “SAVE UP TO $4.19”?

That means the most expensive Fresh Express product that Publix sells under this sale costs $.40 more through Instacart.

Want another one?

Good, because I tested another one from the Publix ad simply to see if there might be something to this.

This time I tested a 5lb bag of Organic Russet Potatoes:

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

So this one even tells you that it’s on sale and displays the “savings” as well.

But compared to the one from the Publix ad…

Instacart, Publix, Grocery Delivery, Amazon Fresh, Food Delivery, Grocery Shopping

Sure there’s no picture on this one, but it really doesn’t matter because the Instacart image is just a plain bag and anyone who has ever been grocery shopping knows, those 5lb bags always are branded.

Getting back on track…

The Publix ad shows, again, a lower price.

And remember that “savings” Instacart displayed?

Well, it appears they not only charge more than the store does but also calculate everything differently, reflecting larger price savings than Publix offers.

And I tried a bunch of other items too, but I wasn’t in the mood to start clipping images of everything…you can do your own test to see how your area stacks up.

It just doesn’t sit well with me.

If everything is $.40-$.50 more expensive and you are paying for the service on top of that I call bullshit real quick!

Sure, the store may dictate the pricing via Instacart, but here’s the real problem:

Instacart is getting money from the store to provide the service and from you in the form of fees/subscriptions.

That is double-dipping, and that is where my big issue with the price differences comes from.

Instacart Isn’t Partnered With All Of My Stores

This may be insignificant to many people.

That’s cool because this is only pertaining to my personal reasons for not using the service.

If any of you are friends with me on Facebook or follow my Facebook Page or Instagram feed you’ll know that mention an Italian market frequently when I talk about food (and if you aren’t, go follow NOW ? )

That’s because 90% of the items I buy from it beat the pants off of any of the national/regional supermarket chains.

And in case you’re wondering, I mostly buy fresh meats/produce and cook my meals from scratch rather than buying prepackaged foods–not a judgment, but it does clarify why I don’t get much use out of a big supermarket.

Here’s the thing–in my area, there are 4 options for using Instacart, and my main store isn’t one of them.

Side note: Instacart is in a bunch of Aldi stores which is a place I definitely think people should give a shot!

So, when it comes to the one I do go to that is in my service are–Publix–I only go there for the BOGOs, and occasionally when I get coupons for $5 of $50 in the mail direct from the store itself (which is like 1 month a year).

And when I go, I may end up spending between $15-$25, which makes even a $5 delivery fee a relatively HUGE amount!

It’s kind of like those dumbass pizza chains that give you a $7 pizza after applying the promo code but then charge a $4 delivery fee (and they all suck anyway hahaha but you get my point).

If you shop frequently or in a larger volume than I do and can get that fee down to a tiny relative value, that’s great…it just doesn’t work for me.

Instacart And Store Receipts

A big issue stems from the pricing differences and receipts–or not getting the original.

Some people have come to me to argue that you don’t get the original receipt from the store because you are buying from Instacart.

The argument is that as a reseller you shouldn’t get a receipt showing what the original cast was the same way you don’t get a receipt from the store showing its own purchase price in addition to your copy.

The fault with that argument is simple:

Instacart isn’t buying items to store and sell later via its website.

Instead, the company is providing a personal shopping and delivery service.

This is exactly why you should get the original receipt–as a personal services company, you should be allowed to compare what the cost difference is between doing it yourself and what the Instacart costs add.

Personal shoppers do exactly that–spend the client’s money at cost and add their fee on top.

That’s an important piece of the puzzle for a lot of people.

People who budget their time and money want to know if the added cost is worth outsourcing grocery shopping as opposed to doing it themselves.

It’s not a minor thing for a lot of people, especially when they take the time to really break it all down and see a sometimes large percentage increase in cost by using the service.

Instacart Customer Service

Woman looking over Instacart receipt with concern after receiving grocery delivery service order.
If you check your Instacart receipt and notice that you were charged for items you didn’t receive Instacart customer service is quick about rectifying the situation.

It does seem as though there is one “bright spot” about using Instacart for a grocery delivery service.

The reason I put bright spot in quotations is that I firmly believe that with the best companies you will never hear anything about their customer service (good or bad) because they deliver from the start.

But I digress…

It seems from most accounts–especially down in the comments–that Instacart customer service is pretty good.

As mentioned in point #1 above, there have been many instances of Instacart shoppers buying their own items on the customer’s order.

I definitely can understand some people’s worry about becoming an identity theft victim in these circumstances.

Alerting Instacart customer service seems to quickly resolve the issues.

This appears to also go for underwhelming selections picked by the Instacart shoppers.

Again, while I think it’s terrible to have to even contact Instacart customer service for these negative issues, at least they are given the latitude to fix it quickly.

Update For 2020 & Beyond

I hate talking about hot-button or “moment-in-time” issues, but this needs to be addressed.

(To be clear, I am not using the names or buzzwords here specifically because I am not trying to capitalize on those searches)

A lot of people are starting to comment about how life is changing for them.

Using Instacart and similar grocery delivery services can certainly make life more manageable, particularly if you unexpectedly find yourself home with children for an extended period of time.

Or if you are elderly.

Or have a compromised immune system.

Having Instacart deliver the groceries will certainly allow you to practice (extreme?) social distancing or at the very least insulate yourself.

Trust me, I’m acutely aware of the importance of this as my mother is immunocompromised due to a kidney transplant.

This all goes back to my main point–that I have questions about the service.

Never do I say you should not try Instacart.

I never even say that it’s a bad service.

Never do I say these people shouldn’t try to earn a living.

So, especially now with the situation impacting the way we go about our daily lives, it’s important to understand that I am simply voicing my own personal concerns about Instacart.

If shopping using the Instacart grocery delivery service makes your life easier, go for it.

If it makes you feel safer, use it.

Again, you need to do what works for you and your particular situation, regardless of what anyone else has experienced–including me!

Wrapping Up

Look, not everyone is going to agree with me.

I not only recognize that fact, I expect it.

I also realize the marketing agencies are all over the negative trying to convince people of how great Instacart is via ad campaigns and social media.

Plus, I actually wrote about how personal finance should be tailored to the individual and not used as a blanket or a one-size-fits-all type of deal.

So, sure you may be like many of my friends and not want to drag screaming kids up and down the aisles of your grocery store (again–their words, not mine!).

You may not care that you’re paying higher prices on top of the service fee because any amount would be worth having that task off of your shoulders.

The quality or shelf-life of your food may not even matter because you never even considered it important yourself.

You may have the money in your monthly budget to pay for the convenience.

That’s all cool with me.

Again, this is all due to my own personal manner of handling my food needs and my personal living situation, and yours may vary greatly.

I’m just voicing my own concerns because I hear about people using the service or waiting for it to be available and I keep thinking about those three things each and every time.

Your Turn

Have you ever tried Instacart? Tell us your experience–good, bad, ugly it all helps! And if you haven’t used it yet, what are the reasons for your own hesitance? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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  1. I Just used it. I didn’t research ahead of time like you. However, i now have the same beliefs as you. My driver “accidentally ” gave me the actual public receipt. I immediately noticed about a $10 increase on the instacart total. I didn’t mind paying the delivery fee for instances where i just couldn’t get to the grocery store (i dont mind shipping with the kid because it hellos get learn about good food choices and such). However, the higher food prices aren’t worth it. We really need to get back to some basics. I let the appeal of convenience deter me from that and it ended up costing me limited resources.

    1. Hey Tt!

      Sorry you didn’t have a positive experience. The one thing I can say is that it’s better to have wasted money on something rather than time since you can always make more money, but you can never get back your time once it’s gone.

      Hopefully that make it just a little bit easier to deal with 🙂

        1. Some people can’t go out and shop. So it’s not just about you. The elderly or disabled for example. I use it for my 76 year old mom because I don’t want her lugging stuff around and she doesn’t live near me. It sucks that the only other options are also super expensive. Hopefully more competition is coming. Instacart isn’t the best at all. They need to fix their glitches. I have also used Amazon Prime Fresh. Suuuuuuuuper expensive!

          1. Thanks for reading Eva!

            I can’t speak for anyone else, but I agree with you which is why the title of the article is about why *I* can’t do it, and not “Why no one should use it”.

            Also, I specifically state in the wrapup that people aren’t all going to have the same opinion and that it’s perfectly ok, I don’t expect everyone to share my views. As long as the reason for dissenting opinions is based in fact or experience and nothing else, I’m cool with it 😀

            1. The comment to you saying: “It’s not all about you”… ?…. lol! You made it perfectly clear that it was your opinion and based on fact. People like that chiming in drive me insane.

            2. A late reply to a months-ago comment, but I have to say what drives me insane is when people respond to things without actually comprehending what was said. The “it’s not all about you” response clearly wasn’t saying that it isn’t all about Eric, it was a person saying that the choice to use a service like Instacart isn’t always about your own personal preferences, but sometimes is about how you can assist others, like an elderly parent who can’t shop on their own and can’t lug heavy things around.
              She was saying that you can hate everything about Instacart but if you don’t live nearby someone who needs help getting groceries, you just might have to use it anyway…because it isn’t all about you.

            3. Wow that totally cleared it up for me. I read it the other way and it the tone seemed hostile and confusing, (which I guess is how I ended up reading this far) but I didn’t even consider your interpretation. Anyways, just wanted to let you know that your comment was noticed and appreciated.

            4. Nice reply I took the initial comment the same as u did its not always easy when it’s in texting to interpret things corectly apperantly and I just wanted u to no u weren’t alone on that i interpreted it the same way as you did when I read it and I really think your second response was very well written not like u care what I think but thought I’d let u no I like the way u handled it . Ok take care

            5. Exactly, If Eric doesn’t like it, did we need to know. Now in the virus age my NY sister was able to get my SC butt some oranges, lemons, oranges etc bc I don’t shop on line with my card. Oh yes the Publix guys are in for a tongue lashing, but Aldi’s got it perfectly correct. So use smaller stores and ladies as your shoppers! BAM!

            6. Exactly, if I like something but someone else doesn’t then they should just shut up and keep their opinions to themselves ?

            7. I specifically came here to read Eric’s opinion of Instacart, so my answer is, yes. I want to know if Eric does or doesn’t like it and why. If one doesn’t want to know what a blog writer thinks, they why read his or her blog? 

            8. Exactly, and also that it’s not a good thing when it’s really need but then  is so expensive for people with limited incomes. 

          2. I completely agree with your article.
            I’m a low income retired senior, older than your mom, living alone, with Medicaid and Medicare. Having my Medicaid with an HMO gives me a free transportation service to go wherever I need to, doctor’s appointments, shopping’s, etc.
            I live close to a Publix Store and love to go over there; but don’t trust anyone choosing my items; like You do, I check everything so, I’d trust you doing mine. Of course it’s a joke.

            1. And you shouldn’t trust anyone people these days have a hurry up attitude. It doesn’t matter thought process not aeveryone but enough. I’ve always took pride at whatever I do or whatever company I work for in this year of 2019 soon to be 2020 things have greatly changed with the workforce.

            2. Until you deliver for Instacart how can you basically say that we don’t take pride in our work? And the hurry up attitude you’re referring to is because instacart shoppers won’t make any money if we don’t hurry, ma’am. The company is cheap on payments, it’s sad. I take a lot of pride in my work…a lot! And many other instacart workers do as well, I know for a fact. It can be very frustrating be an instacart shopper, especially these days…y’all have no idea!

            3. You are so right Jerry,I been doin instacart for over a yr now and my attitude is always 2 be in and out a store as quickly as possible but that doesn’t mean I don’t make good quality food choices,i check expiration dates and fruit as if I was shoppin 4 myself.I have a 5 star rating and good customer feedback as well.I also take pride in any job I do,I dress the part and always nice and friendly and because of it I get an increase in tips after a drop off all the time.

            4. And you’re that way, Tracey because you’re a good person. Even though we know that there’s customers out there that don’t recognize the little things we do and the things other workers won’t do, there’s quite a few customers out there that do, so regardless of the money from one batch to the next, keeping that passion and consistency is always key…cause it pays off somehow-someway. When being the type of shoppers/workers like us that even though the drive and desire to kick ass doing our job is heavily due to the desire to impress, earn more pay, or even just to insure keeping the job period, there’s that humungous part in us that works hard along with making sure all the other things that require consistency of being the best at whatever it is we’re doing gets done because it’s what it does for ourselves as individuals…knowing that we did a good job. A pride thing. I know I take major pride in my work….and it sounds like you do as well. Keep up the good work, Tracey! And if you’re interested in using that kick-ass work mentality and drive in other areas besides instacart, let me know…I just might have some other work for you if you’re interested. It would be web-based type work…but time and effort and ability to learn quick is how your income would be determined…so, could be something that fits you well. Until then….take care and godspeed!

            5. EXACTLY!!!! This is my business, I take pride in what I am doing for someone else…I want it PERFECT and I want to find every item the customer requested!!! The “hurry up” attitude being talked about is sometimes because the customer wants their groceries by a certain time….AND WE ARE TIMED!!!! Do people even know that???!!!

            6. I highly doubt that you never been impatient with anyone on your job. Our problem is that we see what everyone else does when we do the same thing. I take pride in my job as well, but I also have my fays when people just irriate me or my personal life irriatates me and I have to suck it up and try my best not to show an attitude. You are not perfect so stop trying to be. The instacart workers I came in contact with was very nice, my produce was frsh and they took their time getting everything. ASSuming these people have hurry up attitude is pure ignorance. You can’t base thing off your own opinions and you can’t base everyone vharacter off one encounter. It’s just ignorant and foolish when people speak or throw opinions around without facts.

          3. This one I really agree wtih you. There are 7 times over 56 times delivery that I feel good.
            3 times for moms that look like they don’t look so good. I means they might be about to get sick
            2 times for early person.
            2 times for someone that have a car.

            Even Instacart paid shopper so little but I actually don’t need to care much about their pay. I just need to drive my car because my car consume battery more than I thought. My house is close to everything. I don’t need to drive much. BUT I do feel bad for the other shopper who try to make a living from Instacart and be treat unfair.

          4. Im 66 and do not drive so i can not carry a case of water and alot of the heavy items i do go and get the smaller items that i can carry so you see its not being lazy the older you get you will see what will be in store for you you are all just behind me and you will get there

            1. It is not a charity or a service organization. It is a business offering a service to those who need or want it. When I need their help, I appreciate it and am glad to pay. Your roofer, plumber, doctor, yard man, mechanic, etc., don’t work for free either. They have to pay their overhead and make a profit.

            2. Sit down. Lol. This why you price compare even for those and get estimates on things. You don’t want to over pay in those either. But hey if you have money like that go ahead. I know I don’t. Even a 10$ diff makes a huge deal. Instagram is 50$ a year plus fees and they over charge. That isnt cool. Especially those in fixed incomes.

            3. I am on SSDI and no longer drive or own a vehicle. It’s far more expensive for me to take a Lyft taxi to and from the grocery store and then have to entice my taxi driver with a large tip just to help carry my groceries up to the second floor to my apartment door. That’s one of the great reasons I LOVE USING INSTACART. They also have a huge weekly buy one get one FREE Section that creates huge savings for my budget. I eat extremely well on my fixed income because I know how to make good buying choices and budget as best possible. PLEASE look through my several posts and replies to others and read them. I hope it will enlighten your opinion. Take care and God Bless you always.

            4. Yes!!!! I have a Master’s degree in business management with an emphasis in accounting and finance and can sincerely and completely be in agreement with your statement. Thank you for such an educated, logical, and enriching post!

            5. Well just so you know they used to at one time keep the tips. They did a lot of things that they were sued for. Trust me they make more than a good profit. I have a friend who lives in a different state than me. They have one small fee. The food prices do not get inflated and they are not allowed to accept tips. They pay their drivers well and don’t expect the consumer to pay for it.

            6. It’s fine if they get compensated for the services they offer but they have to be CLEAR about the amount they will be compensated so the consumer can make an INFORMED decision. It’s not fine that they are not clear to the consumer that each and every item that is shopped will cost you %10 more. It’s deceptive of them to only add this in the vague fine print of the app. I’m cancelling my membership and asking for a refund

            7. A website is not a plumber, doctor, yard man, or mechanic. It is just a website run by a skeleton crew of people who don’t even interact online, let alone in person, with the company’s customers. A website has little “overhead.” Once the site was created, almost everything is automated and the few people running it just keep it maintained. With the fees the company charges, it’s a cash cow at the expense of the customers and the people doing the actual work. It also benefits grocery stores because they’ve all dropped their own local delivery services in favor of signing up with Instacart. They don’t hire employees to make deliveries anymore. 

            8. Never said I do not want to pay, simply when in need it’s more expensive then going into market myself. Please don’t misconstrue my comment

            9. Please try to imagine being on the second floor, educated but still mentally and partially physically disabled, weak and without a vehicle and unable to continue driving, and having to pay for a Lyft taxi to and from the grocery store and then having to entice your driver with a large tip just to carry up your groceries to your door which Instacart drivers do happily for FREE. I LOVE USING INSTACART!!!! They have a huge buy one get one FREE Section online that changes every week and talk about BIG savings! I am a finance and accounting major so I really can budget well. I have to in order to eat well as I am Blessed and thankful to now be on SSDI which I worked many years putting into. Long story short, what some scoff about can be an answer to someone else’s prayers. And. By the way, I do shop Thrive sometimes with an annual membership fee and auto-renewal fee of close to $80.00 a year now. All my packages now have to be sent to my daughter’s place due to so much theft where I live. Not everybody, it just takes a few. But its absolutely beautiful here and I just adore my apartment and am truly grateful. Take care everyone and God Bless you all!

            10. That’s great, but your needs and experiences do not negate those of others. It isn’t about you. It isn’t personal. 

            11. It is very expensive and even more so since Eric posted. An $8.99 item at Publix becomes a $9.99 item with Instacart. I had to use it as it was necessary for a while. Almost every time there was something wrong with my order and is Eric said the dates. Food was ready to expire the following day. (Meat) They always replaced my item if it wasn’t available with a much more expensive item. And they used to telephone you if there was a problem, or text you however now they expect you to watch them for two hours while they shop and if you see something you’re not happy with comment on the app. I’m not paying them so I can sit and watch them shop on my iPad or my cell. And let’s not forget we need to tip these people of course. Almost daily I would watch the prices rise on Instacart. The prices don’t go up a few cents they go up a lot. And $.99 1 L bottle of Coke went up to $1.45 overnight. No I couldn’t agree more. I’m done with Instacart.

            12. Taking full advantage of customers is very important to instacart. The absolute need to make as much money as they can regarding people who cannot or will not go shpping for themselves. Why sugar coat this simple fact.Hey go shopping and bendover and put the items in your car or on the bus . Or you can bend over for instacart.

            13. So compassionate. Some people become incapacitated. That has nothing to do with being lazy. Why are you even on this feed? You have absolutely nothing to offer.

            14. I happen to be an Instacart shopper. I have a bachelor’s degree and retired from the medical field October 2019 after 30 years. I do this now because I still wanted to help others and I really do care. I shop for others as I would for myself and my family. God bless you and all of my customers. Stay healthy.

            15. Your post interests me, Cynthia, because, after the first time I used Instacart (only because, even though I’m a very healthy, active 76, I feel vulnerable to the virus, maybe terrified of catching it and giving it to my compromised partner), and I texted back and forth with the shopper a couple times during her shopping, I immediately realized I would really enjoy being a shopper myself and being able to help people get what they want and need if they’re unable to go to the store for whatever reason. So that’s where I relate to your post … I think it could be rewarding to work as a shopper. But today I got only my second Instacart order, and was shocked at the many markups of prices, and higher fees than last time, (3.99 delivery fee plus 4.86 service fee … why are there two separate fees?), plus a generous tip on a $95 order. I’m going to try not to use Instacart again because of those two fees AND the price markups which I hadn’t noticed the other time. I could tolerate the fees, and I expect to pay for service, but when I noticed the price markups at the store in my neighborhood I’ve shopped at for 20 years, I was shocked and felt cheated.

            16. How do you think Instacart gets money to pay their shoppers?  The $3.99 doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of the delivery and the person’s time.  You are really in a fog if you think that a shopper is going to spend an hour of their time for $3.99.

            17. if your item isn’t available you can specify for them to just give you a refund. If you don’t then they will do there best to get you a close replacement which may cost more. We are paid by percentage so the more your items cost the more we make as part of our guarantee payout. Tips are not guaranteed so we focus more on the guaranteed payout. You are paying someone to do all your work for you use there gas and time. If instacart only charged the actual price of the product in store they wouldn’t be able to pay there workers very well. If you can’t afford the service or are cheap and on a budget then go to the store yourself. Many of us do this as a career since being laid off its how we pay our bills.

            18. I always tip well and appreciate the fact that i don’t have to go to the store myself sometimes..it’s just like anything else..you’re paying for a service..if you don’t want the service don’t use it but don’t bitch about it.

            19. As a shopper it never fails to amaze me how people expect other people to use their cars, their time and their gas to get their groceries and oh my god! You have to actually pay them! It is expensive because we are contracted workers tracking up miles on our cars and trying to eke out a wage. I enjoy delivering groceries and helping people out but make no mistake…this is my job…not a hobby. Not everyone can afford it but it is not a social service paid for by the government.

            20. Yes finally a shopper who gets it. Amen sister. Oh my . esp shop now with shortage of stuff. We do use our cars our gas. And. Mileage on our cars . we pay our own taxes. It is great to help others and our customers are grateful to see us

            21. Grateful to see you if you actually f***ing showed up. I ordered from instacart today and the stupid f*** was too inept to find my apartment. He went to the wrong building and said he couldn’t find my apartment number. I texted him and told him he was in the wrong apartment building and which one he needed to go to. He replied with “Oh.” And then never showed up. I texted him after it had been 10 more min and said “Hello?” He didn’t reply and then a few seconds later I got an email saying my order had been cancelled and that I wouldn’t be charged. I was charged! I called Instacart 4 times, waiting 20-30 min each time and finally got thru to someone on the last time. They couldn’t offer me any kind of credit, discount or compensation whatsoever. All they did was supposedly note my experience so they could supposedly give feedback to the driver. They then transferred me to Kroger to ask for a refund which will take 7 to 10 business days to go back to my account! Now I don’t have money to buy groceries. WTF I’m I supposed to do? Starve, because your stupid a** employee was too inept and retarded to find my apartment (not to mention I checked the box that said I didn’t need to be home for the groceries to be delivered – but I was home)? F*** Instacart and f*** anyone on here who defends them or works for them. I don’t care if you do a good job or not; you work for a sh** company that rips you and the customers both off, and instances like this should be enough to cause you to not want to work for or defend such a sh** company! You literally don’t give a f*** that some a***hole didn’t deliver my sh** and now my money is locked up for 10 days just because the driver was a retard! And no, you don’t deserve a tip on top of a $10 delivery fee. If the company can’t give you a tip out of a $10 delivery fee, and I’m expected to pay more, then you need to find a reasonable company to work for that pays their employees reasonably. WTF f***ing f*** is a delivery fee for, if not to pay the driver? No excuses. If it’s not for that, it’s just a stupid a** greedy company. Period. F*** that, and f*** you. I am not lazy, and was using the service to try to be safe during the pandemic, but I normally do all my own shopping. This is only my 4th time using the service, but it will be the last. I will go get the groceries myself. This guy didn’t even ask if I wanted replacements either; just texted that he refunded items they supposedly didn’t have, and ignored my requests for replacements (and yes I put replacements allowed). The driver I had before this one was very nice, had 5 star reviews and I flat out asked him what he makes and if he depends on the tips and he showed me how much money, on his phone screen, that he was making off each deliver, not including tips, and it was PLENTY. You don’t depend on tips. Stop f***ing lying and expecting people to give you an extra pat on the back for doing your f***ing job a***holes. I’m done with you and your sh** company. F*** you all. And no, I”m not wrong. I don’t give a f*** what you say. Nothing you can say can justify not delivery someone’s groceries and then holding their grocery money for 10 days. F*** you. Peace. Out.

            22. One shopper had problems finding my place once but texted me for directions. After that, I revised my info to give better, more detailed (even TMI) instructions to avoid a repeat (worked). So if any confusion is possible, make your delivery instructions bullet-proof and make sure the driver knows to look at them. You should have the option to text them somewhere in the app. Gotta be pro-active, as they say. If communication were easy, there would be fewer wars. You can chat with the shopper before they even start to shop (here shoppers are also the drivers).

              It’s pretty rare for a delivery to not happen (that driver is likely not working for them any more…), but unfortunately you do have to wait for the bureaucracy to process the refund. Hence the joys of credit cards.

            23. Most customers have no clue as to your arrangement with Instacart. They don’t know your arrangement but assume you are employees of the company they’re paying to provide a service. Frankly, it isn’t really their problem to worry about, but between you and Instacart. It becomes the customers’ problem though when a company exploits its workers and then they feel obligated to make up for what Instacart isn’t providing you. Many people won’t enrich Instacart by paying multiple add-on fees you never see on top of higher grocery prices, and then turn around and tip generously on top of it to guarantee you a decent wage. Too many people can’t afford to throw their money at Instacart like that. Customers don’t expect you to work for free, they expect Instacart to take a small fee for its service as nothing more than an intermediary between you and your customers, and for the company to make a fair agreement with its “independent contractors.” 

            24. So you’re Time and Gas and the convince and the wear and tear of your car is cheap, when you go to restaurant do you complain and say this restaurant is expensive, you do tip your server. You should should not say it’s expensive you should say you’re cheap.

            25. If your employee doesn’t pay you well or compensate you for, time, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle, then you work for a sh** company. Find a better job. Don’t expect people who make the same as what you make, or less, to have money to pick up the slack for your sh**y employer. Take your sh**y entitled attitude and shove it up your a**.

          5. You are so right about this I used it for my parents they are in their 80’s can’t drive it works for them , but when I used it something went wrong 16 items at Aldi should not be $113 .. it said $60.25 but then in my account $113 was taken out …. very displeased with that . I get it though it is good for seniors or if your sick

            1. Sounds like you may have been scammed. Did you check your online receipt to verify that you were only charged for the 16 items you ordered?

            2. Did the $113 stay or was it removed? Instacart does do a temporary charge on a credit card that is much higher than the initial estimate, to allow for extra items added later and changes in weights etc. But that should be adjusted after shopping is done. Definitely talk with customer service if that happens.

            1. I love it! I’ve never had a bad experience. During these bad times it works for me. I tried to give a good tip. I also don’t mind working with my shopper.

      1. It’s too bad there is not a competitor who does this kind of like the Meals on Wheels program. I tend to trust the concept of Instacart my daughter and grandson both work for them, but the price is holding me back. As an elderly couple with multiple health issues I really could use this service. The inflated costs are what is keeping from it. I know what my kids tell me that make along with tips on the orders. Only with being proud of their industry I am amazed. My kids often take the groceries in and help an older person more than required by the company. So maybe there are other kind drivers out there too.

        1. I’m a shopper and driver and I always help every sustainer I carry it in no mate show he ya andim a little woman. I do everything to make sure the food is good and not expired. All the shoppers I know do too.

          1. I LOVE USING INSTACART!! I am soooooo Blessed by your awesome services. I am on disability and no longer drive or own a vehicle and live up on the second floor so the fact you guys happily deliver to my door usually with a big smile Blesses my life.

            1. I am a shopper for instacart and i can tell you that i shop for every order as if it is for myself. One order may take me an hour to collect. And then i have to drive it to the member and deliver it, many times receiving no tip! I think it’s strange how people will gladly tip their pizza delivery, or restaurant server for just bringing a plate of food, but feel that the work we put in is worthless. Yes the prices are higher because that is what pays for the software app and support that is necessary. This service is a godsend for the elderly, disabled, mothers of young children, etc.

            2. I am a good tipper! I’ve waitressed and totally understand. I appreciate people who live on a large part of their tips. Even though I’m on SSDI, it would cost me a great deal more to use a taxi service.

            3. Yes! I agree…and as a shopper myself, i have many times seen the Insta platform prices lower than the store prices. So depending what your list looks like, you can assume it typically averages out.

            4. I’ve never seen Instacart prices lower than the store’s prices. Perhaps you’re applying coupons.

            5. I suspect most non-tippers believe you’re receiving the delivery fees, of which there are between two and four, depending on the order. That’s the problem with a company being so vague and confusing about its fees and your compensation set-up. It makes sense that when they see multiple fees on their bill that they would think most of it goes to you. The blame should be directed at Instacart, not the customers. Instacart is who you’ve signed on with. 

            6. Thanks Kimberly! I too am on SSDI, without a car and unable to carry bags or lift them. I use Safeway.com delivery. However, my last order was cancelled completely due to COVID-19. I am about to use Instacart for the first time. I am trying to find out whether my “JUST4U” and “SAFEWAY CLUB CARD” DISCOUNTS will be deducted from my order. Tried to call Instacart but there is a 76 minute wait time. Do you or anyone else know if I will be able to still get those much needed discounts? Thanks and GOD BLESS. Stay healthy and safe.

            7. Hi there Kathleen! No, unfortunately, they are unable to use your shopper’s card, phone number, etc for your own extra personal discounts. But I highly recommend them. You’ll have a choice of grocery stores to choose for them to shop from for you. I always focus on the nut one get one free from PUBLIX. Happy shopping!!

            8. This is not entirely true. I think you actually picked the worst store to review. The issues you have described are Publix issues and not instacart. I use instacart with Food Lion and the prices are exactly the same.

              You review your shopper. I had a bad one and someone from instacart called me 10 minutes after my review and gave me refund for the item in question.

            9. I am a shopper in Texas. The stores I shop that have shoppers/Loyalty cards the card and a large barcode populate on my iPhone even as aim as I indicate in d don’t and heading to the check out. One of the chains jet gives a several % discount on the entire total for seniors. I also ask for it when shopping for a known senior. Whether or not it of passed along to you the customer I cannot access.

            10. We love you too! I get enjoyment shopping for my customers and picking the best quality items. I don’t even mind carrying them up to an apartment. My reward is seeing happy faces from folks like you! ?

          2. Yes, my shoppers have asked me if the only items they find have close expiration dates. Just had that situation today. If I’m going to eat it right away or freeze it, I can tell them to go ahead and get it. But it’s obvious that they are paying attention to such details.

        2. I feel that a lot of the increased cost is offset by the fact that the instacart shopper isn’t being tempted to throw a bunch of things in the cart that aren’t on the list, as I am often prone to do. No wear on the car, no gas burned.

          1. It’s not possible! You’re app has all of the ordered items on a list. No way to throw something else in. Technology

            1. I am a shopper myself… and there is a way to just add items. It’s done all the time. A customer will realize they forgot something and ask to have it added. And yes there are the dishonest shoppers that will items for themselves and have the customers pay for it.

            2. My experience. Shopper added 2 deli sandwiches and chapstick and kept them while I paid for them. Got a refund but still feel the burn.

            3. That is something that needs to be reported. The dishonest shopper will be deactivated.

            4. I don’t see how they can get away with adding items for themselves, as long as you keep an item. If they add something, or make a change, you need to approve it. Sometimes I get receipts sometimes I don’t. But always get one by email, and if I find an error, they immediately fix it.

            5. @Exho Cattoor can you tell me more about how shoppers can add items without customers knowing? I am a frequent Instacart customer and have recently realized that shoppers can add things “accidentally” or intentionally because a shopper of mine said she accidentally added a personal item for herself and gave me the cash for it when she delivered my order… I wonder after that how often this happens and how easy it is to get away with. The item she paid me cash for was not on digital receipt for by the way. Thanks for your help and reply.

        3. Instacart offer a huge buy one get one free Section that creates huge savings for my budget and I’m on a fixed income as well. You are never obligated to pay them ANY tip but you will need to adjust your settings and select None as your tip preference. I no longer drive or own a vehicle and the cost for me to take even a low cost taxi service to and from the grocery store bus a large tip I have to offer the driver just to have them carry my groceries up stairs to my apartment door is approximately three times more than using INSTACART. Wha6some people assume might be too costly or a waste of money has been an answer to my prayers. Take care and may God Bless you always.

          1. I NEED TO INSERT SOMETHING that I AM A HUGE BELIEVER IN GENEROUS TIPPING. My comments above were directly addressed to the people who were complaining that there is obligatory tipping and it was pre-set. That’s to whom I was addressed. I ALWAYS Tip up to 99% of the time. It takes a total injustice and dishonesty PLUS** for me not to tip. For example, I had a $20 gift code from a restaurant delivery service so i order a deep dish pizza and salad. The total including delivery was only $11.26 and i tipped the driver $7.75. Especially dud to these rough economic times and health risks for them and I’m on SSDI Glory to God!
            Thank you and most sincerely yours,

            1. Meagan just so u know,as an instacart shopper,many shoppers wont accept a $0 tip not knowing if they will receive one later or a cash tip,me included.I would at least put the minimum then take it up if u choose afterwards.One reason is that’s not everyone’s thought process,sum just don’t tip. Period.If i knew those ppl would cash tip or tip afterwards i would accept the order but not chancing using up my gas and time for nontippers,just no excuse for that.I used the service for the 1st time last week and tipped my driver$20 for a very small order because i know how those generous,unexpected tips make your day.Some large order customers may only tip 6,$7 and i get that every1 isn’t able to overtip all the time but when u can please do it’s greatly appreciated!!

            2. I did leave a 15% tip. I’ll have to start letting it default bc it’s taking days for orders to be picked up.

            3. Hi Megan. I too am am Instacart shopper. You may not know, but you should have up to 3 days to adjust the tip after delivery in the app. I would like to suggest that when you place your order, you tip as generously as you like, and then reduce the tip as necessary when you receive poor service.
              And please leave feedback when that happens so that fellow shoppers become aware of what improvements they can make to provide better service.

              Thank you for being a great tipper by the way.

            4. Megan,
              As a veteran shopper I will say this, and most veteran shoppers know this. Due to tips being stolen from Instacart in the past or higher paying tips being used to compensate us for our work instead of instacart paying us fairly. There is a code tip of $.22 that we know means you will either tip cash at the door or raise tip post delivery. This also forces instacart to pay a proper wage to the shopper.

            5. That’s interesting. I’ve been setting it at 10% with a note that I’ll increase it after an accurate delivery. 

      2. Agree if only you have money to spend. extra $10-$50 per grocery. what a big deal! right? The different between the rich and the poor (who isn’t as rich as you or more than you) They have a budget. If you only think from where you stand,…(you are the rich so you must be smart enough to know what kind of people are you.)

            1. Christine, not in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact I was charged 28.00. It did include tip, but it was supposed to be 10.00.

            2. Tips are NEVER A REQUIREMENT. All you do is change your settings under tipping preferences and select None. That’s what I did for total control. If you are dissatisfied about anything just call customer service immediately. They actually want to help you. Also, just try to limit your purchases to their very large buy one get one FREE Section and you’ll rack up HUGE SAVINGS! I believe that section changes weekly. I no longer drive and no longer can afford to own a vehicle anyway so I LOVE USING INSTACART! It’s Heaven sent to me. It’s soooo much cheaper than even a low cost taxi service like Lyft to go to and from the grocery store and then to have to entice the taxi driver with a large tip just to bring up the groceries to the second floor apartment door which INSTACART drivers happily do for FREE. I am so Blessed to have access to their services and excellent customer service if I need anything resolved over the phone. They are really there to help which I experience less and less often these days. Well I hope this has given some enlightenment as to a more positive perspective of Instacart. Take care and God Bless you always. Reply anytime if you want to start a discussion. It might be fun.

            3. You don’t tip?!?! Instacart drivers are not even making minimum wage without tips…plus having to use their own cars and gas. I drive for them and it’s not even worth my time or effort if customers aren’t tipping at least 10%.

            4. Jane…of course I tip! More for great service and less for poor service. I’ve only had an extremely bad experience with only one driver. I just have it set at None so I can choose the tip amount. I’m a loyal believer in tipping. I’m sorry you read my post in the wrong way. I NEVER said I don’t tip. You assume wrong. I just go back into the app and tip an amount I choose. In my post where I said that there is no tip required I was referring to all the grumbling people out there putting down their app and whining about the automatic tipping. How does that infer that I don’t believe in tipping. I’m a loving and generous Christian woman. May God Bless you always and forever. Take care now.

            5. I too am a shopper for Instacart and I, like most other drivers will not take an order if it has no tip. If you choose no tip you will get the desperate shoppers that do not care. You have 3 days to adjust tip after delivery. If you want a good quality shopper tip when your order is placed and if you do not like the service you got change the tip after delivery. Most people do not know that we are only paid in most areas only $7 per order sometimes having to shop for 2 or 3 people at the same time. Would you shop and drive miles in your car on your gas for $7? That is what we see with no tip orders. Of course most people would not jump to take it. As a shopper you do not know the customer will change the tip after and most don’t so 90% of the time it will be passed over and you will get a terrible shopper or someone new, they are not being paid well for their time and personal effort which means they want to rush to get it done so they can get another order. And I 10000% agree with the fact that a pizza delivery driver gets tipped better than the person who spend at least an hour hand pick shopping and then delivering not just 1 item but many many items. Why should a shopper be excited to do all that work including milage for most often $7 and a $2 tip? Your shoppers are independent contractors not employees and we are not compensated from Instacart the over amounts that are charged and trust me as your shoppers we apologize for that and wish it were different but we have no control over it whatsoever. My advice is if you want wonderful 5 star shoppers that know how to shop quality items like myself a $5+ tip will go a long way. Rating your shoppers will also help.

            6. One other thing that is not known it seems is not all items are up charged btw. Many things ordered are the same as the are in store so when you get an order you are not being charged and extra .50 or whatever the case may be on every item. I’d also like to make an analogy..if food was cooked poorly at a restaurant why do you take it out on the servers tip? They didn’t make the food, they really have nothing to do with it but they are the face of the issue to you when really the issue is you shouldn’t pay for the food that was poor. It’s the same for your shopper, they have no control over the issues about pricing with Instacart but they are the face to you of Instacart. But like the waitress who gets a poor tip cuz the cook sucks, it’s the same for the shopper suffers with tips when the issue is you don’t want to pay for fees. The issue is with Instacart not your shopper. But as a customer how are you to know any better. To you it is one entity and not your fault there are so many fees and the only thing you have control over is how you tip. If tipping is involved in any service maybe we should all keep mind it is because it pays less than acceptable and that should be taken into account. A standard tip is 15% but most Instacart tips are 5% or less. Thought everyone might want to know that a service that involves more work beyond what most people do to earn tips is tipped far less than the standard tip you would pay.

            7. This country needs to join the rest of the modern world and get rid of tipping altogether. It’s used by industries to increase their profits at the paying public’s expense. They get away with almost free labor because of it. If you tip in England or France, the servers are insulted because they earn liveable wages as the professionals that they are should. 

            8. This is good to know. I zero out the tip until delivery. I had no idea it was affecting my order being chosen. That’s irritating. I always do 10-15% except twice when I had so so service.

        1. I believe you are not opening your mind enough and your post was poorly thought through. Please read through my several posts for some enlightenment on how Instacart has helped me on my fixed income without a car and just getting in on their huge weekly buy one get one FREE Section. And tips are NEVER A REQUIREMENT. I just went into my settings and selected None under preferred tip amount. Now I am in control. Take care please and may God Bless you always. This post was not intended to put you down just to try to open your perspective of life. So, PLEASE take a moment to read through my several posts. Peace to you.

        2. I can’t spend much, have to spend at least $35, plus a tip $5-6 is kmmy usual grocery fee. The tip is so worth it!
          Of course at Aldi’s, the savings is huge.

        1. Oops! I meant to say, I disagree with Eric.
          I absolutely LOVE InstaCart, and I don’t think the prices are as bad as you say — PLUS I always get free shipping because I spend at least $35 each time I shop.

          Since I’ve been without a car for the past 6 months, I was taking Uber to/from the grocery store. Then I discovered InstaCart, which is less costly than Ubering, it’s more convenient, and I don’t mind paying for the convenience. I also like the convenience of being able to shop from multiple stores on one order. However, to get free shipping when I order from multiple stores, I will have to spend at least $35 at each store, but I can live with that. It beats trying to get to all those stores with no transportation.

          At first, I too was skeptical, about the shoppers being very careful, but I decided to give it a try; and I was pleasantly surprised that the shoppers I’ve had so far were just as meticulous as I am. One shopper even used her phone app to refund a watermelon that advertised for $3.99 each, but it rang up as $3.99 a pound. Had she text me, I would have told her to leave off the watermelon; but she went ahead and got it and pointed out how expensive it was when she delivered the groceries; then she did the refund. I checked my online order and saw the price was immediately adjusted. AND I got to keep the watermelon! 🙂

          Even though, I track my order until it’s finally delivered, I missed that higher price for the watermelon. So, that was a good decision on her part to bring it, then refund my money once she got here, because I would have been furious had I later discovered I was overcharged for that watermelon. So, I gladly gave her 5 stars and a nice tip.

          Lastly, the shoppers have to maintain a rating of 4.96 out of 5 stars, otherwise they’ll get kicked out the system. So, that’s an incentive for them to watch those training videos and do an excellent job! So far, I have given all my shoppers 5 stars!

      3. Not when you are living on a fixed income, you can’t always “make more money”. And it seems that the senior base would be some of heir most important customers

    2. So you expect your InstaShopper to use their gas their cell data their time and energy to check every label on every package when the store already has a system in place to remove outdated items. Spending extra time in the store to then deliver you the best available items. And your upset you have to spend $10 over the cost of groceries? You do realize Instacart is a company they have to make money the drivers are independent contractors and do not make a hourly wage they get paid a percentage of your delivery fee and your order they don’t get paid extra for spending extra time in the store. Your shopper was be nice by giving you the real receipt so you could return anything you needed to. Smh ?‍♀️

      1. I’m sorry Summer, but I have to disagree with you.

        Claiming that the shopper was “nice” for giving the original receipt? No, that is a requirement. She paid for the items so she should get the real receipt to see exactly what the breakdown of the purchase was.

        Secondly, there’s nothing wrong with making a profit, but don’t try to take a piece of everything, and be transparent about it. People shouldn’t have to pay a fee PLUS a markup over store prices and then be expected to give a tip on top.

        Lastly, if the shopper doesn’t want to do a thorough job, then they shouldn’t be shoppers. It’s a total disservice to the customer to simply grab an item off the shelf without inspecting it. Ever hear of the saying about treating customers better than you would like to be treated? How about underpromise and overdeliver? Think about it, how would you feel if you were delivered an order of groceries with over/under ripe produce or items with an expiration date of the following day? If you would honestly have no issue with that, then great!

        No one is asking to get everything for free. People just want to know that they are getting the same quality they’d get by going themselves and to be able to know what the actual final cost will be beforehand. Nothing wrong with those expectations.

        1. I so agree! I had a recent bill with Instacart that was $40 over the receipt that was mistakenly included (?!?). When I called Instacart on this, they said they were “sorry” the shopper included the original store receipt (what? I wasn’t upset by getting the receipt, but I can see why instacart was upset I got it!). They said there are store upcharges when I asked for a full breakdown of what I spent. I was really pissed off to find out that there is a delivery fee, a tip, a “service fee”, AND STORE UPCHARGES, which is ridiculous. I don’t think the stores care who is shopping in the store. The “service fee” should cover all this, and there should be NO STORE UPCHARGES. I’m canceling instacart.

          1. It says right on the App, Publix has to pay
            Instacart for their service. That is why there is a mark up. They pass it on to the customer.

            Times are changing and stores have to make sure they are keeping up with the deliveey service that seems to have been brought on by Amazon, or get left behind in the 20th century.

            Your comment “I don’t think the stores care who is shopping in the store” is incredibly naive. Just read a little, and ask questions. These stores have a contract with Instacart.

            1. Which means both the stores and the customers are paying Instacart for nothing more than their intermediary website service, while independent contractors are doing all of the work and bearing the costs of doing Instacart’s business. . 

          2. I am a 56 year old woman, an Instacart shopper and a Christian that pratices treating people better than I would want to be treated, I ALWAYS give the store receipt and Instacart has never ask me not to. I also check for freshness of meat and produce but like stated above why check for everything when the store has a system to pull expired dry goods and I am on a time limit or Instacart will quit sending me if I am always late, I usually have about 45 minutes to get to a store and shop and about 15 more to get it delivered.

            1. If instacart never told told you not to include the receipt, (which they did in the fine print when you first signed up) that’s because no one has called to complain. Either because they don’t care, don’t mind the extra cost for the convenience, or don’t even look at the receipt.

            2. Instacart most definitely tells you to NOT give the original receipt following check out before delivery, Everytime. While, yes, the original receipt shows the customer a difference in price another issue is that customers have tried to return products to stores and get instacart to refund them. So then they are getting twice the refund. This gets eliminated by not giving the receipt. I have seen several Facebook posts about this issue and customers who think it’s right.

            3. That would be really hard to do, since the shopper uses their Instacart card to pay, and it’s clearly listed on the receipt that it’s an Instacart purchase… I can’t imagine a store refunding a customer directly with an Instacart receipt… they would have them go through Instacart. I have found Instacart more than kind in their customer service… there have been issues where I didn’t request a full refund but they would refund the entire item even for a small issue. Over the last few years, I’ve probably used them over 100 times and yes, I’ve had some issues but they have always been resolved to my satisfaction. Now you want to see upcharge? I made the mistake of getting myself and my sister gift memberships to Shipt last year… that was a whole other ballgame. I know in the beginning there was no upcharge on the groceries through Instacart, and even now I don’t find them exorbitant, but with Shipt I was shocked. And at times, both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Now have had a much higher upcharge.

            4. I use Instacart once a month. I am on disability and don’t drive anymore. I used to pay $3.99 for delivery in 2019 but now they’ve upped their delivery fee to $7.99. And I do tip. It’s definitely a small financial strain because there are also service fees. However, I’m not sure but it seemed like their service fees decreased a little. Anyone else notice that they have doubled the delivery fee in 2020? I.will still still use them in a pinch.

            5. You need to read the help section in the shopper app. You are NOT to give the customer the store receipt. It’s against company policy. They even send me an email stating this when we started shopping for aldi. They get an electronic one. When someone is issued a receipt it should reflect that they paid with their credit card or whatever payment method they used. The store receipt reflects that I as an instacart shopper paid with a company credit card. Therefore. the customer should never get the store receipt.

          3. I totally agree – I had a publix order that was very pricey. Instacart person was excellent and I tipped her well. Then I found the original register tape in the bag and item for item, all the prices were up charged between 50 cents and $2 per item. It literally cost me almost $40 more for these increased prices, plus delivery, plus a good tip. So because I didn’t do my own shopping, it torpedoed my food budget by about $70 more. I was livid. Instacart customer service was very apologetic, said they don’t control the store pricing, but the refunded me $20 credit to keep me happy. So I blame Publix for this. From what I see, other stores don’t do this.

        2. Actually many business models do require a percent from buyer and seller, aution house have this model. Supermarkets are notorious low margin hi waste . So as long as it’s disclosed I don’t mind

        3. It is NOT. A requirement it’s againstpolicy to give the receipt. You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about.

          1. Alot of things mentioned here I had no idea about. I have been working for instacart for a few weeks now. I’m a shopper n a meticulous one. I shop for my customer like I shop for myself. I look at the meats, fruits, vegetables, etc as I do for myself. I think that meticulous nature comes with age. There are young people who may not have the same understanding as a woman of 49 does. I greet every customer, I make sure they’re happy with any changes I make for them. We are timed with every order. My main reason for responding is simply because I give my clients their receipt every time. I had no idea we weren’t supposed to, n never have been told not to. So to read that was very offsetting to me. As a shopper I only speak for me, but for anyone who’s encountered issues with instacart I’m truly sorry. I will say that I believe in quality, trying to shop in a minimal amount of time is fine but I stand by quality over quantity at all times n also believe that as long as my clients are happy with how I shop for them it will overshadow a few extra minutes it may take to give the client the best there is to give and I’ll keep my job because their comments will reflect that.
            Happy holidays to you all.

        4. Publix charges the extra mark up. It is stated on the app. Publix states they have to charge more because they have to pay Instacart for their service.

          I believe I will make up the difference
          because they show me sale items,
          coupons, and BOGO’s.

          I don’t buy a huge order of groceries.
          My husband does main shopping.
          I have used Instacart twice.

          Last minute notice my son and his gf
          were coming over for dinner and I wanted to make Beef Stew. The stew
          meat I could not have picked out any better. The carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes all excellent. The lady that brought my groceries was extremely KIND.

          Second order I was not happy with an item they purchased. They credited my account-no questions asked -and said to keep the item. The “shopper” is to keep
          the original receipt and you can get a digital one on your account.

          I plan to use them to make an impromptu
          meal, or order up some items when my grandchildren are coming over.

          The closest Publix to me is an 18 mile round trip. My favorite one, which is smaller and I know where everything is…28 mile round trip.

          By the time I drive to the store, shop, (get distracted), drive home, put away groceries, I am too tired to cook. I have health problems.

          My children sometimes say they will come by in the evening, or ask me to keep the grandkids at the last minute.
          So this works out well for me.

        5. What a cuck! You sound so entitled. Thats fine, take your ass to the store in a rainstorm and check every label and save $10! When you go to restaurant, do you question the chef who picked your steak out? Or the tip for waitress? Or the cost added for a steak you could have bought cheaper at the store? Its a service. You pay extra. And as a shopper, i find you insulting and i hope i would never get an over picky ,ungrateful customer like you. Oh and giving you the reciept is NOT a requirment.

          1. As a shopper myself, I find it very disrespectful and unprofessional to lash out at the customers for putting their opinion out there. The people adding their opinions on here may actually be helping you do your job by pointing out the issues that InstaCart could possibly made an effort to fix.

        6. Actually, the shopper is not supposed to give the customer the receipt, so yeah, she was either being nice giving it to you, or new and didn’t know not to. The person using Instacart to get their groceries gets a receipt in-app or by email.

          I am a full service shopper, which means I shop AND deliver. All on my dime. Instacart pays me $7 per order, plus .60 a mile between the customer’s house and the store.

          That being said, I do a thorough job. I wouldn’t pick an item for a customer that I wouldn’t pick for myself. And I’m VERY picky when it comes to things like meat, dairy and produce. I’ve been late on orders many times just make sure I got the freshest (insert item name).

          I also make sure I go to the closest store to the delivery address (because those aren’t always the ones selected) to make sure a customer’s items remain as close to their original temp as possible, which means I sacrifice mileage pay.

          And yet, with all that in mind, I still wouldn’t order with Instacart because of how crappily I get paid so I know how crappily the other shoppers get paid. I had an order for 24 32 packs of water, and 16 24 packs of soda. This was back when Instacart would add heavy order pay after the order. Guess how much I made for that order? $10. And that wasn’t all that I had to get for that order. I had to leave my kids car seats at the store in their break room just to fit everything. And because of the water and soda, STILL had to make 2 trips. Didn’t get mileage pay for the second trip, either. They basically “oh well’d” me and I didn’t get heavy order pay either.

          Many people (as you’ve noted) either can’t shopping for themselves, or use Instacart for the convenience, but I would rather drag my kids kicking and screaming than put another penny in Instacart’s coffers. I only shop for them because it makes it easy while I’m getting my degree, and I can spend time with my kids while they’re young.

          1. I am also a shopper and deliverer. The pay that you are putting out there is incorrect. You get paid the tip, per mile, for the batch in general, and you can make an extra $3 just to get a perfect rating. I have yet to see a batch that was as low as $10. Kudos to you for shopping at the store that is closest to the customer, but that is not available to everyone. We are actually supposed to have company approved insulated bags that keeps food hot/cold!

          2. Yea,

            I am not understanding what people are complaining about on the prices.. it shows you what you by, and the price, per item, in your cart on the app or website.. how did they order? Did they not look at what they were buying and the price.. it shows you the item, item price, and when YOU , mr customer, pick your deliver time, it shows you the fee for that time slot, it also shows you the tax, tag and title… it’s all broken down for you, before you hit purchase.

            In the year I been using it, I have never got a receipt.. don’t need one, it’s on the app, and I can go back to history and see them all

            These people are confusing me as I go read down the comments.. amazing

            As I said in my other post , that I just made,, never had a bad delivery person/shopper in over a year, since I been using all the delivery services.

            It sucks to not have a car, but having these types of services is wonderful and there are more companies doing it now.. target does it and thank God we got more food delivery’s then just Pizza now

        7. All I know is that, due to a circumstance, I have become physically unable to shop..at all.
          When my shopper starts my order, and I either use Publix or Kroger. Kroger is generally cheaper but Publix generally has more things I want because their prices are at higher by about a dollar an item. Therefore, it seems more people shop at Kroger and they are more likely out of what I want more often..
          Moving on….I instantly start a chat with my shopper. I walk through the shopping experience with the shopper. I tell them exactly what I will and will not accept for replacement. Within the app there is an option for replacements. I always choose the ‘do not replace’ option and put in the comments to ‘check with me before replacing anything’. On every single item I comment to ‘not get Any item at all that expires within two weeks.’ I put it on every single item I order. Whether it is packaged meat or a can/bag of beans or a package of cheese of half&half.
          I don’t trust my shopper to pick out my meat. And generally don’t trust them to pick out my produce. I have a friend that lives close that I have pick those things up for me because I also have a special diet.

          As far as paying more, it’s not about who is rich and who is poor. It’s about what you choose to spend your disposable income on. If it’s convenience, so be it. If it is going to a movie or going out to dinner instead of buying groceries, so be it. If it is buying video games or cigarettes, those are all personal choices -And no one should be berated for choosing to spend their money on one over the other.

          So far the worst experiences that I have had is the STORES not having the correct items in stock. It blows my mind every time a shopper tells me they don’t have my product. I live in Bellevue. My shoppers shop at Publix on Highway 70 or Kroger at Highway 70/OHB. Kroger has gotten very very very busy lately. So they run low on everything all the time. So it is just something that I have come to understand before I choose my order.
          The first 10 or so times I was told they were out of the items, I actually called the store to check on the shopper! And the store told me the same thing.

          My shoppers for the most part have been extremely nice. They have been very capable. And Keeping in constant contact with them, they are more invested… they will take pictures of the items that are available if something is out of stock. And I will send him a picture of what I’m wanting from my fridge if they need it.
          If I ask them to check with the stock persons, many times my item is in stock, it just is not out -and they are willing to wait for them to get it.

          That said, I do usually tip double the suggested tip amount Because I appreciate that they will go to that effort.

          My worst experience with a shopper was asking that everything be packaged in paper bags and it was all packaged in plastic. One other time was I had ordered a particular type of soup and I got a different version of what I asked for. Same brand same type of soup just a different version of it. And that only happened once. That’s it. That’s my worst With either Publix or Kroger shoppers.

          I used SHIPT for a while .. pricier, however, if you or a regular grocery delivery patron, and you understand the way Instacart is run versus the way SHIPT is run, it makes sense to use SHIPT.
          UnFortunately, I had a disagreement with their management and went to Instacart.

          If you want to use this service, just be practical for your own self about it. Figure out what you’re willing to spend for the convenience. And figure out what you will and will not let someone else pick out for you to go in your refrigerator or your pantry. It’s pretty much that simple.

          I think that Instacart works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. And some parts of it work for some people and other parts don’t work for those people.

          That’s my 2cents.

        8. That is incorrect. The receipt is for instacart’s purchase of the items they are selling you from the website. Your credit card had not been run until 3 days later. There was a hold on it. The shopper has a credit card they use to purchase your items at checkout. You are not directly purchasing from the store. That is not your receipt. Sorry.

        9. I ordered 4 bananas yesterday.. In the
          Instructions box I said I wanted organic
          With a little. Green on them. I got
          PERFECT bananas. Be precise what you want.

        10. Just an FYI on some of the post and things that are being assumed

          I agree , a little, on the price surcharge.. it does stink that you have to pay higher prices AND a delivery fee, AND a Tip

          I would be more inclined to give a better Tip if the prices were not so high.. yes, I Know we’re taking about driver vs company, but I’m also talking about my wallet… but it is what it is

          As for the shopper,,, I know that Instacart rocks if something was wrong… I mean take care of the customer,, I had a few things happen and each time, it got taken care of,,,, for example, when the shopper starts shopping, you get text alerts.. I got an alert that the driver would be here, let’s say 5pm-515pm, at 430 I got a text that said the driver was now at the store doing shopping, at 432 I got a text that said “your order had been delivered”, now, I know this had to of been some sort of app problem, like the driver hit the wrong button, but I was kind of worried, I called up Instacart and said “hey, were is my order, I got a text that said it was here and it’s not”, thu apologized and said we will credit your $75 back to your account, and bam, it was back,,, they credited the whole order (my order showed up about 40 mins later.

          Then they did the same thing on another order I had an issue with.. credited it all back.. now, it’s twice in about a year but the story is, they take care of there customers.

          It’s really not that bad, if you can get over the prices…

          I can also say, I Have had a 100% success rate with all the drivers.. never once a bad driver, in over a year. And that with Instacart delivery and Walmart delivery.. haven’t used target yet, but have used a few others stores.. never had any issues with drivers ( they are not like taxi drivers..lol)

          1. If you can’t afford a luxury service, DON’T USE IT! In other words, if you can’t afford to pay the person who drives to the store, shops for your groceries, bags them, loads them in their car, and delivers them to your door step, a 10-20% tip, you can’t afford the service and need to get your ass up to the store yourself or find someone you know to do it for you (good luck with that). Instacart shoppers do more than a server does in a restaurant, and on their dime with crappy pay, but you wouldn’t think of tipping a server any less than 20% For good service or else you choose not to eat out, right? People who use Instacart and don’t tip well are taking advantage of workers who have no other choice but to take shit paying jobs because at least it’s something. It’s a first world sweat shop.

            1. I want to tip 20%, but do I do that on top of the 5% driver tip that is added to the order?

            2. During COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not just a luxury service. For many. it’s a necessity. 

        11. Spoken from ignorance. As a previous shopper, Summer is accurate. No need to judge her option as it is more of a fact. You are terribly mis-informed. It is a policy not to give the receipts. That shopper was nice to give it but also violated a policy. As you, stated in the article that these are the reasons you dont shop this way. But many people do shop this way with the same mis-information. Justifying not taking tipping because they don’t want to pay the person shopping for them.

          1. Just because something is “policy” doesn’t mean it’s right.

            I can’t tell you how many class action lawsuits from service providers I’ve read about because someone was upset about a “policy” and brought it to the attention of a lawyer to look into.

            1. It is the policy. If someone has a problem they need to take it up with the company. Not the shopper. Again, they were nice to give a receipt to a customer because they were not supposed to. Not up to the shopper to violate policy.

            2. The same is true for the shoppers. If their compensation is lacking because Instacart takes more than its share and has vague and confusing fee structures, they need to take that up with the company they signed on to work for instead of blaming their customers. 

        12. I am just starting as a shopper, my goal is to make the customer happy with their shopping experience. I will always shop for others like I am shopping for myself. I guess after reading all of this, will I even make any money doing this as my second job?

      2. Well said i couldn’t say it any better I’m a InstaShopper and I know how both side of the fence feels. The way I look at it. If you feel you can’t trust a company that’s trying to serve you then don’t use them. I have great feedbacks only because I shop like I was shopping for myself.And most of my customers are not fortunate to shop for themselves. And some just don’t have the time.And That .40 cents per item more that person is complaining about .might wanna know it just cover the wear and tear on car with the hope gas is cover we only get paid$3.85 tips is what we count on.I was a waitress in New York we count on our tips not the $2.00 an hour that you get from your boss.So unless this person ever know what’s it like to serve and work for nothing maybe she should serve and not expect to get paid.And not to mention there’s 4 different fundraising I’ve voluntarily do to support this year alone.Thanks Summer for being so understanding all thou can’t speak for shoppers who don’t know what they doing shouldn’t be there.They either learn thru their mistakes and become a better shopper.customers are always right most of the time,lol. Thanks,sandy

        1. So, Sandra, if you found that a company was shady or wasn’t totally up front, or even didn’t follow through on stated promises, you would sit there and keep your mouth shut? Sorry, I doubt it.

          But, instead of doing what most people do–running to every platform and irrationally crying and making zero sense because–I presented it in a way that gives potential customers a non-biased, rational view of the service. Yeah, I know, strange thing to find on the internet.

          Now, if you would have READ the article–again, I know, something not common these days–you would have seen that it wasn’t just the price differential, or just the shoppers, or just any one thing. It was everything IN TOTAL plus the practice of hiding the information while making it difficult for potential customers to find out exactly what their actual costs will be.

          And don’t make assumptions (you know what they say about those who assume)…I’ve worked delivering Chinese food and newspapers in high school and barback in college–all tip-based jobs. So, yeah, I do get it 😉

          1. Do you get the receipt from the food distributing company that supplies your grocery store with food? Ummm Nopers there’s your answer!

            1. Apples and oranges.

              A retailer purchasing the products for sale direct from the distributor/manufacturer is much different than a service simply picking up the retail product from the store.

              Nice try though ?

            2. The simplest explanation is Instacart is a grocery reseller. You don’t get the receipt because we didn’t use your credit card shopping your order we use instacarts credit card. When you order through instacart you use your credit card on instacarts site. So you get an instacart receipt. Why do you think your entitled to get the store receipt when your credit card was never even used inside the store.

            3. Thanks for your insight Peter!

              While I don’t necessarily agree with that point I understand where you’re coming from. To me, Instacart is a shopping and delivery service more than a reseller. But that is like someone looking at an “non-burger” with one calling it a veggie patty and the other calling it a veggie burger.

            4. I like Walmart Grocery. I paid $100 for one year free delivery. Their prices are the same as in store, no service fees, upcharges, etc. Their selection is better than Instacart and Amazon’s Prime Now.

          2. I happen to see in a couple of you’re comments you think it’s absurd someone who orders from InstaCart has to create an account. I find that slightly hypocritical considering in order to receive newsletters regarding starting their own business(something of that nature) from you, their email address has to be given to you. Would it be possible to just post the newsletters on you’re website? Why does it have to be emailed?

            I briefly read over a small amount of you’re website and it sounds like you know you’re stuff, but $700 to take a class for the best information, seems a bit high to me. Just because you are “the best of the best” go to resort if someone wants to start their own business, doesn’t mean it is 100% guaranteed. My uncle had no idea how to start a business, run it, be the president etc, but he figured it out on his own. He is now a multi-millionaire of a pharmaceutical company. I don’t know if you have this info on you’re website or not, but I would be curious of the amount of people that took the course and became successful.

            I am an RN and until I find the right job that suits my family, I do Instacart on the side. It is just something to keep myself busy.

            I hope I am not coming across as rude, but based on you’re posts, you seem angry at the company itself.

            1. Hello Marie.

              I guess you can say that I am “angry” but in the same sense that I am angry about bloggers not presenting all of the info to the readers, or “experts” pushing their one-size-fits-all solution to whatever the problem is that they address. It’s all about transparency and not being shady.

              As to the point about the email newsletters, it’s not really apples to apples–for the majority of blogs (including my own) you can read all of the content without having to give anything. The newsletter part is generally for “bonus” or “exclusive” content as well as to be kept in the loop about new content or things like promotions/giveaways. You aren’t required to give your email address to read the articles which give a hell of a lot of info for free if I do say so myself. But in the case of Instacart you actually have to create a full account before you can see what it’s all about–granted there are some other sites like that but I’ve never had a real interest in those so I never wrote abut them. And again, for the majority of retail sites you don’t have to give any information to browse the selection or pricing up front unless there are legal issue like with banks but then you just need to give just your state or zip code to see everything that applies to you.

              I think you may have missed one point on the course pricing–that $700 price-point is for personal 1-on-1 training in addition to the course itself. The course on its own is only $197.

              Lasty, no, you aren’t coming off as rude at all.

        2. it is not just .40 per item more…let’s be real i was uncharged $4-6 on most of the stuff from costco – what a freaking joke…it was a switch and bait if you ask me..they said express for $149 per year is free delivery – well there is nothing free about it… Had i not been nickled and dimed on fees i would have actually gave them a tip but its my understanding that nice service fee is what they get. my bill was estimated at $300 then i got a final charge for over $400 and that is just wrong.

          1. The service fee doesn’t go to the shopper. We get a small number based on the market. For example, I shop in Las Vegas. I get $7 per order plus .60 per mile. Then I get a tip, if the customer chooses. Not to mention, Instacart steals a portion of the tip. I have one customer I deliver to regularly who stopped tipping in-app because their tip was always sliced. She put a flat amount. Usually double digits close to $20. On my end, I’d see $10 or less. We compared screens a few times, and after that, she now tips all her shoppers cash.

            1. I am appalled. Is this true everywhere? I tip online because I didn’t know if the drivers were allowed to accept tips in person.

            2. Yep, i had read about the tipping issue, un-checked the tip or svc. fee, and gave the shopper that delivered cash. It was my first time using Instacart and I loved it ! I don’t shop often enough to be a Instacart Express member though, and really don’t understand the difference. The 10-15% higher hold in my bank account was upsetting, found out that was on Instacart’s side, not my bank’s. How does 81.70 total come out as being deducted as $100 in my bank? Hmm, must be an error in my calculator…hah

          2. This is still happening a year later after this post. I was charged over 18% more for each item. I had no clue I was being charged this amount extra on the items. I thought that I was paying a service fee and delivery charges for the SERVICE that Instacart provides for allowing you to shop online and have items delivered.

            I understand Instacart needs to make money, but hiding that money in each item you buy is despicable. Especially, if you don’t disclose this at checkout or the difference per item and warn customers with more than, “Oh… well it says it on a link when you hover over the name of the store, then click here, look there and read the fine print.” It’s almost 2020 and transparency has been such a huge deal in the media so why is it ok for Instacart to use deceptive practices? The majority of the population won’t read the fine print. The expectation is that you are paying normal prices for items and paying a SERVICE fee for the SERVICE.

            Charge us A FEE for using the service. Why should Instacart make more for every item you buy? The shoppers should be getting that extra money. Do you really think Instacart is paying shoppers what they are worth? Heck no, just like all companies that become corporate, the more customers pay, the profits go straight to the top to a bunch of CEO’s that sit on their asses, and not to the hard workers at the bottom.

            I had been using Instacart for years and had NO freakin clue they were charging me more for everything until today when I noticed that the Thanksgiving dinner from Costco had the price stuck right on it. Then looked at what Instacart charged and it was $6.58 more!!! WTH! So then I checked the other items and found they were charging $3-$7 more PER ITEM! This adds up to a HECK of a lot more than $10.

            The fee should not change based on total amount spent. There should be a SMALL service fee for the use of the online service. Instacart’s workforce is minimal compared to the shoppers it utilizes to make their billions. It doesn’t cost Instacart more if I was to spend $100 or $200. Most of the work is handled by servers (computer servers), The ones that deserve to make the billions is the shoppers which is about 99% of their workforce, NOT the CEO’s that are less than .01% of the company and just sit their making STUPID policies like not disclosing true prices – so they can make more money. If they would be honest and just charge a specific and reasonable fee, they would gain way more market saturation, make more money and make customers happier knowing that Instacart is being up front and honest and FAIR.

            I want to chose to spend $10 on a service fee or not for a service rendered, Instacart should be paying it’s shoppers MINIMUM wage at LEAST and then based on that shoppers work ethic, get better tips. There will always be those type of people that gip hard workers out of a good tip, but most people will tip well for good service. I would much rather give Instacart a $5 service fee and the shopper a $10 tip than vice versa because quite honestly, that’s how it should be. Instead, respectively, Instacart would get $12 of that $15 and the shopper would get $3. This is hypothetical and just trying to get across a point, it’s not supposed to be exact or even near it. Just saying that the people that deserve our money the most are getting the HUGE raw end of the deal.

            I understand that a service costs money. I understand that employees need to get paid. But all that extra that we pay per item does NOT go to the employees, it goes to greedy unethical jackasses at the top. Be honest, transparent, ethical and FAIR and you will make a much better honest buck and customers will love your company and not hate it as most do. It’s a LOVE-HATE relationship that most people HATE to love. Loving, meaning that they either need or want the convenience enough. But a WIN/WIN is the best business ethic, not WE RIP YOU OFF/HAHA.

            I don’t argue with paying ONE fee for A service and knowing what that fee will be up front and deciding if I want to pay that to use the service. I am totally FOR paying shoppers way the heck more than they get paid and would/do contribute with higher tips for those that deserve them. I have had good and bad shoppers. So there can be a range of quality of service but I still think they should at least get minimum wage.

            Thanks Eric for your insight and somewhere to post my point of view. I appreciate that you constantly state how it’s YOUR opinion and YOUR bias based on YOUR lifestyle and that everyone is entitled to their opinion and views. Although, when it comes to charging extra per item, there’s no correct opinion other than UNETHICAL and DECEPTIVE.

        3. The amount that you claim for your tip is wrong. I just did a batch an hour ago and got almost an $8 tip. I made almost $30 for just one delivery.

      3. I am the shopper too. I suggest you collect the shopper and go on strike. Look, you and I work for Instacart. So, Instacart should paid fair. Not just Delivery commission $4.10. And don’t worry because Instacart isn’t going down alone all the partner too.

      4. I agree, I use the service due to health issues and my mobility. It is a little extra but it really takes a load off when I am unable to stand long and in pain. My shoppers are always professional and nice and they always leave the receipt which is a plus. I will continue to use the service.

        1. I must say that the concept of grocery delivery services reminds me of the early days Of cable television and cellular communication. in the beginning those companies that provided a service, not much different than instacart, Went thru a learning curve. That’s to be expected. Additionally, more competition will enter the marketplace. And it is then that consumers will be heard! Gone are the days of contracts which were considered customary in the early days of Telecommunications. it has now spilled over into almost every aspect of the consumers purchase Power. If you put in a security system in your home, gone are the days of contracts. the average price quoted now to monitor a house , $15 a month. 10 years ago that price was unheard of! the grocery delivery service industry like any other industry is going to have Growing Pains! cream always Rises to the top. Competition will almost always Ensure that the best customer service is protected and rewarded!

    3. They overcharged me big time, and several times on my debit card, and I had to shut it down and get a new ATM card to stop them charging for products, that I never recieved, and if they would give a credit, it was a store credit for future purchases. They will come to your home before the stated time, and customer service had one guy so super condescending, making noises, and interrupting me, as I tried to cancel tge free delivery app. I always use Peapod, because they charge what is on your bill. Please do not use InstaCart, for they are dishonest, greedy, and crooked.

      1. Agree. I worked for Instacart as a Shopper. They are really dishonest, greedy and crooked. I myself will never use Instacart. Why? They say the shopper look for the best for you. They only give shopper 120 seconds (seriouly they count time as seconds) to find the item you order and grab it. So, they have don’t have time to find the expire date. What they are looking for is the barcode that they have to scan and move on.

          1. I see Jen’s point, but I’ll have to agree with Jay, the shopper. From the Shopper videos I’ve been watching on YouTube it seems that Yes, you are Timed, but it doesn’t really affect anything.
            A lady who was a Top Shopper with many bonuses said that they’re only trying to “encourage” you to go Fast. But you can still take your time and pay attention to your orders, and you’ll still make the same money. (eventually you’ll naturally get faster).

        1. I have never been given a time limit for each item. I shop at my own pace. If you shop slow, then it gives you tips on how to improve your time. I do quality shopping in the amount of time that they give me.

    4. I got the receipt from my shopper also. I was a little put out saying that you try it for free for 2 weeks. I had a $12.00 increase. But I will tell you that my shopper did an excellant job. Items were what I ordered. Still a little funny about someone picking out my meat. I wished I had known of the service two months ago. I underwent two knee surgeries and its not fun trying to ride one of those scooters or limp thru the store.

    5. This happened to me today I placed my 3 rd ordee today and driver left original reciept in the bag and i saw im paying $10 more than if i just went to the store so skrew them will not be ordering ever again and cancelling my monthly subscription. They never get the order right I asked for pork they brought beef, wanted 1 % milk they brought 2%, wanted regular juice they brought diet. Seems small but its for my picky child who wouldnt eat or drink those items. I ask for fried chicken they brought a mini rotisserie chicken. They knock and ring your doorbell like the police whem they leave your order or they dont knock or ring at all. I didnt mind paying $10 a month since I dont drive and have a toddler paying for lyft would cost me that $10 going one way and trying to carry groceries upstairs with a toddler is hectic and multiple trips but to pay an extra $5-$10 on every order is going to add up and be equivalent to me just going to the store getting the exact item and us getting some fresh air and some excercise.

      1. The not following instructions or communicating with you about substitutions is absolutely wrong. The delivery people here have been wonderful about everything. I don’t understand quibbling about the price, though. This is a business. They aren’t a friend or neighbor who owes you a favor. They aren’t doing it as a public service or for their health. Why would they shop for you, drive, deliver your groceries upstairs in multiple trips, for a month, for only ten dollars? I live far enough out and sometimes need the help bad enough to be grateful I can get it.

      2. Truthfully, I do not know how this is possible. If the correct item is not chosen, then the shopper app will not allow the shopper to purchase that item. If the item cannot be found, then the app gives you suggestions to replace it with. The customer can also put in what their selection would be if the actual item that they want is not available. If the shopper picks an item that is not on the list, then the customer is alerted of the change and can make a selection to deny the replacement. The customers can keep up with their order each step of the way. The customer can literally watch as the shopper selects the items, checks out, and leaves the store. If you are not satisfied, then inform the company. The shopper actually makes less money if they do not receive a good rating.

    6. if They don’t charge you a simple 10 dollars how do you expect them to pay the people that are actually shopping for you?

    7. I agree I spent 200 on instacart they were out of many things and I look at charges in bank statement I got a charge for 235 I and I dont know how they were able to charge more afte to my card anyways but they did so I was missing about 50 worth of items and charged 35 more the. Then initial payment in site I was given and none to call that can help me with it at all total RIP of

    8. I used Instcart and was very happy with them. As for the difference in prices, Publix tells you up front that they will be slightly higher to cover their cost. They have to pay them a fee to do this. Also they include a tip unless you added one to your cart and instacart has a fee of $10.
      If you are able to go to the store yourself, by all means do so, but pleace take the precautions suggested, ie rubber gloves and masks.
      I for one am not able to go to the store. I have been told by my doctor to stay home as I am over 80 and have COPD and there are many others like me.
      As far as I’m concerned, Instacart is doing a good and much needed job.

    9. Yes but you have to realize that the person shopping for you has to get paid no one works for free got it.

    10. I received the same experience, yet due to the virus I can’t get a delivery date soon enough so I cancelled my subscription

  2. Customer service deserves 5 stars. Not so the shoppers, which in one case left out 12 items with a value of about $50. You have to be very alert. Shoppers selections are not always the best but this is what you get for not doing you own shopping. Finally, my card will not get accepted and they cannot explain why, so I cancelled. Online mess up apparently. Too many problems. No more instacart but I will continue searching for a better alternative as home delivery can be very useful.

    1. That definitely sounds like way too much hassle to put up with Maria!

      Hopefully, you’ll find a better alternative in your area or at the very least one that you can live with until a better option comes along.

  3. Each of these are legitimate concerns but they are ill founded and I can explain why.

    1. Shoppers are held to high accountability for their purchase decisions. It is incumbent on the customer to engage the shopper through the app and provide guidance when items are not available or otherwise not what the customer ordered.
    2. Pricing is set via the contract with the vendor, not by Instacart. In many cases the pricing is the same as in store pricing, but not always. It is clearly disclosed on the site.
    3. Instacart Express members have the ability to shop at multiple stores without ANY delivery fee. (Purchases must equal $35 or more at each location)

    1. Hey Robert, thanks for replying!

      I’d have to disagree with you based on principle and in fact, specifically:

      1. I shouldn’t have to hold their hand during the shopping process. Sure, in the case of an unavailable product it’s not on the shopper, but I shouldn’t have to be in continual communication to guide them on how to make sure items are fresh/ripe or to make sure they buy the right variety of product.

      2. The website itself states that on items priced higher, it is indeed Instacart which adds a mark-up to the already-set retailer price.

      3. Express isn’t a solution for people like me. As I said in the post, it doesn’t apply to the store I shop at, and the store that it does work with, my bill doesn’t normally reach the $35 minimum to get the free delivery.

      I do appreciate the thoughtful and real response!

      1. I’m a Shopper and I will tell you that I like my customers to respond in the app to approve any replacements or refunds because we get rates. If we don’t get what they give us bad ratings. I like to try and get 5 star rating from all my customers and most of my customers appreciate the communication. As far as the expiration dates go. Instacart hires some really bad shoppers and when they start, Instacart tells them it’s all about speed so that’s why these shoppers don’t check. Most of us veterans that have been doing this for a cpl of years actually care and do check and take our time. It’s going to get worse now because Instacart has decreased our pay by 40% and wants us to work for $3 an hour. They have taken all of our commissions away and it’ll be based on justctips and if we have tobregund our customers, they’ll take it out of our tips. Instacart shoppers are now on a national strike because of it andcright before the holidays.

        1. Each batch that I have done I have made at least $12 off of and have never shopped more than 1.5 hours. The only thing that they have involving $3 is a tip that is given for being given a 5 star rating.

          1. You keep saying that. But thats your area. I regularly get 7 dollar batches. Different zones pay different. When i did it in the valley i always had at least 10 dollar orders. So please quit correcting other shoppers on their experience. I have done this for years now and i can say most of the people you’re correcting, i have dealt with what they’re saying or seen it. The area im in now i make a lot less than where i was before. I myself have even had a low paying batch like the lady who had to make 2 trips. The difference that made it a low paying high volume order was that it is multiple of the same item. They pay well if it was different items, but because they pay by item not unit you get j types of theseipped if theres 5 waters versus 5 different brands of water or 5 cases of coke versus 5 different flavors of soda. Just be happy you apparently have not encountered these, but it doesn’t mean other shoppers aren’t.

      2. You can put a not under the item when you order it. The note stays in their each time you order the item unless you remove it. Some customers do put in notes like want green bananas or want ripe avocados.

        1. I write a note that says I will increase the gratuity after a delivery of the correct items. When putting together my order, I write a note for each and every produce and deli item. We are vegan so I don’t have to worry about meat and dairy. I write what I want my produce to look like, what it can’t look like and if that’s all there is then don’t buy it, and what expiration dates are acceptable. I choose in advance what substitutes are okay and for every single item I do not want substituted, I include “do not substitute.” Then as the shopper scans in substitutes, I click “accept” as she goes (they’re always females). I don’t know why that is necessary when I have already provided the substitution information, but that’s the system Instacart provides for the shopper and me so I cooperate for their sakes, in case they need me to do it for some reason. 

          Instacart does not explain how the entire process works, so the very first time I placed an order, I did not know I was supposed to be in touch with the shopper while she shopped so I got some old produce and substitutes I did not want, but after that I figured out my part and it never happened again. 

          I would rather it was like back in the day when grocery stores delivered groceries themselves. Way back in the day they paid local teenagers to deliver to locals. I wouldn’t be surprised if shoppers and delivery people would make more on tips alone and a flat service fee for shopping than they do working for Instacart. 

          1. “I would rather it was like back in the day when grocery stores delivered groceries themselves.”

            When the hell was this? I never encountered a delivery option offered by either grocery stores or companies like Instacart. Before the advent of Instacart, Shipt, Amazon Fresh (formerly Amazon Prime Now), Amazon Pantry, and Amazon’s general site, the closest things were: Meals on Wheels, delivery services by small subways/Chinese food outfits, and regular shipping and delivery services (if the food items were non-perishable, such as cereal or canned vegetables).

            I have no clue what fully disabled and homebound people relied upon, as I just don’t remember ANYONE offering delivery services even at exorbitant prices for the general population. This world has just been an inaccessible jungle for us disabled recluses, prior to ~2014-2016. You had traditional cab services who MIGHT get a guy there EVENTUALLY, and NOTHING else. If you needed someone to acquire items on your behalf, you had to get family or friends to venture there and select for you. Even if you COULD get to a store, if you lacked a vehicle, good luck hauling a decent stockpile of food back home via public transit (worse still, on foot)- double fun if it was summer.

            I would probably just elect to kill myself if I had to countenance going back to the pre-Modern Era without Lyft/Uber/Instacart/etc.

            1. Back even in the 1970s and 1980s, small grocery stores routinely delivered. My mother would walk to the store to shop and then wait back home for the delivery time. They would do a bunch of deliveries at once. Her cousin would even just phone in his order.

              Back in the 1950s and into the 1960s, it was normal for department stores and such to deliver. People would go to the stores on the bus and shop, then their purchases would be delivered later in the store’s truck. Individual vendors delivered items such as bread, dairy, eggs, locally grown fruit & veg in the summer. People had metal boxes on the porch for the dairy and egg deliveries, which were done in early morning before many people were up. I’ve heard that even one potato chip company routinely delivered their chips in big metal containers…. Not to us, though!

              Many people did not drive, my mother was in her late 30s before she learned. By the time I was in high school, everybody took Driver’s Ed around the age of 16. Women driver jokes by comedians stopped after that, when the insurance companies realized that young women were a safer bet than young men on the road once they were taught to drive at the same time. Mother Nature gives us impulse control sooner on the average….

              I had deliveries myself much later from the pet store for litter and food and office supplies (self-employed). When they stopped, I had to go to mail order for such things as well as paper products for myself. No car and can’t really carry all that. I don’t care what kind of jerk Jeff Bezos is, Amazon has been truly a godsend for people like me.

              Deliveries from groceries started to make a comeback some years ago, before general services like Instacart. There is really a need for it. Local stores lost a lot of my business when they stopped delivering.

        2. I use those notes extensively to indicate ok substitutions (I have special dietary requirements so they can’t guess, I have to check labels carefully before ordering anything). When they start shopping, I tell them to check the notes for such info and so those subs are pre-approved. I feel kind of like it’s overkill but it really helps if I can’t respond quickly or if the network itself is slow (which happens). Also I can tell them what kind of bananas I prefer (not too ripe if possible), what’s ok and what’s not ok, if brand matters or not, etc. The things I use myself to decide what to get if I’m shopping. They’re not mind readers.

    2. I just tried it at. Outcome for the first time. I am older now, and it is harder to carry thr heavy products, and it takes an hour to get there. Additionally. One does not need a membership to order from there. We will see. It is s. It primer. But on balance, it appears to be a better option at Costco, at least

    3. The delivery fee is less than the service charge, so free delivery is no big whoop. 
      Now, in 2020, using it because of COVID-19, there is a mandatory service charge that is a percentage of the total grocery bill, plus the delivery fee, plus a heavy items fee if one orders a certain amount of things like bottled or canned water or soft drinks. If one orders alcohol, there is also an additional alcohol delivery fee (why?). When I worked at Costco, Neither I nor Costco were paid more for me pulling those big cases of bottled water off of members’ carts, throwing them on the belt and then putting them back on members’ carts. 

      Between the delivery fee, service charge, higher prices than in-store shopping, and the tip, My groceries always cost between $40-$75 more per delivery than if I did the shopping myself. That really adds up, and most of it doesn’t even go to the shopper. 

  4. #1 if you ever think you’re going to get someone to shop for you, wait in the line, load & unload groceries and then bring them in your home or to your door for no upcharge then you are delusional!

    I’ve done 4 deliveries in my spare time and in each case it was a needed service. Disabled, Newborn with a public servant spouse, very elderly and post surgery. So thank you for spewing garbage and a terrible lead in title to hurt those of us who are out there helping. If you don’t need the service then don’t say anything, obviously you weren’t taught manners as a child; but I do see that you, without a doubt, have a horrific sense of entitlement.

    1. Thanks for the insight Erin!

      Always happy to receive a logical and pragmatic response! Next time I’ll have to remember that if I’m wary about something to just keep it to myself. Hey, and if I find a great way to save time or money I should probably shut up about that too since someone will undoubtedly have a dissenting opinion or opposite experience and we wouldn’t want that now would we? 😉

    2. Yeah, apparently OP has forgotten that it takes time and work to actually provide the service, and it follows that it would cost the user of the service more, the more time/work is needed for a certain order – IE more items bought. God forbid you’d pay more for that, when it makes sense why you’d pay more for that.

      1. Yeah, apparently the commenter has forgotten that reading the entire article is necessary to get the context — IE then they’d see that I’m not opposed to paying for a service, but the way things are marked up on top of tips & delivery fee or membership pricing.

        God forbid someone would take the time to fully consume information when it makes sense that you’d get the whole picture that way ?

        1. If only most people would read what they’re going to comment on, but they don’t. Then there are those who struggle with reading comprehension.  

    3. I have nothing against anyone except the jerk who didn’t deliver my groceries and charged me. Shame on him… and he would have made a $10 tip for delivering $20. of groceries had he shown up.

  5. I recently used Instacart and the shopper left the actual receipt as well. I was charged $70 for groceries that were $42 . It’s not worth it, I won’t be using them again.

    1. 28.00 may have been fair compensation for somebody driving in their person car, shopping for you, and again using their personal car to deliver to you. On top of that instacart deserves to make money for running the company. You are not factoring in what it actually costs to pay and compensate somebody for doing this for you. What do you expect to pay for this? $5.00? Eric said he would be pissed off. Again you and him both want something for nothing. The person doing this job for you deserves to be compensated fairly. I mean take a good look at what you expect here.

      1. You need to take context into account Jennifer.

        No one is saying that they don’t want to pay for someone’s time. Both Monique and I are speaking about the difference in the cost of the items themselves. That’s not what they are suggesting to tip or what the shopper will get, but just the product cost.

      2. Instacart keeps most of that money but Instacart doesn’t actually employ the shoppeRs and deliverers. Instead they’re classified as independent contractors so Instacart does not have to expend resources doing what employers do, like paying at least minimum wage, paying its share of their social security taxes, paying for workers comp and unemployment. No worries about whether to pay for employee health benefits sick/vacation days. 
        It’s a valuable service when it’s needed, but that doesn’t change the fact that Instacart is just an intermediary website run by people exploiting it’s “independent contractors” while gouging customers. It’s no different from Uber and Airbnb. They all do essentially the same thing and they all started off with great ideas that were wildly popular, but then their companies’ honchos ruined them for everyone because of their own greed. 

        The more complex *any* system is, the more you can be sure you’re being gouged and someone is being exploited. 

  6. Hey!

    This was a VERY HELPFUL article. I just signed up for Instacart (through Publix) and am super excited to use the service. I own two businesses, have two small children, and live a little further out than a quick run to the grocery store (they DO deliver to my address, so I got lucky there). However, I was leery from the moment I signed up and saw the disclaimer about the pricing, so I started doing some research; your article came up during that time and hit the nail on the head for my concerns.

    1) I 100% agree that you shouldn’t have to pay for the service AND have an upcharge on each item. The items I’ve researched so far have an average of $.45-$.50 increase on their price tags than what you’ll find in the store. I’d be okay paying a couple of dollars more for delivery if it meant that every item I chose matched the price in the store. That $28 difference, written about above, is ABSURD to me.

    2) I, too, am worried about the selections. I’ve always had this ‘thing’ where I would pull the second or third items from the shelf instead of the first one (in the front) on the shelf. Of course, that’s MY weirdness coming out, but still… I worry about expiry dates, packaging, freshness, ripeness, color, etc. I’m SUPER funny about counts and cost v. reward on brand items, compared to their generic items. For instance, I don’t want to pay $5.49 for a pack of 50 solo cups JUST BECAUSE they are on sale and promoted to me online. If I see a generic, yet quality-comparable item right next to it, I may decide right then and there that the generic is fine because I’m getting the same amount of cups for half the price. When I’m doing online shopping, I can’t make those spur of the moment decisions that might save me money. I mean, I know you don’t go into using this service with the pretense of saving money, obviously, but… it’s just one of those things that, if I were personal shopping for someone, I’d be trying to find them deals all the time. You just can’t get that from random personal shopping sites.

    I honestly have a few more things that concern me. However, I think I’m going to try this service… at least one time. I want to see if it proves me right or proves me wrong, you know?!

    I’ll report back… I’ve done so much research, that my info/notes/comparisons/etc. may be beneficial to you and other people who read your post in deciding whether or not to use this service.

    Thanks for your insight!

    1. Hey Alex!

      I totally get where you’re coming from. I have a thing about trusting online reviews since they are very subjective. That’s why I made sure to never say that this was a “review” and simply laid out facts and concerns I found with proof 😉

      Hopefully, your experience makes it all worth the money and you get to spend more time with family than running the errands!

  7. The service is great. I’ve been using it for about 2 years. I do have to be very explicit about choice selection and replacements though which I’ve learned the hard way. Customer service is exceptional. Drivers are a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, I just made my last purchase. I’ve done Instacart because I’m kinda agoraphobic. Nonetheless, I got ready to make an order this morning to find fees have gone up. I don’t get enough deliveries to do Express. I might order once a month and once extra if a forgot anything. The fee has gone from $5.99 to $9.99. They charge for bags and extra on goods. I have to tip. There is an optional service charge. It is officially too expensive for me. But that won’t dampen my opinion that the service saved my sanity for a few years. I’ll just have put on a brave face now and bear a grocery trip on my own. Maybe all those fees can go to a decent savings account.

  8. I’m back to make a correction. I just noticed my cart totaled $34 and some change. On a hunch, I added more to get over $35. Delivery then went back down to $5.99 from $9.99. I still may have to reconsider for the future however. I just don’t have continued money to burn. Spectacular service though and absolutely no worries about their competence.

  9. How do you think they make their money? Would you go and shop for someone and deliver it to them for free? Good for you that you live close and are self employed so you can save money, many are not as fortunate as you. You are paying for convenience, why is that so difficult to understand?

    1. Thanks for “reading” Mariam 😉

      I’ll make it easy: It’s ok to charge one or the other, the fee or the upcharged prices to account for the service but not both. That’s double-dipping and not cool.

      I also said that while it’s not for me, I don’t think that it’s not beneficial in general. In fact, I specifically stated that it’s ok if you don’t mind the extra cost for the convenience based on having a different lifestyle from me.

      But hey, who actually reads everything, right!?

      1. My service charge was around $5 and my tip was $4. The driver spent an hour between driving to the store, picking up my order and delivering my order. Not sure thaf only charging $9 for an hour of an employee’s time would be a feasible business model especially since you can opt out of the tip. That’s just not a sustainable business model. They are a business which requires a profit margin to cover their expenses to operate. Naturally those want a premium service like a personal grocery shopper should expect to pay a premium.

        And I’ve never had to hand hold as they select produce. In fact, the only question I received was about an item being out of stock (they asked if they could substitute with a similar item). I’ve never had any issues with expiration dates or bad produce. It’s in the shoppers best interest to carefully select items – otherwise they could end up with a low rating/bad review and no tip.

        1. As a shopper, I can guarantee you that your shopper did not receiver 100% of that tip. We also don’t get the service fee. One order I had was over $2000 (in-store, idk what it was from IC) and was delivered to a VERY swanky house on the hills. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to say who it was. I received an incredibly generous tip, (think triple digits) and if it weren’t for that tip, I’d have make less than $20. It also took me almost 3 and a half hours to shop that order, and I’m pretty fast.

        1. Ok Jay, I did some reading and this is what I read: The service fee cannot be waved if you are not an Express member.

          Instacart service fee info

        2. I realize this was 10 months ago, but the fee is no longer optional and is higher than it was “suggested” in the past. The upcharge has also increased. I have been pretty loyal to Instacart for a few years but do feel like it has gotten a little out of hand on the nickle and diming. A year ago, I was ALL IN!! But I hate to say, I’m cancelling my Express membership this month… not to say I won’t use them again but until they reel it in, I think I may be out. Then again, I’ve said that 3 times in the last 6 months LOL

      2. Instacart is not double dipping. It plainly states on the Instacart App that Publix is charging more because they have to pay Instacart for their delivery needs. They are passing that charge onto the customer.

        1. It is double-dipping because they are taking a fee from both ends–the stores are having to upcharge to cover their own IC fees. Like the saying goes “six of one, half a dozen of the other”, either the store does the added fee to pay for IC or IC charges to provide free service to the store–IC still takes from seller and buyer.

        2. If INSTACART wasn’t charging Publix, then Publix wouldn’t have to pass on that extra charge to it’s customers when Instacart is already getting paid for their SERVICE of providing an APP that is a middle man. How would you feel if you found out that Home Advisor was charging you to use their service to find a contractor and that you were being charge a service fee for using Home Advisor and then being charged WAY more for the service because Home Advisor was charging your contractor ON TOP of the service fee they charge you so that the contractor’s work cost you almost 20% more? Let’s say you paid a $100 ‘finder’s’ fee to Home Advisor and then you found out that you were paying $1200 instead of $1000 for the actual work just because of Home Advisor but you didn’t even know you were paying $200 more than the actual price? I know it’s not exactly the same but it’s close enough. The question is transparency and honesty so that the consumer can make an informed choice.

          1. This is actually exactly what happens with things like home advisor or Angie’s list. The service provider (contractor in your example) has to pay a fee in order to be listed with the service, and the consumer usually has to pay to access the list. Not all contractors pass that cost onto the consumer because they consider it the cost of doing business and promotional costs. But when you’re dealing with a service that is selling your products second hand, you want to increase the chances of new customers by listing with the provider.

            Personally I think it’s fair. IC is charging the retailer for the services required to opt into their service with the retailer’s expectation it will bring in more customer volume and pay off in the long run. Including managing accurate pricing, updating sale (and retail) prices which change weekly, and inventory monitoring (or interfacing with the store’s existing inventory software which may be different from location to location even under the same retail name if the store is franchised) to ensure customers are able to find what they are looking for.

            IC is charging the customer the fees for overhead for their customer facing components, such as the storefront, app and server maintenance, customer service employees, and the cut that they pay directly to their shoppers. Plus the databases that link shoppers/drivers to the orders, manage the rating system, and cross-check availability of delivery with different regional markets. Not to mention the cost of cyber security to keep your information private and prevent harmful third parties from taking their service offline.

            I think it’s a way to split the operating costs so the customer isn’t paying for the retailer to participate, and the retailer isn’t paying for the customer to use IC. UberEats, for example, suffers from this. Identical restaurants on UberEats tends to be heavily inflated in cost in comparison to their GrubHub or DoorDash pricing.

            IC is saying the retailer sets the price when they opt in. The retailer doesn’t have to mark up the pricing, and pass it onto the customer. They are, theoretically, increasing their revenues just by participating due to more people having access to the store when they may not use them due to life circumstances, or even distance from the store. They are reaching more people than their standard advertising possibly would, and overall benefitting from opting in.

            Customers benefit when a store opts in because they have a full listing of that store’s products, up to date pricing and sales, and a moderately accurate idea of availability of products (you can never completely be accurate as people shopping the stores may have the items you want to buy in their carts, hence substitution options).

            I think it’s IC putting costs of their service on the bill of who that service applies to. The stores are passing that onto customers, which is indirectly IC’s fault, but not entirely. I also don’t see it as double dipping because they’re charging customers for the overhead for the customer facing services they use, and they’re charging stores for the services that facilitate their ability to participate and theoretically make more money by reaching more customers with the service.

            As far as IC implementing their own upcharges, I would only see this as acceptable with a non-participating retailer where the price IC had available didn’t match with in-store pricing due to outdated pricing or sales information. They are still providing the customer with access to the store that is not a direct opt-in participant. At that point the upcharge makes sense to match the in-store price. But not as an “additional service fee.” That should be part of the base fee to begin with. Only for price discrepancies should upcharges be applied in this case.

            I know I rambled and repeated things a few times but I just wanted to make my viewpoints clear of how I think the company may operate. They are providing one portfolio of services to the customer, and another portfolio of services to the retailer. I could be completely off base as to whether this is actually how they are doing business. But it would make sense to me completely if this is how they were doing things.

            1. Customers do not have access to “full listings” of what is in a store. When I go to my grocery store myself, I have a lot more brands and a wider variety of items to choose from. A lot isn’t available through Instacart. 
              When retailers up-charge so customers are paying more for groceries than they’d pay if they shopped for the same items themselves, customers *are* paying for the retailer to participate. Customers are paying twice, to cover the retailers’ cost of doing business with Instacart and to cover paying for the shopping and deliveries. 

    1. Tell you what Raymond, you use your superior skills and smarts to write one and I’ll publish it with an introduction stating as much 😉

  10. Hi,
    I just started using Instacart because I can never get to Wholefoods and I like their selection of fresh seafood over my normal store. I haven’t noticed a price increase but I also haven’t compared my receipt to physical in store prices so I’d be interested to see if that happens in my case. An interesting note, I’m doing a free trial of express which is free/unlimites deliveries but I noticed you have to physically waive the fee before you finalize your order…I find that shady.

    That said, I’m commenting to respond to your descriptions of dragging kids around and screaming kids. I’ll probably come off as a crazy mom, but I don’t see taking my kids places as “dragging them around.” We actually go to the store and pharmacy to get out of the house sometimes, no screaming involved. I appreciate the article but it’s fairly annoying when people without kids talk about them as if they we parents look for a world in which we never have to leave our house with our kids.

    1. Thanks for the comment Ashley!

      Speaking to the need to waive the fee, it can be viewed as shady but it isn’t unique to Instacart. There are a lot of “trials” that require you to physically cancel before the trial period in order to avoid being charged on a monthly basis. Some even add an additional layer of difficulty by requiring you to call and be faced with salespeople trying to keep you. On that point, I do agree.

      As for the “screaming kids” issue, I’m specifically speaking of and referencing my own friends’ stories, which is explicitly stated in the opening. You aren’t coming off as the “crazy mom” for your views, but I will say that your annoyance at that stereotype is met with equal annoyance by people like me who want to tell people “guess what, your kids aren’t as cute and perfect as you think” lol. It’s just one of those things where you have to take some things with a grain of salt meant for descriptive purposes and emphasis and not a literal meaning.

      1. Waiving the fee is not unique to express members. Anyone who orders through Instacart can waive the fee and it has to be manually waived before completing the order every time. Express just gives you unlimited free deliveries for orders over $35 and has nothing to do with the service fee.

      2. You used to be a kid yourself, so get over it. Children are people, not pets, so they belong out in the world amongst us. Retail stores are not fine dining, movie, or theater establishments so children belong there. Sometimes children act out because they’re children. It’s normal and anyone who has an expectation of being in public spaces without having to be subjected to the various behaviors and needs of other people’s children need to work on their own narcissism. Children have the excuse of being still-developing little organisms. What’s a narcissistic adult’s excuse? 

  11. Eric,
    There are two points in your article I would like to contest so that people are not being lead to prejudge services like this one.

    Disclaimer: I run a small startup that provides an Instacart like service for construction materials.

    “Unfortunately, I had to create an account first, which I also find to be a pain in the ass and don’t really trust sites that don’t let you see how they work without giving over your personal info.”

    I find this to be an unreasonable statement. Prices are determined by location. A service that will give you prices in your local stores requires a location to determine the local prices.

    My second concern is with your aversion to ‘markup’. As a small business owner yourself, I am sure you can empathize with a company wanting to expand its business through profit. Allowing them to expand and offer a valuable service to those that need it.

    A company that provides you a service such as a personal shopper needs to pay them, and themselves. I feel that your opinion does not take the value of the service into account.

    Thank you,
    Jeffrey R. Garand

    1. I appreciate the response and your viewpoint Jeffrey!

      Unfortunately, creating an account shouldn’t be a prerequesite to seeing what’s available. Many (if not most) businesses can present those features just by having the zip code entered. I don’t think having all of my information is necessary to allowing me to assess what I can do with a service that I’m paying for.

      I’m not sure you are understanding my complaint about the markup. I’m not against it IF that is what is paying for the shopper/driver. However, if they are charging a fee–or if you pay a membership fee to get free delivery–then there shouldn’t be a markup. It should be one or the other and not a double-dipping issue.

      I’m all for a business making a profit, but the terms need to be clearly communicated and not hidden in an FAQ page that’s hard to find or sprung on people when they get the bill.

  12. I was about to hit send on my apple pay when I noticed my charge was $70 instead of the $58 listed on the total. I knew there would be a price increase on each item and that was evident. I know my store and their prices. I shrugged it off as you’re paying for the service. Fine. It’s the final tally that made me start looking for more articles and information on this service. Out of that $70 they wanted to charge I had already qualified for free shipping and I hadn’t included tip because I tip in cash. The extras charges totaled up to about $30 dollars extra. Again minus the delivery charge and tip. That’s seriously misleading.
    Thank you for the article. It’s good to know I’m not the only one finding this to be sketchy.

    1. Thanks for reading Kris!

      The problem I see isn’t the premise of the markup itself but the fact that they try to tack it on in addition to the delivery/membership fee. I mean if the company is trying to sell the markup as a way to cover the delivery costs then don’t charge a “delivery fee”, you know?

      Especially in your case it’s a crazy increase!

  13. We use Instacart. I am aware that some items are more expensive than in-store. However, not dragging a two year old and four year old to the store after mommy has been at work all day and they’ve been in child care is worth it! If I worked or stayed at home, I may have a different opinion. I thought your article explained why it wasn’t right for you, which is cool. Not every product is right for everyone. Life would be so boring without diversity! Lately, I’ve been comparing Instacart to Walmart grocery and having two orders. Of course, Walmart requires me to pick it up, but at least we don’t have to get out of the car.

  14. Thanks for the article! I just used Instacart for the first time and loved it. It isn’t going to replace grocery shopping— I’ll still be in the store most weeks— but once in a while, it’s a great service. This week I’m swamped with schoolwork, my husband is swamped at work, we have a little kid, and I just don’t want to spend our last remanining precious hour before bedtime at the store. So I did Instacart from my couch. It was definitely more expensive (by a lot, especially because I gave a generous tip) but it was so, so worth it. I do get my meat from somewhere else, but I am not picky about produce so I didn’t mind what the shopper got me.

    1. That’s great Heather!

      Like I stated a few times, just because it isn’t for me doesn’t mean that it won’t be for everyone, and you are proof of that. Honestly if I was you I’d do that exact same thing in that situation 🙂

  15. Even though I have been using Instacart for Frys for several months, I’m still confused on things. I get the feeling that I should get the same discount sale prices through Instacart that I was getting when I physically shopped. I’m quite sure I’m not getting the same coupons off. What do I do to get those same deals at home. I do think I’m getting a bad deal, price wise, but can’t put my finger in it. I paid for a years worth of delivery, but there are still so many other charges, not easily understood. I’m a disabled senior and don’t have extra charges to pay. I don’t have extra money to be screwed over.

    1. Instacart does not alway honor in store pricing, including specials and sale prices. You can also waive the service fee to save you some money.

      1. Do you get as good a service if you wave the fee? I’m still learning about this. If you waive the fee, but pay the markup, delivery (unless you have a free delivery item) and tip well, are you paying enough to keep the service viable? We’re going to need it a lot in the future.

    2. Sorry to hear that Barbara 🙁

      That pricing issue is something which bugs the heck out of me as well. Unfortunately, it seems to be part-and-parcel with the use of the service.

    1. I live twenty minutes from the stores. So in my case, I think it is a fair cost for the help it is to me.

  16. Very honest article.
    I use instacart. I mainly started using it because Amazon Fresh stopped delivery to my zip code 🙁

    It’s not bad, but sometimes I do not like it.
    I understand they have to charge mroe for serives, but some items are way to high and not worth it unless I need it. It bothers me when I look at items that are on sale, but notice after the shopped picks the items, they were not on sale and more then the price. For example, oreos were on sale, $2 for $6. When the shopper picked those items, they were $5.39 each. Way too high for me. Another issue is if a shopper picks something that is about to expire. For example, I wanted a 4 pack activia yogurt. The shopper picked one that was expiring, priced at a $1.39, and I was charged almost $4. If it was not about to expire, I would not be so upset. Some items are just too much for me to pay for. It also sucks about many of the coupons are not even usable. 🙁

    Now, I use Jet and Google express more often. Occasionally Safeway delivery. They are much cheaper, but take two days. Sometimes Google takes 1 day. I will still use insta cart, It helps when I do not feel well and need something fast. I always tip and communicate with the shoppers. They seem good. Somethings not the best though. Instacart is a good option when you need something fast.

    1. Hi I’m a shopper for Instacart and what I have to say is that I do check expiration dates, it takes me time to pick produce because if you don’t get the fresh ones you’ll get a review as damaged. I’ve seen that in the app when I’m scanning it shows a price that probably is in offer and once I scan it and head to the check out it will show the discount and not the price that originally shows in the app that I’m pretty sure is the one the is shown when the costumer buys soo the costumer at the final will be charged for what you paid for. In your example for the Oreos you said 2 for 6, but you asked for one soo that is problem of the store how they do the offer not an Instacart issue clearly most stores for example say 2 for 6$ one 5$ it depends on each persons what are your needs.

  17. I am currently unable to walk very well, and look at all the delivery options. I live in the greater Chicago area, so have many options. All of the delivery services change extra, or have a large free added in, and from what I saw instacart seems to be on the LOW end of the extra prices. Yes, you need to watch for good offers, but if you are like me, and the fridge is empty and every step results in extreme pain, I feel like that they are a good compromise. Most of the other want a large monthly or yearly fee. I’ve not received a incorrect item, and the few changes they’ve made were either fine with me, or I suggested something else.

  18. The “Service Fee” is basically a way for IC to dip yet a third time. In some areas it is now a mandatory 5-10% and zero of that goes to the shopper. In my opinion, it masquerades as gratuity. IC lost a law suit in 2017 and since that time they have been looking for ways to make more $$ by secretly charging customers more.

    Additionally, IC has put the words, “Do not waive” next to the service fee, however, it can still be waived in some areas if you click the drop down and set to zero. This is on top of the Express or delivery fee and does not include gratuity for your shopper. Very shady indeed! Especially to elderly home bound clients.

    1. Thanks for the input Gina!

      I’m a big detractor of those kinds of fees. Aside from my personal distaste for them, that’s the biggest reason I won’t order pizza from the national chains–I refuse to pay a $3-5 fee just to order online for delivery when none of that is going to the driver and is just another way to squeeze money from the consumer.

      Trust me, I’m all for businesses making as big a profit as they can, but within reason. Don’t try to disguise fees that are pure profit as “necessary” or anything other than what they are. And if you’re having people do a service for which the company is just the go-between, then be stand-up about it and put those fees directly into the drivers’ and shoppers’ pockets.

  19. I’ve used Instacart approximately 5 times in the last year only because I was sick & could not shop myself. But every time I saw that service fee I would cringe. I finally noticed that you could waive it, which is what I have been doing, until they sent an email announcing that it can no longer be waived but has gone down from 10% to 5% for our benefit! Big Deal! I will not be using their service anymore. I’ve read many employees on Yelp who complain that they don’t actually get all of their tips, that’s shameful> I can’t wait for someone else to come up with a better way to deliver groceries, especially to those who really need the service, because sometimes they have to use it.

    I don’t expect Instacart to be around for that much longer because of the way they do business.

    1. Sorry to hear that Mary.

      I know there are a lot of people on both sides but what it all comes down to are your needs and sensibilities. Have a look at the end of the article–I’ve got a few different alternative services you can try if they’re in your area.

      You never know, one of those might be your new go-to service!

  20. I just discovered your blog after having a bad Instacart experience—I used to use them weekly and loved it, when I had a broken foot. I simply could not get groceries simply, and having delivery was a necessity. However, you are absolutely correct that the shoppers can’t pick groceries —milk, eggs, bread have arrived expired. Moldy strawberries, gross spinach. You’re best bet is ordering canned goods, cereals, but as you pointed out even those expire. my latest delivery (and the last) had every single item expired, was an hour late, and had a rude delivery person. Customer service was a nightmare where I couldn’t get them to waive the fees. Not worth it!

    1. That really sucks, Julie!

      Unfortunately, there are people who experience the same thing as you. The good thing is that there are options that you can try in place of IC.

      Check out the yellow box at the end of the article for just a small selection of alternatives and see if any will work for you 🙂

  21. Just FYI, prices are at least $0.40 more on Instacart because the shopper is paid a commission on every item picked of $0.40 (as low as $0.20 in some markets).

    The majority of Instacart’s “profit” is from selling shopping trends and advertising space on their app. They actually have not make a net profit yet though, even after receiving almost a billion dollars in VC funding.

    1. I wouldn’t worry about the profits so much Bob. There are a lot of companies out there with negative or marginally positive profits which have huge valuations and positive outlooks. You can’t really make a direct correlation there because you’re wading into irrational waters 😉

      1. Amazon ran with negative profits for years. It was criticized and pressured by Wall Street for its various customer perks, like free deliveries and keeping its prices lower, because it lost money every year for years. But it was an intentional strategy from the beginning when Amazon was just selling books.

        Amazon (Bezos) refused to cave to the pressure and the strategy worked. Now Amazon is another evil empire (like Microsoft became and then Google), conquering the world, giving Netflix a run for its money, making its own TV shows and movies, even starting it’s own pharmaceutical service, all while allowing so many unscrupulous retailers to sell counterfeit, damaged, flawed seconds, and used-sold-as-new goods on its website that customers must be very careful about shopping on its site. Amazon even ruined its customer reviews model so it isn’t as useful anymore. The website is just a clearinghouse site now between retailers of all kinds and customers, but, doing nothing to ensure only legit sellers are on its site, it’s a major cash cow as the company keeps spreading out into other horizons.

        I’ve been an Amazon customer since its inception, but recently I’ve increasingly been shopping with its competitors or directly with brand websites more often than with Amazon because of all the shady retailers using its site. So many really useful and customer-friendly business models are ruined because of corporate greed, one after the other. It took many years before Amazon was, but the new ones like Uber, Air BnB, and Instacart are ruined at warp speed as soon as they’ve caught on with the public. 

  22. Thanks for your article. So very helpful. I agree with everything! I actually got a lot out of what you shared and i did read the whole thing:). I have been an instacart express member for probably 6 months and really loved it at first. However there has been multiple issues with it. I have had damaged items (and yes they aren’t great at picking produce!), wrong items given to me,been given items i never ordered or have had missing items, many times they are out of items and twice now they said my groceries were delivered when they weren’t. Once i later found out they were delivered to my neighbors and just left on their porch. I guess thats what i get for being too lazy to do my own shopping when there is no reason not to 😉 i will say they have amazing customers service and have always made it right immediately. I don’t like the service charge when im already paying the delivery or express membership and a tip on top of that . I have to always remember to waive it. Now they are making it mandatory so i have decided to cancel. A little sad but i will get over it.. eventually:)

    1. Thank you Cindy!

      As great as the customer service may be (I don’t have any firsthand experience), my preference would be to never have the need to find out in the first place, let alone multiple times lol.

      Don’t be too sad, though…I’ve got a couple alternatives you can try out right before the end of the article in the yellow box. You may very well find your “perfect fit” service 🙂

  23. I spent at least 30 minutes on Instacart’s site attempting to find out what they charge for an Express subscription. It was a futile attempt. I decided to Google the cost. Then before wasting any more time I googled reviews.

    I agree with you about sites that require signing up for an account just to receive information when a zip code alone should be sufficient. I also agree about the double dipping aspect.

    It is unfortunate that it is so hard for people that have a need for this type of service to find one that doesn’t break the bank. I am one of those that is elderly and disabled who finds that going grocery shopping some days is cumbersome. So I will keep looking.

    I hope you will keep writing. 🙂 You saved me a hassle. And for those that take umbrage…ignore them.

    1. Thank you Jacqueline!

      I don’t really mind people having dissenting opinions, as long as they are presented in a way that provides context and benefits others–not just simply saying “you’re wrong” and that’s it hahaha.

      It really does suck that there is such a lack of transparency when it comes to the fees, terms and pricing. heck, even banks give you all of that info up from once you select the region you’re looking at!

      You don’t have to look too hard–there’s a yellow box at the end of the article with a few select possible alternative choices. you may very well find one that is much more to your liking and needs!

  24. I loved Instacart until I got the $149/year membership for FREE delivery, FREE??? I could waive the extra, somewhat hidden service fee on checkout until I bought the membership!!! Now, the service fee is MANDATORY on top of the membership fee. What the heck is the difference! Screw the members!! If I order $100/week at oh a great bonus 5% vs 10% service fee (which really could be 0% before membership) then I’m paying an extra $260/year for FREE delivery annual membership!!!!!! They won’t last unless they change their practices of screwing good customers,

    1. I totally understand your frustration Lori 🙁

      Not only is it difficult to even find that membership information, the company even make it *mandatory* for certain “Express Only” locations however those locations aren’t spelled out.

      Unfortunately, I doubt the company will have any worry about existing going forward. Some people just don’t care, and I’m sure many of the investors won’t care unless revenues start reversing direction!

      The good thing is that there are plenty of other options depending on your particular needs and I’m sure more will start popping up too.

  25. I work for a different delivery service. I can’t speak for all shoppers because I’m sure there are a lot of terrible ones, but I do check dates and freshness. Honestly, a majority of the time all the stuff on the shelf is from the same case and has the same date. Dairy is a little different. As for the pricing: They are a business providing a convenience. They have to pay the shoppers an amount that makes people willing to work for them and also make a profit as a company. You’re insane if you think a delivery fee or subscription fee will cover that. Why are milk and eggs expensive at a convenience store or gas station? You don’t have to make another trip if your willing to pay. It’s almost the same concept. It’s a luxury for most, not a necessity, and it’s priced accordingly

    1. Appreciate the insights J, but I think you’re missing the point.

      Yes, everyone deserves to make a living, and I have absolutely zero problems with any business making a profit…as long as it’s ethical and transparent. And that’s one of the big issues–the company is taking money from all aspects and in many instances not making the info available to research prior to using the service or burying it.

      Charge a fee? Fine. But only do that.

      Increase pricing per item? Fine. But make it a flat or at least by category and announce it.

      Make it a subscription-only mandate? Sure. Just TELL PEOPLE plainly.

      None of these are being done which is what pisses people off–the surprises and add-ons.

      As for the shopping aspect, I’m glad you do, because it really does make a difference. Perfect example: I saw someone shopping for eggs and they didn’t open the carton. I asked if they were going to check to see that they weren’t broken. The person simply opened the cover and nodded before walking away. Didn’t spin them to see if they were cracked and “glued” to the carton nor did they check the bottoms for integrity. Seemingly minute details can make a huge difference with food items.

      And in reality, stores like Walgreens & CVS are even cheaper for milk & eggs many weeks 😉

      1. I have had a mostly positive experience with Instacart. It took me a while to completely understand why there was this fee or why what I paid was higher than the actual receipt. I agree with you that ALL of that should be upfront and available to the customer so they can make as informed a decision about using the service and not be surprised later. Don’t companies realize that they piss people off when they behave in what is perceived to be an underhanded way?? I really dislike not having all that information at my fingertips when I first checked out Instacart. What I have learned to do is communicate clearly with my shopper and tell them exactly what I expect from them and to not make any changes without my express permission by phone or on my computer at the Instacart website. I have had a few bad experiences with one shopper personally and with produce a few times but I have always been fully or even more than reimbursed when I tell customer service. I have also told them that I do not want certain shoppers shopping for me if they were not professional in their job and they have honored my requests. Even tho Instacart costs me more than I would like to pay, I still use it because of a disability that keeps me from leaving home as much as I would like to. Fortunately, I can afford to do so. This is a valuable service for us elderly and infirm and I wish it was more affordable for those on a limited income. We do not live in a fair society, tho. 🙁

  26. I just tried IC for the first time. Ordering was very convenient, much preferred to traipsing through the store, with or without kids. I set a convenient delivery time, which was very prompt. I was a bit surprised that I needed to interact with the shopper via text while she was shopping; this kind of defeats the purpose if you are using the service because you are busy. But substitutions and refunds went well. Delivery was prompt and the eggs were in good shape. I didn’t order produce or meat; didn’t trust shopper judgement. The store receipt was included; the store had a $200 discount on one item that was not honored, but otherwise prices looked OK. On an $80 store receipt, IC charged a little over $90; about $5 for the service charge and $5 for the tip. Shipping was free b/c it was my first time. I didn’t realize the issue about pricing from the website, nor did I realize the service fee could be waived. So bottom line, with shipping, about a 15% surcharge (on a $100 order) for the convenience if you accept the service fee. Worth it in a pinch, marginal otherwise.

    1. I love that description of “traipsing” Chip ?

      Like I said, everyone is going to have their own needs & perceptions. I’m glad you had a fairly positive experience with IC. Thanks for leaving a clear and balanced assessment!

  27. Hi here my reply for the author I’m a shopper for Instacart and I do Chex expiration and produce because that’s the way I would like it to be done for me and I’m like that. Why do we have to change chat sometimes with the costumer because as for ex. Past week a costumer asked for organic pepper I didn’t like them and asked the guy that worked there if there where some more and he said no the truck hasn’t comes yet but there are the other tipe and I said ok then I’ll take these and what happens the costumer said they were damaged and that drips my points. Yesterday I had anther costumer that wanted a box of mix pastry from Costco but they don’t have mix pastry so I had to msj him and ask what 2 of the 3 flavor he wanted. Prices vary from what
    Appears in the app and at the store but when I go and pay you will pay for the offer that is on that product so only after you do the check out is when you ass costumer are going to be charged for. And remember if you want services you have to pay nothing is for free in this country. Every single person has a different need.

  28. interesting your article was written just a day before I started using instacart… wouldn’t have mattered if I saw this but I gotta say the experience is great the price is absolutely horrible and a fricken shocker… I mean I’m paying nearly double my grand total when you add in the heavy markup and the service fee and tips (I’m trying to tip but I can’t tip because they rip so much money from you!)

    I’m not as mobile, so instacart is awesome but c’mon $24.99 for a case of batteries at Costco when costco sells it for $20 you have got to be flipping kidding me… that’s FOUR DOLLARS MORE! That’s a HUGE markup! Or how about some food products I know that cost me about $1-$2 less at the store, when you add all this up it amounts to the delivery fee already! So I’m paying the service/delivery fee TWICE? Heck no! But I don’t have much of a choice or do I? When compared to Uber/Lyft getting me to and from the store and my goods from the store it almost evens out I guess.

    My very first instacart order for 31 items at Safeway cost me $159 with everything, fees, tip and their horrendous markup… c’mon eliminate all of that and it would probably be closer to $75-$80; honestly they need to revamp their delivery/service fee. Instacart is not a store, instacart is a shopping+delivery service they should not be selling on top of the store selling! If they want to sell, get the stores to cut them a deal don’t take it out on the consumers! I’m not paying instacart to RESELL to me! I’m paying them to SHOP and DELIVER… that’s what they advertise!

    I noticed that you can’t use store coupons on instacart but instacart can and does pass the savings to you perhaps I don’t know; but those coupons that you can use in the store do work at the store’s website usually unless it is for walk in only and again I think that is WRONG but these guys are making a killing (a seriously high profit); imagine if Uber/Lyft could make that kind of money (they already do!) they charge a booking fee, and they set their rates accordingly and sometimes they add a little extra if they legally can for a particular area and then they take a pretty hefty portion from the driver.

    Oh well.. woe to me, I’ll continue using it because I don’t have to use Uber/Lyft to achieve the same thing and my $451 order costs me almost $23 in fees alone and I shop several times a month but the markup alone they probably raked in probably $60ish and if you factor in how much it would cost me to ride Uber in two round trips for each store visits (my order contains items from two stores in one order) it actually still costs me more than getting a rideshare for hire if you factor in all the markup but delivery/service fee by itself is actually less expensive than using Uber/Lyft.

    I should also note I’m on my 14 day trial of instacart express so they are waiving the $7.99 fee which I would be happy to pay if they weren’t price gouging but I am not going to pay them $15/month in a membership fee just to get free delivery because they already rake in more than the cow gives.

    1. Hi there Shannon!

      I totally understand your frustration, and it’s something that a lot of people are complaining about.

      Yes, it’s a great service when you consider the hassles that it eliminates for single or stay-at-home parent, the mobile-challenged, those who don’t drive and others…but that’s only as long as it remains affordable.

      Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it’s only getting worse in some areas. You might want to try out a competing delivery service and see if you can get the same service at a more affordable rate. It couldn’t hurt to try, and I have a few great options listed in the article!

  29. I have used a Instacart several times due to illness. I waved the service fee, until the last time, as it was a “fixed” $11+ and I could not waive it. I called and the service rep informed me it was fixed in my area, and would soon be a fixed amount in all areas soon, as well as a fixed delivery fee, and a fixed minimum tip amount that could be increased.

    1. That seems to be a common issue, Ann.

      Unfortunately, with this service, in particular, the fees and/or commitments are well-hidden and difficult to find without spending plenty of time on the website searching every corner for info.

  30. I’ve been using Instacart since February but have used them for the last time today.
    I shop at Safeway and I have a Safeway card I also use it when I shop in store to get the Club Savings discounts. I’ve even gone so far as to add my phone number to my order page under instructions for the personal shopper.

    They almost never leave a receipt and there’s a good reason for that as I have found out today in fact the shoppers are told implicitly not to leave the receipt.
    Okay so for the details, they charge a flat $5.99 delivery fee which is reasonable, recently they started forcing the service fee which in the past you could waive ( Iwould leave a tip instead for the driver) so today those fees totaled about $16.00.
    The Safeway discounts I lost out on today because they wont use my card totaled $40.00 so combined with the fees I paid over $57.00 more than if I had shopped it myself!
    Here’s the kicker, the shopper “used” the Club Card savings to Instacart’s advantage!!
    So they made a profit of well over $70.00 not to mention they also raise the prices over the in store prices!! Total scam and here in Arizona they even stopped delivering alcohol since the state Attorney General passed a bill in April that doesn’t allow alcohol delivery.
    That was my last time using their service today.

  31. I was one button away from trying IC for the first time today when I noticed that the service fee in my area could be waived. That seemed strange that I could waive my service fee, I can’t waive my delivery fee on pizza, so I searched Publix and IC for information regarding this fee and found several informational paragraphs regarding quite a few different subjects. All of them seemed to be vague. I decided to google an article to read encompassing the reviews on IC and found yours. I read all of it and agree with parts. Consider my thoughts as a recently disabled forever non-driving young adult. Publix to IC was my first attempt at delivery foods.

    1) Agreed. I won’t trust anyone to shop for me whether it’s IC, Amazon or my mother. It’s only when it arrives and I can vouch for its true date/value/price that I can feel comfortable. Those eggs better have been rolled over to determine if they were cracked or broken!!
    2) Agree and Disagree. I expected prices to be significantly higher the moment I was on the Publix website and was sent to IC for my order. Go from company one to company two and double up. It wouldn’t matter if one was a sub-company of the other, I would expect to see $.20 to $2 more for an item from Publix and then the same again from IC. I didn’t like it but I was ok with it as this was my first attempt at home delivery. However, it wasn’t until I started reading comments that I found the service charge was required in some area’s and it appears required when you are a premium yearly member. The hell with that. Now, on to my disagreement. You didn’t expect the price on some items to be more but “on sale”? Any and all chains, regardless of type, will now say something is on sale only when they’ve increased the price of the item. My local has had canned soups on sale for 2 years now. They’ve increased the price and it’s even more expensive then when I first started shopping there. To be expected.
    3) You’re right. This is minor. I’m not surprised at all that stores around me will have different quality of X,Y and Z items. Of course. A few months later items X may change to something else as stores attempt to draw in new customers.

    After reading your entire article, and every person’s comment, I’m skeptical about trying IC or any chain that delivers to my household of any item requiring cold temperatures (milk, meats, deli, etc). Or any item that can mold. Not even pop-tarts because they crumble easily. But perhaps I’ll try IC anyway for the first time and get my free delivery with the ability to cancel service charge and see what happens. A tip will be given in cash to give the delivery person a chance to deny they received it.

    Going back to your #2. Have to create an account first? Well let’s see, why do I *have* to include my email to post on your article? Touche.

    1. I appreciate the thoughtful response, James!

      You are wrong, however about the very last point! The email address is used for several purposes including spam protection and communicating with the commenter. With a service such as IC or anything else that is location-based, simply using a zip code is sufficient…just look at banks and restaurant sites that ask for your state/zip. It’s not necessary to create an entire account with address and such just to browse, and I skip those sites that require it as a marketing ploy!

      But other than that, ?

  32. These comments are so interesting. It’s clear that many negative commenters did not read the entire article. I suspect a lot of them are instacart employees given that they seem to have taken the author’s criticism of instacart personally. I kind of get that as I worked in the recent past as an overnight grocery stocker and took pride in my work. However, the artcle’s content is clearly reasonable and the pricing and cost info is factual. In my area (and most areas in fact) we just pay a small fee and have the grocery store shop for us. They nearly always get the order right and we have had no problems with produce or meat. We have to drive by the store and wait a few minutes while they load our groceries into our car but we are charged the same as they charge in store shoppers and get the same sales discounts. I think instacart will die unless they can compete on individual item price, especially as Amazon and Walmart start invading their space with free or nearly free home delivery.

    1. That is the nature of the internet, Fred.

      Most people are quick to react and throw their “opinions” out there without fully reading or understanding the source material. Context is something many people simply don’t understand, but it’s ok as it only reflects back on them!

      As far as the curbside pickup, I’ve heard about it but can’t say that I have anyplace near me to try it. I would imagine it’s a similar experience to restaurant pick-up which I have tried a few times in the past with pretty positive results.

  33. I have a heart condition and therefore am not allowed to drive. I am 67 years old and live in a 55+ apartment complex. I could easily take an Uber to the grocery store, but lugging all the bags up to the second floor and making the long walk from the elevator to my apartment at the far end is impossible for me (and Uber drivers don’t assist with that sort of thing). So I use the Instacart service, and I am beyond satisfied with it. The shoppers/drivers communicate with me if necessary while they’re shopping, and they bring the bags inside my apartment and place them on the counter for me. They are all very friendly and helpful. I don’t mind paying extra for the convenience of Instacart at all. I probably would not use Instacart if not for my medical issue. But under the circumstances, it is a Godsend.

  34. I’m glad you brought up pricing. Grubhub, door dash, eat24, ubereats all do the same thing. They raise the menu price of everything. We compared multiple menus at work and this is a thing. Its how they get a little more off the top.

    1. Hey Melissa!

      I’ve looked into that and haven’t found it to be the case in my area. In fact, there’s a Pizza place I like and not only did GrubHub have the same delivery fee as the restaurant but the Monday pizza special was on there as well as coupons that I didn’t even see on the restaurant’s own online ordering system.

      Of course, this was just one instance and it may vary by area as well as by restaurant but at least that was a positive experience for me relative to what kept me from using Instacart 🙂

  35. I had been using instacart for at least 6 months now, maybe longer. I had noticed I never got a paper receipt from the delivery person.

    Some of them were nice and others didn’t seem to care, they just wanted the tip. I always gave a good sized tip on top of delivery fee etc.

    My last delivery the guy was really nice and he gave me the paper receipt. I sat down and compared prices and was shocked. Instacart did charge anything from 10c to $1.00 over the Publix in store price. I double checked it again and yes my groceries had cost me nearly $45.00 more than if I’d got off my fat arse and got in my car and shopped for them myself!!!!!

    So I called customer service and questioned the young lady that answered she didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to tell her. She finally said let me get my supervisor. I was put on hold for about 5 minutes then a lady came on and I had to explain again what I had found. And she said well it’s written in our website that our fees maybe a little higher than in-store. I was like you have to be shitting me, where and she pointed out that just below the Publix sign it is posted. I looked and low and behold there in teeny tiny letters it states prices may be higher. I said to her do you not think it would be nicer to actually publish this larger font? There’s a gigantic font for the coupon about $10 off when you get a friend interested in instacart. But there in small letters like a little mouse just squeaking “prices may be higher”. I kicked up a fuss and demanded they only charge my debit card the $146.05 total but the supervisor ( who kept her cool, I’ll give her that) kept repeating I’m sorry madam but you were not supposed to have the paper receipt. And it does state our policy.

    So I called my bank and said the charge was fraudulant and I had to get a new debit card and I’m still working on getting my $170.65 back. Totally inconvenience to me. But I have rights and I feel totally violated and taken advantage of by instacart. They need to have that policy in bright glowing letters on thier website so no other suckers get pulled into this false hope of groceries at a reasonable price without the hassle of actually physically shopping for them.

    I am never using instacart again and am bad mouthing them as much as possible, warning people about how much more they are charging for intems from Publix. I wonder if Publix knows they are doing this? Isn’t there a resale tax? Anyhow peace people, I’m off to Publix to do my own shopping.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ann!

      I totally understand your frustration and that is exactly why I wrote this–because I was frustrated at the idea that I would have to pay more than the in-store price ON TOP OF the service fee and tip.

      The whole receipt issue is something that keeps coming up in the comments and I still can’t get over the fact that they keep the actual invoice as a way of hiding the fees that are being charged.

      Have you looked at any of the options I mentioned above in the yellow boxes? Just because IC sucks doesn’t mean that you have to go back to doing all of your own shopping!

      1. Just wanted to join in and echo you both! Tried Instacart for the second time today, got charged $25 for a roast when the sticker from the grocery is on the package, $11!

        That’s more than 100% marked up, and in all the charge was quite a bit higher than I know the bill would have cost.

        As Eric mentions, I wouldn’t mind the upcharge if that was the only way they made their money, but don’t throw a 10$ service fee on top!

  36. I see your advertising Amazon instead of Instacart. Check those same items above and calculate your shipping costs, subscription fee, and product total and tell me how you feel after, yah? I calculate my cost versus time too. I’m good with Smart n Final versus Costco anyday. I only visit the Amazon website to find sellers nearby. I ask to purchase direct to save the 15% they would have lost in Amazon selling fees.

    1. You can call it advertising Ath, I call it giving alternative options since it’s not the only one I mentions nor do I say that it will be “better”.

      Additionally, you just proved my–and many people’s–point. With practically every other service, including Amazon, you will know exactly what the cost will be and you will get the actual receipts. No need to be surprised when the transaction is completed like so many people seem to find out too late. Plus, Amazon is pretty much up front about fees and such whereas IC requires you to be a sleuth to find everything related to terms and fees.

      But thanks for the comment!

  37. disabled,been using the services for several years now. No major issues or complaints. I actually am just commenting to suggest you do a review of POSTMATES if you really want to see some extreme markups, extra taxes and fees, plus a delivery fee and horrible service to boot.

    1. Sorry Taz, but this isn’t a review. It’s simply my findings and feeling after doing research into the Instaacrt program.

  38. Love Instacart. I am retired and convenience forces me to cook healthy meals. If I have a holiday meal, I will shop at two stores. One of them uses Instagram. Since 1/2017, I reduce my weight my 40 lbs. so paying a little more doesn’t really bother me. Everyone’s time is worth something.

    1. I love instacart, also. I might be paying a mark up but I spend a lot less money every week by not impulse buying! Publix also lists all its BOGO that I would normally miss in the store.

  39. I am a recent addition to the Instacart shopper group. I am doing it to make ends meet during the summer. I have only been doing this a short time and I work with Instacart so you can take what I say with a grain of salt.

    I have a great deal to complain about Instacart’s policies as it relates to the “shopper’s side” of the story. I could go on and on about that. However, I also have some things to say about SOME, not all, customers. Instacart shoppers, for the most part, start off trying to really do a good job. By that, I mean shoppers do their best to get the best looking produce they can. Sometimes, certain produce items just aren’t that good that day. For instance, I’ve gone to stores where the majority of the bananas are green. Now, in these cases, most shoppers will notify the customer.

    What you probably don’t know or take into consideration – you didn’t mention this at all – is that every customer is different. They have different tastes/wants/needs. Some customers have said they want green bananas while others want the ripest bananas. There is an easy way to solve this problem before it starts. On every item, like produce or meats, that might be subject to a particular person’s tastes, the customer can write a note and say things like, “I would prefer ripe bananas” or “two ripe bananas and the rest green”. Some customers prefer to only have organic produce and won’t accept “regular” produce. However, they don’t always make this known. Thus, this makes for a potential misunderstanding that the shopper certainly didn’t intend. Making notes, for items like produce, is important and necessary for ANYONE to get the produce that meets the customer’s needs. This should be obvious. However, you and others on here, have said things similar to the shopper needs to be taught how to pick produce or that they just don’t know how to pick produce. This is demonstrably false (most of the time) as evidenced by the aforementioned reasons in my comment here.

    While you and others have said this, that, and the other thing as reasons for not using the service it really sounds like the major concern is the overall cost. Well, if they got rid of the service fee or whatever and just made one fee that combined the others into one and it was too high then you would complain about that. Uber Eats, Postmates, etc. are incomparable because those services are mainly dependent on the restaurant, fast food place’s expertise in getting the order right. There is very little service that the delivery person themselves are actually providing. Going to the store and picking out produce, making substitutions, communicating with the customer on individual items, and trying to hurry through the store are things that delivery services like Instacart provide while Uber Eats and the rest of them don’t (nowhere near this extent). Hence, the reason they are incomparable.

    When it comes to price of the items yes you have a point to some extent. But, since everything is relative, a lot of businesses operate this way. For the most part, most customers just feel like they don’t want to pay anything or very little for anything. I mean in all industries. However, the mortgage industry is a great example. How often do you hear or see signs saying, “We’ll pay your closing costs!” or “you won’t pay a dime!”. How do you think this is possible? All companies have to make money. How do these companies make money? They pay YOUR fees by charging you a higher interest rate than the par rate. Par rate means the broker would get paid nothing for giving you that rate. Anything above that par rate the broker sells you means the broker would get paid a commission which is a percentage of the loan amount. Brokers have to disclose this amount on the final loan documents. WHOLESALE LENDERS, DIRECT LENDERS, BIG BANKS, ETC. DON’T HAVE TO DISCLOSE THIS “YIELD SPREAD PREMIUM”. Customers, on the whole, have shown that they prefer this type of transaction. THEY DON’T KNOW THAT THEY ARE PAYING ABOVE THE PAR RATE (BECAUSE BANKS DON’T HAVE TO DISCLOSE THIS). This type of business model is similar to what Instacart is doing. Does that make it moral or ethical? Depends.

    As far as pricing overall, from what you have mentioned, especially the pizza delivery case, you just plain don’t understand pricing or business. Some people like to have the convenience of having pizza delivered. You have to pay for that. The business usually employs delivery drivers. That employment is an expense. Some days those delivery drivers are utilized and others not. Some times the pizza company makes a profit and other days it doesn’t because of the cost of an hourly wage which is a semi-fixed cost (relative to it being per delivery to a sub-contractor). So, when customers want pizza delivered they have to pay for that convenience and part of the cost to employ the driver. Hence, they charge a delivery fee. The people who don’t want delivery don’t pay that cost and don’t pay the delivery fee. In your scenario you mentioned you said something to the effect of the pizza company gouging the customer for a three or four dollar delivery fee even though you got a coupon for the pizza. You said you wanted transparency AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE PIZZA COMPANY GAVE YOU and yet you still weren’t happy. Your own scenario reflects what I said above which is that ultimately you don’t want to pay for anything you just want it for free. You care very little if any about actual transparency. Your own scenario demonstrates this. This further highlights of my earlier point about customers not caring about transparency they just want to feel like they didn’t pay for anything or paid very, very little.

    1. Yeah, you nailed me, I know nothing of transparency or business. That’s why my clients always recommend me and never have a bad thing to say because they always know what they are getting from me and at what price BEFORE we start working together. And for further proof of the lack of transparency, I’m certainly not alone–https://newfoodeconomy.org/a-reddit-user-calculated-instacarts-markup-its-pretty-high/. This is the real reason the receipts aren’t allowed to go to customers, to hide the details.

      And it also sounds like you’re a bit confused on a bunch of issues. No one spoke of customers with special requests or preferences when it comes to the shoppers. It was a general statement about people in general not knowing how to shop. How many do you think know about white stripes in chicken breasts? How about knowing how to tell if a pineapple or melon is ripe (smelling the bottom and shaking it, respectively)? Or the classic checking eggs for cracks?

      Sure, there are problem customers but that isn’t the issue.

      Then you go on a rant about the pizza delivery saying I don’t know anything…but apparently, you don’t pay attention. The pizza chains don’t pay those “delivery fees” to the drivers, instead keeping the money with the drivers still relying on tips (and drivers have sued over it https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/pizza-delivery-charge_n_4694554.html. Again, it’s the same case–charge a fee that pays for the service or make customers tip, but don’t make them do both where the fees and tips combined come out to be upwards of 50% of the actual bill.

      And no, in the coupon situation, that WASN’T transparency–free is free, meaning it should not cost a single cent for the person to get the item, period. If someone has to incur a fee to get something then it isn’t free, delivery or not. Transparency would be “Please accept a free pizza…just pay the delivery fee”. Hell, even those scam infomercials tell you up front that you will have to pay for the processing to get the free samples!

      People, for the most part, don’t mind paying for services…they just don’t want to feel like they’re getting hit from every angle and being surprised at the final cost.

  40. I agree with you for the most part. I’ve been a shopper for Instacart for a few months. I will not buy groceries through Instacart, unless I was unable to physically buy them myself.

    I didn’t know until this week that I wasn’t supposed to give the customer the actual receipt. I’m going to give them the receipts anyway. Customers deserve to know actual prices, and returning items in store if necessary should be as easy as possible for them.

    Note: Prices at Publix are routinely cheaper in store than on the app. However, at other stores, pricing matches exactly most of the time. That being said, customers should be charged the exact price for each product. As you wrote, service fees should be separate and transparent. It seems as if Instacart should be able to do this. Their policy states that they will charge the customer for the exact amount of produce the customer receives. For example, if they order 2 lbs. of bananas and only receive 1.5 lbs., the charge will be adjusted and they will pay only for 1.5 lbs. If Instacart can do this, then they should be able to charge the correct amount for each product.

    1. Thanks for the insight Matt!

      I didn’t know about the receipt issue either. I’ve been seeing some talk about the shoppers actually using the real receipt to claim the rewards on rebate apps like Ibotta! If that is the case or the other side where IC doesn’t want the customer to see what the actual costs were, then there is certainly something shady going on.

      This is why the receipts aren’t allowed to go out: https://newfoodeconomy.org/a-reddit-user-calculated-instacarts-markup-its-pretty-high/

  41. I used it while sick twice, and it was a life saver. But like take out food, it’s an excess, not a necessity. Having fresh home cooked food when sick without a shopping trip, was wonderful.

    1. I’m very glad this information is being put out there. I didn’t read through all responses, but a few caught my attention. One specifically where they were supporting Instacart employees not having time to provide a service when they should. They also indicated they do not make an hourly wage. Hmmm, I spoke to those that work for Instacart in Houston & they told me that they receive a hourly wage during their allotted time to work, whether they get a shopping/delivery order or not. I used Instacart for about a year and then stopped. I was receiving items that I did not request to be substituted and/or a comparable products that I agreed could be substituted. If I order chicken, don’t give me turkey!! Also had issues where items were not cold. Instacart did provide great customer service when i complained. It was convenient at times, but really affected my budget and turned out not to be worth it for me. When the 1 year membership rolled around, I was charged the $149. I do have to say that when I called and let them know I no longer wanted to utilize their service, my money was refunded right away.

  42. I just started experimenting with Instacart and after using it 3 times in the past 2 weeks, I determined it’s not for me. I hate shopping in general so the concept was highly appealing. While I used the “1st delivery is free” offer plus the 2 week free trial for the express service, I don’t consider any of it free since I paid the “service fee.” Not a deal breaker but it still rubs me the wrong way; especially if I had opted for the $149 annual service.

    My biggest problem is with the inconsistency of the shoppers. I don’t believe they all care about handling my food properly and I never did figure out exactly how a random independent contractor can control the temperature surrounding my food. I’m picky about how I handle my food and the last delivery I got clinched my decision to stop using this service.

    This shopper finished buying everything on my list but didn’t actually start the delivery phase until I texted her to remind her that I’m home and ready for my food. She started way earlier than the estimated delivery time so I wondered if she shopped and killed time in her car before leaving.

    I shopped from a store that has many locations with one being 5 minutes away. As I tracked my shopper, the map showed she was in another city driving down the freeway! I thought about my perishables sitting in her car and cringed. When she arrived, I noticed she had my large gallon drinks bagged up and in California, each bag is $.10 out of my pocket. She left abruptly like the previous shoppers did but this time, I was missing an item. A $7 item that my daughter was looking forward to. With each of the 3 deliveries, I was not given the opportunity to check the bags before they left and this last one proved costly.

    Of course I report the missing item and request a refund and instead, receive credit towards my account. This annoys me because not only did I not plan on using the service anymore, but how fair is it that I’d have to pay another service fee and meet a minimum for free delivery just to make use of their $7 mistake?

    This was a case of trial and error and I hope my review helps someone. I totally understand some people need a service like this and if I was ever in a tough position, I might use it occasionally but these past 2 weeks have proven this is not a reliable service for someone like me.

  43. Publix is not my store of choice to start with — everything is 50 cents to 2 dollars more than the same thing at Kroger and Aldi (i primarily buy fresh produce, seafood and meat and store brand everything else). But today I have pneumonia! and we are out of everything. Soooo… I decided since Instacart’s 1st time delivery is free, I’d try it out. I was very surprised to see a service charge of $13.21 added to my total! Delivery would have been $8.55 it said on top of the service charge. Am I expected to tip too? I can’t imagine who would pay $20 to $25 or more each week to have groceries delivered. Plus I paid more than I normally would have for the groceries since it was Publix. Sigh. The condition of the items remains to be seen. I’m certain I will never ever do this again.

  44. Just popping in here. Once i ordered something and not only did not get the correct amount in pounds (though was charged for it) i noticed the huge upcharge on the receipt they left at that time. When i called to confirm, i was told that the shopper is NOT supposed to give me the receipt. If that’s not shady, i dont know what is. I already knew there were some upcharges, so why hide it from me. The smallest things are extremely overpriced, so I’ll just try to find time to get to a store around my schedule. Grocery store is overpriced as is. Might as well get my steps in, i guess.

    Also many shoppers fail to read my notes about where to pull in (under the carport) for their safety and ease of access. People park across or down the street from my house which is not convenient at all. I’ve also had a shopper on her phone while delivering, drop my items when she didnt know i was watching and then when she realized i was she didn’t bother apologising.

    But of course, since im so “lazy” aka working i guess i “deserve” that. I guess some of those saying this also believe you deserve people dropping your food or spitting in your drink when you go to a restaurant because you were too “lazy” to cook, right? And charge you extra for your “laziness”? Funny. Thanks for this article Eric.

  45. How much is Amazon paying you to post this “review”? It’s obviously an Amazon ad. I don’t think this is a real review. Just my opinion. You never used the service either.

    1. Aw, aren’t you cute?

      Truth is, I was actually paid by WalMart but I can see your confusion 😉 But you’re totally right I never used the service–then again, I never tried cocaine either and I can come up with a bunch of reasons for why I wouldn’t do that either.

      Thanks for stopping by though!

      1. The worst. THE WORST. I was a loyal Instacart shopper from their earliest days. I accepted the mark up for the convienence. Now that they have built up clientele, the service is consistently terrible. Pick a window for delivery? It’s never met. Home screen on the app? Always says one to two hour delivery, and once you finish ordering and check out? The “pick a time” option is five hours out or not until the next day. And the one that makes me most incensed? Delivery people who refuse to park their car and insist I come outside despite my tip and delivery fee. And one more as a bonus – shoppers often don’t have common sense. E.g. just b/c I say replace with closest item doesnt mean you can substitute ground coffee with coffee beans. I don’t have a grinder moron. They’ll be replaced with better options.

        1. I definitely understand the frustration, M A.

          You would think that as time goes on and the company gains experience, things would IMPROVE and possibly get cheaper as it becomes more efficient. Instead, it and the shoppers learned that they have you at their mercy once you get used to the convenience.

          Hopefully, you find a service more suited to your needs.

  46. I did want to say I agree that the pricing differences are a bit shady. Other companies do it but are very upfront about it. I was just checking to see if the buy one get one deals at my local store where buy one get one on instacart and they are not. They are also more expensive. I used instacart service and I was kind of wondering how they made their money and I feel like this is a big part of it. I can still understand how some people may think that the service is worth it. I just feel instacart the company should be more upfront about the fact that the prices they have are not the prices at the store.
    Another thing I want to mention is I agree that it is the responsibility of the shopper to make sure that they pick out good produce that is not expired. it is the normal thing that most people do or should do when they go shopping for themselves and if expect the same from the shopper. That’s regardless of if it is an instacart Shopper or a stores owned pickup service shopper.
    I used instacart and when I used it I found it to be beneficial and was pleased with the service I received.

    1. Thanks Andrew!

      I have absolutely no problem with people using the service if it gives them back some time or if they can afford it and don’t mind the price differences. But, like you said, the transparency in the fees and costs is a big problem for me (and a lot of others apparently).

      Like you, there are a lot of others I know who love the service when they use it and I think that’s the best anyone can hope for 😀

  47. I’m using Instacart for what will most likely be the only time. I’ve filled my cart with $35 of Publix BOGO deals and I’m using a $20/off promo code.

    After comparing the in-store prices and factoring in the fees/tip, I’ll still be $10 ahead. Works for me.

    Hopefully, they’ll send more discounts in the future…

  48. I just tried Instacart and the markups for Costco was a pretty clear 20% across the board. This included a $5 markup on the TP. When I complained to Instacart their first response was that well I wasn’t supposed to receive the receipt. Then they go into a long spiel about how they attempt to negotiate with stores to get the same prices. Which is ridiculous and irrelevant since I have the receipt and know how much they paid ($15 less than I did for 9 items). There is nothing wrong with what they’re doing, but they need to be upfront and honest about it.

  49. I’ve found basically every item on Instacart with Publix is .50 more. So it’s s$6 for delivery + maybe $15 more for the actual groceries plus a $10 tip. That’s about $30 extra cost to use Instacart for a $150 – $200 worth of groceries. But it’s saving me almost an hour and a half. My time is worth way more than $30 so I still think it’s worth it.

  50. Man, this Instacart is malarkey. The rip off their help with low pay and make it hard for customers to tip. Thanks for the post.

  51. I would probably only use the service if I was really sick and no one else could get anything for me. Personally, I’d rather hire one of my friends who might be able to use some extra cash. The other day, I had a friend pick something up for me at Costco. I gave her a little extra cash and it worked out great. It saved me a very long time consuming trip for one item. Instacart is a great idea, but sounds like a total rip off!

    1. Hi Erin!

      Some people find great value in the service depending on their specific situation. Others, not so much. It’s like anything in life, you have to judge for yourself based on your own needs and individual situation.

  52. Seriously… You’re paying for the convenience. If you’re cheap, nothing helps. It’s as if you expect a company to provide a service for free. Wake up. It does not work like that.

    1. True, but my wife order a few things like oranges(4 of them in a bag) they charge her 37.50, then order some peaches(1 pound) several of them came half bad and on top charged her ($40.70) for it. A simple order that would cost $40.00 or $50.00, ended up costing $117.45. She realized that, contacted them and they said “I am sorry, it was a mistake, we will refund your excess money; but, it will take about 2 weeks. My wife noticed the charges, what if she did not? To how many people this occurs?

  53. I just received delivery where expensive steak cut was substituted instead of the two 1.25 lbs on sale bone in rib eyes I specifically instructed.Also stew meat was substituted at a $1 more per lb than the on sale sirlion tips I ordered While I got a notification of replacement of sodas which were replaced by quantities not on sale and even a different brand all together. I did not get a notification of the steak replacement .
    I also suspected that some of the normal priced items I requested were priced higher than normal

    It is like the cable company charging a dvr service fee and a dvr equipment fee. They are building in extra fees by marking up the groceries and then the employees they hired to pick and deliver my order did a poor job of getting the most expensive parts of the order right.

    I feel I was defrauded by Publix and Insta cart as these price increases are not disclosed up front.

    This service is a bait and switch at the worst or a poorly chosen labor force to fulfill the orders. Publix should be correctly picking the advertised items on sale to maintain any resemblance of propriety .

  54. I’ve been an IC shopper for about 4 months now, I average about $20/hr each week, gross, before taxes and gas and wear on my car are considered. That money has to come from somewhere, so stuff gets marked up. It should be obvious to anyone who has ever done their own shopping that the prices on IC are at least little bit higher than if they went themselves to the store. IC itself wants to make money too, so they have the fee for shopping, and they keep the extra extra if you order multiple of the same item (eg, if you order 10 different kinds of potato chip and each costs an extra $0.40 I am paid that, but if you order 10 of 1 kind of chip I get $0.40 and IC gets $3.60 to keep, which has long been a point of contention between shoppers and IC, particularly when it comes to moving a quarter ton of water up to a third floor apartment for $0.40 and maybe tips if lucky).

    I do have some concern about your issue with the receipts, as I doubt you’ve ever requested the invoice papers from a car dealer, the electronics store, the clothier, or the grocer, and then demanded to pay what they paid for the product you are buying. It is *extremely* common for you, the consumer, to pay more for a product or service than the middle-man you are buying from paid for it. Even if you went to a farm to collect milk from the farmers themselves would you demand to pay only what it cost them in grass to feed the cow? Every step between you and the extraction of raw materials from the earth adds to the cost of the final product, this is how an economy works. The reason IC has us keep the receipts isn’t to be deceptive, its because the average person doesn’t understand any of this and would, like you, be upset about paying more for stuff and demand refunds and such, somehow expecting it to be okay that we do all their shopping for $4 and maybe tips if lucky. Maybe you’d rather that each delivery had a $30 fee on it, but then I think it likely this post would be complaining about outrageously expensive delivery fees for something as simple as grocery shopping….oh….

    I wonder too, if you are aware of the ways you are paying more at the store already, even if you don’t go shopping yourself. For example, many items are getting smaller in recent days, due to tarrifs and inflation, so where a year ago you might have gotten 20 ice cream pops in box, now you get 18, or that face wash that was 10oz is now 9.5oz. I’ve seen this happening slowly with things for a long time (cadbury eggs anyone?) and shopping for IC has made it even more obvious just how widespread it is lately because the shopper app has weights and measures from back when the item was first added to the database. If you want to talk deceptive practices, go after the manufacturers of everything in the grocery store who are reducing how much of a good you get without changing the price or upc so that you don’t notice the actual effective price per unit has gone up, this is a far more insidious way to get changes past consumers than anything IC has done.

    I will definitely agree however that there are some shifty people who have become shoppers, who don’t care about the customer or the service they provide and just want to get in and out as fast as possible so they can maximize revenue even at the customer’s loss of quality. This is a problem that I feel will get worse over time, as IC is expanding their In-Store Shoppers to more places and those shoppers are paid minimum wage for a max of 29 hours per week and are under even tighter timing goals than Full-Service Shoppers. The ISS staff are under such pressure to meet the metrics that are set that they *can’t* take any time to consider quality or expiration dates, they will get fired for it. So even if they do care and want to make sure a customer gets the best, it simply isn’t possible because of corporate policy. ISS also means many FSS are making less because they are only making deliveries, not getting the boon of per-item fees while also losing tips due to poor shopping from an overworked and under-paid ISS staff. I expect IC will fail or be bought out as Amazon expands its operations and the quality workers at IC jump Shipt because they need to pay the bills.

    As far as what you as a customer can do to ensure a smooth experience, take advantage of the tools available! Every item you add allows you to select a preferred substitute as well as set it to simply refund if neither is available. You can add notes where needed so that you get items of the stage of ripeness you want or expiration date preferences, though honestly if you look at the average grocery store most items are going to either expire within a few days to a week of each other or long after you should have finished using them (besides, if an extra week on tuna that has an 8 month shelf life matters I have to wonder what apocalypse you’re planning for…). Grocery shopping is a highly personal experience, we all have our own tastes and preferences and you simply cannot expect every shopper to have psychic awareness of your particular wants and needs. Most of us do our best to get you good quality products, and if you want more than that then feel free to ask and we’ll do what we can to accommodate you.

    Your article has some valid points, but in too many ways it feels like Veruca Salt wanting everything to be her way with no effort and for nearly free.

    1. Thanks for the well-articulated comment!

      I think you missed the point that I, and many others, make regarding pricing. The issue isn’t necessarily the costs inherent in running a business, it’s the way in which IC decides to go about pricing/fees/tips. On the shopping pages, the reasons for the increased prices are “A markup is added to item prices at this retailer to cover the cost of the Instacart service” or “Prices may be higher than in-store prices to cover the cost of personal shopping”. Those are taken directly from store pricing policy pages. If, in fact, the reasons are true, then why tell people they have to tip if the cost of personal shoppers is being “covered” or if the markup is to “pay for the service” why charge a delivery fee? See, it’s the doubletalk, as well as the hidden fees like some people had mentioned about not knowing about the need to pay for an annual subscription up front.

      As far as the receipt goes–it’s more about shoppers using their own coupons, not getting advertised specials, and knowing exactly how much of a difference they are paying. The company gets the additional savings if the shoppers use coupons without passing that along to the customers (yeah, I know IC has its own “exclusive” coupons). Also, it’s stated that not all in-store offers are honored through IC. People want the receipt so they can see exactly what the difference is to make an informed decision for the future ie: just how much more is this costing me vs. if I just did it myself.

      Plus, your analogy is off because we aren’t talking about wholesaling. This isn’t about the final product costing more than the total price of the individual parts. Same as if a personal shopper goes to the store and buys clothes for someone: there’s a fee for the style advice and time and then the cost of the clothing which charged separately and passed along at cost.

      I’m all for people making money, but in a transparent way and one that gives the consumer the full picture in advance.

      1. All the couponing is done through IC, I’ve never used a paper or digital coupon because I wouldn’t see any boon from it. For Kroger stores the customer can supply a rewards card number and get extra savings that way, its the only store I’ve seen do it that way in my area, and costco requires the originating customer’s member number while sam’s club uses a global IC account for all IC shoppers, all the other stores use a single generic phone number for all IC orders for tracking, and that usually does activate the store’s “club savings”, though how much of that difference IC then gets to keep is unknown to me. The fees IC charges don’t get used to fully pay the shoppers, we depend on tips for a solid third or more of our income, without it we would fall below minimum wage and not have the protections real employees get to make up the shortfall, which is more an issue of historic American culture and the way the gig economy operates than anything. I understand why *you* want the receipt, but I’ve also seen enough stories of people complaining about the markups and calling support to get a refund (which then dings the shopper’s stats as the only way IC internal support can issue a refund is to mark an entire order damaged/missing) that I understand why both corporate and the shoppers don’t want to do it. Handing over that receipt is actually dangerous because…

        …When IC internal support does a refund on an order it lowers a shopper’s overall rating for the week because once an item is marked damaged/missing it automatically reduces the rating on the order below 5-stars, which many of us believe will affect the types of orders we receive (going from large-quantity orders to small orders that make us less over a day), and likely take us out of the running for the 5-star bonus they dangle as motivation to be extra perfect. A single 3-star review takes something like 35 perfect orders to balance out, a 1-star takes about 95 perfect orders, so once we get dinged, even for something totally outside of our control, we lose a lot of motivation to go above and beyond because we know for certain that a single order reduced our pay that week by $100. I’ll still do my best to make sure the customer gets everything and in good condition, but I may be less motivated to personally inspect a dozen milk cartons to find the one that has the furthest out expiration date. Other shoppers just flat out stop giving a damn once they get a ding and will just do the bare minimum, but wouldn’t you if you were punished so heavily for something outside your control? This is slowly changing, some areas are going to a system where a customer leaving a deliberate 5-star review instead of the system giving you an auto-five for no reported issues means you get an extra $3, in theory that means more consistent boons to your pay and no one customer or IC support rep can sink you for the week.

        There’s also the fact that we as shoppers are dealing with a buggy app that hampers us at least a little even at the best of times, and at the worst, well, last night the entire IC platform went down for several hours, customers couldn’t get orders or communicate with shoppers and shoppers couldn’t check out orders or get their customer’s addresses, the twitter and facebook comments on IC official accounts are pretty peeved. I personally ended up waiting for the entire outage in my car for service to resume while my cart chilled in the back cold storage so that I was able to make my delivery. Some other shoppers did the some, but many just called it a night and accepted that they were now out $50-100 for the day and by some accounts being harassed by IC support’s morning shift for failing to complete deliveries during the outage (did they not send out an internal memo about it, probably not knowing how well this ship seems to float…). But I doubt those of us who stuck it out for our customers will get any recognition for that extra effort from IC while we also risked getting dinged for the late delivery by the customers. A lot of shoppers this morning were very hesitant about taking orders for fear of upset customers getting day-late orders giving 1-star ratings and yelling at them and not tipping because they are mad at the company and don’t understand that we have no control or say over any of it and are suffering even more than they are when the system goes down.

        So, ya know, you don’t *have* to tip, no one does and some of my customers don’t even when I deliver excellent service, but keep in mind that unlike a delivery driver we aren’t getting a minimum amount of hourly wage and we have to pay more taxes on what we do earn than a retail worker and we don’t get paid by IC for our mileage/gas, so if you’re going to take advantage of services powered by gig-economy workers please keep in mind that we aren’t even cogs in the corporate machine, we are the ground it treads upon to move forward.

  55. I have used Instacart four or five times from various stores – mostly from Costco since Instacart will actually deliver fresh produce, refrigerated and frozen goods. Not the same selection as shopping inside a Costco itself, but sometimes it’s good enough for a desperate time 😀 I’m older, I don’t drive and it’s a wonderful option to have groceries delivered BUT it needs to be transparent in it’s fees. Today’s calculation provided that Instacart charged a 26% markup. I’d much rather pay a static delivery charge even if it’s $20 plus a tip.

    Unfortunately, the markups are applied unevenly. Whoever down there said someone else was complaining about a markup of 40 cents on an item is wrong. We wish it would only be 40 cents. In my case today, there was a markup that ranged from 24% on some items up to 39% on other items. Outrageous.

    One thing I’m curious about is sales tax. Instacart pays the actual sales tax to Costco based on the actual prices of items they pay to Costco. Instacart turns around and charges customers MORE SALES TAX because they base it on Instacart’s marked up prices. How does Instacart handle this with the State – eh?

    I use a variety of delivery services for fresh produce and Instacart is the most expensive and I use it the least.
    1) I use AmazonFresh for a monthly fee of $16.47 and minimum purchase of $50 per order to avoid a delivery fee. Totally worth it. There had been some hiccups in the beginning depending on who was picking my groceries (it’s a hazard of any grocery service!) but overall, I’ve been absolutely delighted with their customer service. They used to offer the greatest array of items just like any Ralphs or Vons, but they’re winnowing down to provide only Whole Foods and it sucks.
    2) GoogleExpress for an amazing selection of stores, goods and pantry items. No fresh, refrigerated or frozen.
    3) AmazonPrimeNow included in my AmazonPrime annual subscription is fine, but it’s extremely limited using only Whole Foods and Sprouts in my area.

    Bottom line: I’m thinking that in the future for regular groceries, it makes sense for me to Uber to the grocery store, do my own shopping – which I love to do – then Uber back home. Cheaper AND I’ll get exactly what I want.

    Ah! One more incredibly important (and big time misleading) thing about Instacart: they boast that “your items will be temperature controlled while shopping and handled with care for delivery”. Riiiiight….”temperature controlled in the store” just like any other shopper WHILE IN THE STORE. Other than that, you’re out of luck unless the random driver just happens to carry icepacks and insulated carriers in their car at all times “just in case”. I received $18.00 of melted ice cream in my first Instacart delivery because of the driver’s “handled with care while in transit” lack of proper equipment.

  56. I have been using Instacart for about six months as I am in a wheelchair and cannot drive or lug heavy stuff home on my own. Overall I am extremely dissatisfied. Most (not all) of the shoppers are ok, but the prices, the fees and the lack of customer service are TERRIBLE. I have used their online “help” tool about six times lately and have not received a single response. My resentment is obviously growing, and I am considering other options for sure. No one likes the feeling of being taken advantage of or ignored.

  57. I’ve used the service twice. Both times service has been good. However, today when I asked for the store receipt the young lady said it was their policy not to provide it. She gave it up and I seen the scanned prices on some items were LESS than Instacart pricing. I paid appr. 4 dollars more for two gallons of milk. I mentioned I was going to discuss this with Instacart CS and the young lady got nervous saying she could be disciplined for giving me the receipt. She also told me she gets paid .40 cents for each item they select. I did the math and the amount of items I purchased (22) X .40 was just about the difference between the store receipt price and the Instacart receipt. Apparently they pay their shoppers by increasing prices on items. So Instacart gets the entire amount of fees. Anyhow, bottom line is they do charge more on certain items. With fees, tip and increased pricing it cost me an additional 30 dollars. Is it worth it to me? Yes, however I do not appreciate the deception.

  58. My wife and I were going to try out instacart with Sam’s Club for the first time because they offered free delivery for your first order. We thought the prices seemed higher than we’re used to, so we went to the regular Sam’s Club website for our store. We found that just about everything for sale was 1-2 dollars more per item. We would have easily had to pay 50-100 dollars more for the total order than just buying the items through Sam’s club own website. We ended up purchasing through Sam’s club own website, Sam’s Club gathered all the items for us and we picked up the order at their store. So we still saved a ton of time, didn’t have to spend any extra money and just had to drive there to pick up the cart. I don’t think we will ever use instacart, if we hadn’t noticed the prices seemed higher we would have probably never been the wiser. To me it seems dishonest to not be more upfront that you are paying higher prices.

  59. I cannot speak for other shoppers. But I take great pride in what I do! That is how I earn tips and referrals and honestly…a GREAT experience means that person may use the service again which in turn means that I may get their order again. But what I can say as to how I do my job is this. 1) When it comes to fresh produce. I’m a stickler. If I wouldn’t take that onion, tomato, Bananas etc home then that’s not the one you are getting. I take my time to make sure I am not just grabbing anything and throwing it in the cart. 2) I NEVER take multiple orders at once. I want to make sure that I am focused on YOUR order. 3) I bag your items the same way I would my own. I take care of your items as I would my own. Your eggs are riding in my front seat so I can make sure they are safe. I also use insulated bags so your items stay cold on the drive over. 4) Your delivery your way. You want me to just unload everything at the front door? Sure! You want me to bring your bags inside and help u pack them? Sure! You want to do it all yourself? Sure! I’m not here to Invade or make you uncomfortable. I’m here to make your life easier. 5) I NEVER expect a tip. If you give me one then great! If not that’s okay too! I care more about making sure I did a good job handling your groceries!

    Again. I cant speak to other shoppers. But I know that there are some ofLex Park shopperd sus who are thorough and legitimately care about doing their job right.

    1. I don’t doubt your sincerity and focus on the quality of service you provide, and that’s commendable. And its an important thing you acknowledge–that you can’t speak for others–because while you and some people you personally know of do things as you describe many others don’t.

      It’s pretty much the same as the Golden Rule: if you are going to do something do it in the same manner in which you’d want/expect someone to do it for you. Unfortunately, as many of the people here and elsewhere online can attest to, the nature of the industry and perhaps the lack of actual shopping knowledge/skill can lead to shoppers taking shortcuts or choosing quantity over quality.

  60. OP’s sense of entitlement oozes from every pore.

    The service isn’t MEANT for perfectly able-bodied people like you, who work from home, and live
    within walking distance to a major grocery store.

    I have a sneaking suspicion you are the EXACTLY the type of customer who orders
    15 cases of water from Costco, has shoppers haul them up to your 3rd flood elevatorless
    apartment building,’ thanks’ them, doesn’t tip, then goes online to blog and whine about
    what an awful experience the whole thing was.

    You know the type… whiny, entitled and selfish.

    Yep. That’s exactly who you are. Great ‘article’ by the way!

    1. I guess I’m not allowed to order Uber Eats either, huh ?

      And for the record, I don’t have a Costco membership, and I have filtered water in my fridge which means I save money AND the planet at the same time, but nice try!

  61. I’ve used Instacart twice now and found that they make substitutions sometimes at the last minute so I get stuff I don’t want, and at higher prices.

    The selection of meat has been fine, but produce not so much. Then when I got the store receipt versus price charged and don’t forget the tip, huge difference. So to pay more and not even get what I want is huge bummer.

  62. I will not use Instacart because every time I’m at Wegmans and there is someone who is about to crash into me at an aisle intersection and acts like they own the store, it’s an Instacart shopper. They are inconsiderate to other shoppers around them and I don’t want to support a company who hires people who act that way.

    Your first reason is also right on – I don’t want complete strangers, untrained in food hygiene and with little accountability, handling my food. I just don’t feel comfortable with that.

  63. I am an Instacart Shopper. I am the best in my community. Well, I think I am. I spend on average at least an hour or more driving to the store, shopping for the customers, driving my own car and delivering the groceries. Instacart doesn’t pay us nearly enough for my efforts, but the have to pay us more than your fees would cover, or we could NEVER afford to keep doing this job. I am looking into better ways to shop for this amazing community I live in. I want to charge a flat shopping fee, no markups. I am looking into this now. However, please remember, those of us to know how to shop and are always 5 star rated, and are busting our butts for our customers (who also don’t always tip, but most do) deserve to be paid accordingly. If you don’t want to shop, then you have to pay me to do it. I do agree all the shoppers out there aren’t the best. And that is a shame because those of us who care like I do have to hope my customers hang in there until something better comes along.

  64. I was going to try it today for Costco because I need diapers. The diapers were marked up TEN dollars over Costco’s website price. That’s outrageous!

  65. Publix is 10 minutes away, but my daughter and I use Instacart 3 times a week. I communicate with the shoppers while they are shopping and I never have a problem with the meat or produce that they pick out, and I am a very fussy, meticulous Italian cook.
    There is no service fee and a small fee to join every year.
    No shopping, lugging bags to your car, lugging bags out of you car and carrying heavy bleach and detergent bottles or cases of water. Pricing is reasonable.
    Love the service.

  66. I tried IC for the first time today. Now, I tried it for several reasons: 1) I do not drive, and although my roommate goes to the store 5x a week and will take me, often she rushes me, and then I forget items. (we are both senior citizens) 2) I will be moving shortly into my own place, and I wanted to try this for future reference. 3) I had gotten a referral from a friend for $10 off my first order, plus the free delivery for the first order. 4) I needed ‘heavy’ items, and I have a ‘bum’ shoulder. I figured let some younger person deal with the heavy stuff.

    This was also a ‘test’. I had ‘purposely’ included fresh fruit, fresh meat, dairy, ice cream, some canned items and the heavy stuff… case of spring water, 2-liter bottles of pepsi, and a 12 pack of iced tea bottles.

    Now, I was having the groceries from my local ‘Lowes Foods’, so it asked for my ‘Loyalty #’, which I provided. I noticed that when I put that in, my yogurt, Klondike bars, and canned chiles, – my digital coupons automatically applied. This is good.

    According to the estimate, I was to pay approx $60, before $10.00 first order was applied. –
    The following items were over-charged based on my Lowes Foods sales circular:
    Diet Pepsi 4 X $2.19 – Lowes sale 4 X $1.89 = overcharge of $1.20 ;
    Texas Pete Sausage 1 LB – I was charged $6.79, sale price was $4.59 = overcharge of $2.20;
    Oui Yogurt – 2/$3.00 – 50 cents digital coupon= $2.50 / I was charged $3.38 – 50 cents digital coupon = $2.88 diff $0.38 overcharge
    Red Mill Barley – $2.79 / I was charged $3.29 = overcharge of $ 50 cents
    Rachel Ray Wet Cat food – 3 @ $1.00 ea = $3.00 / I was charged 3@ $1.29 = $3.87 – Over charge of $0.87
    Natures Own Perfectly Crafted Bread – $3.79 / I was charged $3.99 = $0.20 Overcharge
    Mission Spinach Wraps – $ 3.49 / I was charged $ 3.99 = Overcharge of $0.50
    Tropicana 50 OJ – $3.00 / I was charged $4.39 – Overcharge of $1.39
    Lipton 12pk Diet Green Tea – $4.99 / I was charged $7.59 = I was overcharged $2.60
    Klondike bars $3.39 – 50 cent digital coupon $2.89 / charged $3.59 – 50 cent coupon = $3.19 = overcharge $0.30
    Deer Park 24pk water – $ 4.39 – I was charged $ 4.79 = overcharge of $0.40
    El Paso Green Chiles – 2@ $1.75 = $3.50 – $1.00 dig cpn = $2.50 / Charged 2@ $1.89 = $3.78 -minus $1. cpn = $2.78
    Butterball Kielbassa – $2.99 – I was charged $3.79 = I was over charged $0.80
    Organic Bananas – charged 1cent more per lb. = over charge 1 cent total.

    Giving this approx $11.62 over charge.
    Now to be fair – I got $10 off my first order, and for some reason because of a combination of Lipton/Pepsi products IC gave me another $5.00 credit on the order.

    All in all – my order totaled almost $49.00 and their estimate was $60 before the $10 was applied.
    So, in reality, their discounts covered their over-charges. LOL

    The REAL PROBLEM I had was that I ordered at approx 3:30pm – with an estimated delivery time of 5:30pm. The shopper did my order, in communication with me… various things such as they didn’t have the flavor of yogurt I wanted, and asked about substitutes. That type of thing. She completed the order, but never delivered! Next thing I knew.. someone else was starting my order. Seems no one knows why. My order was delivered at 7:22pm. It wasn’t the fault of the 2nd shopper, however not a good first time experience.

    My Lowes Foods offers delivery for a $3.99 charge. Next time I will try that, and get the actual sales prices.

  67. I love having My groceries delivered. No catching a cold from the cart. No sweating like a dog in the Texas heat. No running into my neighbors who want to talk for five hours in the store.

  68. I shop at Aldi it costs $120. The same items through Instacart with a delivery fee, delivery tip, another “fee” and inflated prices costs $290.

    Yes, you read that right.

    Do NOT shop through instacart. The delivery person/shopper will substitute out with crap that you really don’t want because they are too lazy to look for the items, and will just claim everything was out of stock. (When I shop there 99% of the items are in stock.)

    Walmart delivers for free or nominal fee after first 3 deliveries, does not jack up rates, and is accountable to their own store.

    So, yeah, drive 3 minutes and shop at Publix. Though, they are renowned for just jacking up prices in store for the sake of it. If you value your money, I personally would shop elsewehre, unless you have a lot of coupons, or like truly fresh produce and truly good deli meat and fresh baked goods.

  69. You make absolutely zero sense or point here. Your mom taught you how to shop? We so did all the shoppers for InstaCart. They know better than to buy expired meat and items. That’s just a lazy insult to shoppers. You don’t like the markups? How do you think the company makes money?! You still get the BOGO, you still get savings, this argument is petty. Since you are so proud of working from home and all that jazz, you are right InstaCart is absolutely NOT designed for you. What a waste of an article.

  70. I ordered today for the 1st time and was extremely disappointed. The replacements were terrible (they substituted lactose free ice cream with regular – seriously? and environmentally friendly paper cups with red solo cups)! There were quite a few things I ordered because they were BOGO, and they were replaced with items not on sale. And if I had time to sit around and check for hours for updates in my cart, I would have gone to the store myself! One of the main reasons I ordered today is that I was super busy and wanted to get a cooked chicken for dinner for my family, Guess what didn’t come? The second important thing (and I checked for before placing the rest of my order) was computer paper that my daughter needed for tomorrow morning. You guessed it…no paper.

    And it honestly never occurred to me that the prices would be jacked up by Instacart, and I guess I missed whatever fine print there may have been. I suppose that may have been naive of me, but with all the charges and tip, I didn’t think that was a possibility, too. And I’m not complaining about the tip; I worked as a waitress for many years.

    In addition, I was not upset that my groceries came hours late, because the weather wasn’t great, but I wasn’t happy that they came with the ice cream I didn’t order melted all over everything. Unlike some others, I did not get a receipt, which seemed a little shady to me.

    Live and learn, but I will not recommend this service to anyone I know.

  71. I can appreciate your sentiments – I would also never use a service like this for similar reasons. However, I am really shocked by your tone throughout many of these comments and do feel as if you’ve overblown the issue on point #2. The website does state that there is a higher price for many of the stores – so to put them side by side with the sales flyers from the store and presenting it as some sort of suspicious activity is really sensationalism.

    I did read the entirety of the article – and many of the comments because I was curious about the negative experiences you referenced. A lot of people in the comments had positive experiences, too! (Somehow left out of the article, haha) But really, your tone in these comments is very condescending. You’re not the beacon of rationality and the picture you paint by your response to people who simply said they felt you were misrepresenting the company is not a pretty one.

    I’m sure you will tell me that I am also being irrational and respond with a sarcastic jab at something I said – but I really urge you to read through your responses and evaluate the tone you’ve used. I liked the article but after seeing how you treat readers who help drive your traffic – and I’m certain income – I would not read another one from your site.

    1. Thanks Rowan.

      I appreciate the response, and you’re entitled to feel how you do…I don’t control that.

      However, if people want to come to someone’s site and tell them that their opinions aren’t valid, or that they have no right to feel a certain way like some of the detractors I think you are referencing, then they need to be able to take what they dish out.

      I do disagree with you on two points–one being that I don’t mention the positive experiences. I’m not doing a review of the service, just my impressions of what I experienced as I browsed the site and my gut reactions to the services offered. And, I clearly state on multiple instances that these are my thoughts based on my individual situation and that everyone should form their own opinion. If I was really trying to bury the company, don’t you think I would delete all of the positive comments rather than thank them for their input wish them continued positive experiences?

      The second point you made which I disagree with is the tone. Are there some sarcastic responses? Absolutely! Are they directed at the people who made logical, fully explained objections to my issues? Absolutely not! They are directed toward those who specifically failed to read the entirety of the piece, or simply were attempting to attack a different viewpoint. I’m not going to apologize for that, but I will thank you for your time and wish you well in your endeavor to find people to read who fit your sensibilities.

  72. Just placed my third order and today was the first time the delivery person left the receipt in the bag. Instacart charged me $150 for just the groceries and the receipt showed the total being $118. I emailed Instacart to ask where the $40+ they plan to charge me for went. Positive note, I had the weekly sale circular and shopped primarily for items on sale. All sales matched up except the buy two, get three free chips. While I hate grocery shopping with three year old twins, $40+ bucks is a little much for my budget conscience family. I think I’ll try Walmart pickup next time depending on the response to my email.

  73. I see what your saying, but how do you think they make money? Also the shoppers and drivers are being paid crap. So you ranting and raving about this makes people tip less. Thanks.

    1. I doubt that my *giving opinions based on my specific situation* is going to deter people from tipping people who deserve it.

      How do I know?

      Because I tip 20% or more at restaurants when I see tons of people say that double the tax is more than enough if at all. And a lot of other people do the same even with a lot of negative thoughts out there.

  74. Oh grow up lady. You live in a box. There are handicap people and elderly that DEPEND on services like instacart. Instacart people are helping them. In return maybe the one who has to shop for instacart is struggling and not rich. So instacart benifits many in MY opinion. And im greatful we have them and everyone gets help. P.s. not every shopper is a idiot some have extensive knowledge of food and other products more so than you or the customer. Cheers

  75. Ok I have been using instacart and am very upset with the price. Let me say to begin with they are not suppose to leave the receipt in the bag I’m told because it confuses us, lol. No confusion here. My groceries are always taxed so while looking at the paper receipt and the receipt from instacart i noticed I was taxed twice. I called them and after talking with them told them I would no longer be using their services because they couldnt explain the discrepancy between the two other than to say that the store put it in there. The difference was almost $20.

  76. I have used Instacart and have been an Express Member for a year now. I WONT be renewing the membership after it ends this month. I use it basically because I’m a “lazy millennial”… ha but really- I HATE grocery shopping, I always put it off and end up spending too much eating out. I’m a single professional, I work night shift with long hours and work in long blocks of days on with long blocks of days off. It’s just hard to get into a routine. I like fresh salads and fruits, and in order to keep these types of foods in the fridge that means grocery trips a couple times a week. That being said, for me, it actually saves some money even with upcharges, and I eat a bit healthier using a grocery delivery service.

    I liked the different options of stores available on Instacart, how user friendly the app and site are and that most of the shoppers were decently friendly. I did not like the things already mentioned on this post in addition to, the delivery times always being messed up. Several times my order was wayyy earlier than the time slot I requested and I was either sleeping or totally not expecting anyone. Shoppers don’t generally leave things on your doorstep (even when I make a note for them to do so), and they have interrupted me sleeping or caught me in a bad time due to this issue. I understand that they don’t close or conceal bags, so it probably is best to hand them directly to the customer, however that isn’t best for me all the time.
    I also have had shoppers cancel items that are clearly always in store (ie Lawry’s seasoned salt) and I don’t know why. Maybe they didn’t think to substitute with another brand or package size? Instacart doesn’t have any real answers when I complain, they just say sorry and give me $5 towards my next order. What is the point of getting groceries delivered if items are always missing or substituted wrong? I end up going to the store myself and getting what was missed.
    Shoppers are inconsistent, some are very thorough and communicate (almost messaging too much) during their shopping and some don’t communicate or try to substitute well. I feel bad, I know these are regular people trying to work, I pretty much always give 5 star ratings, as many shoppers have expressed how bad a poor rating is for them -and I tip well, but this service could improve so much, especially for how much we are charged.

    I’m going to look into other services, including Amazon Prime since Amazon has great customer service and they conceal/close bags and drop them off at your door. Customer service and convenience have to be #1. Sorry for the rant lol.

  77. I am 76 and dont drive. I like delivery service. Dont buy meat though. It’s just grab and go. I am also having things shipped to me from Walgreens pharmacy. Great. Just not medications.

  78. I use it regularly and have no problems. You can put notes for the shoppers if you like. You would be foolish to think that there is no cost for this convenience, you are paying for convenience after all! The shoppers do not work for free, and it has helped when people are ill or elderly who don’t want to go out. Many people enjoy the service, and there is an easy solution for those who don’t: go yourself.

  79. Just went to Costco in person after reading this article. I am incredibly grateful for the service of instacart; however, read in the comments that it was probably not worth my reasons for going. I can now compare the prices in my instacart order with my receipt within 1 hour of each other. It was about $.50 to $1.20 more for each item. Plus some fees that I couldn’t quite see that made the order more and then the tip (well-deserved)…it would have been about $40 more for a $220 order that I paid in the store.

  80. You have EVERY reason to not use Instacart. Every time I use it something goes wrong. I’ve had shoppers forget items I ordered even though it says they purchased it and when I asked for a refund from Instacart they tried to give me a credit instead of just refunding my money. This last time the “shopper” never delivered my order and never even tried to contact me to tell me there was a problem. I talked to Instacart and they said they would refund my money, but a week later and I am still waiting on $6. I think that is how much the service fees and taxes, but if I’ve been told the full amount will be refunded, the full amount should be refunded. I will NEVER use Instacart AGAIN!

  81. I tried Instacart a few times. Prices on the site have markups I’m not crazy about. I can’t find an option for 1-hour deliveries. Some options are 2 hours or longer. Today no delivery is all I can see. Fee went down, but fee is mandatory, tips still optional. I have options to not replace, pick my own replacement, or let them choose it. I get texts from my shopper, and I get texts when the delivery is on the way. Can decide tips before or after delivery. I prefer the after option. I tried other delivery from my store and theirs was less user friendly than Instacart is. My store had late delivery drivers, no text options from my shopper, hard to do replacements with them. So I do get more service for my fees and mark-ups on Instacart than the same from the store delivery service. Their service, tip goes to driver and it only showed a tip before delivery option. I am going to try Burpy now. I really appreciate the Instacart website, ease of use with texting and with emails. I didn’t need to play phone tag at all. I walk, use the bus, rides with friends, sometimes taxi or Uber. No kids to deal with. I hate crowded stores and waiting in lines, or carrying extra bags on the bus. (Not much room on busses and it’s not cool to block the aisle with carts and bags full of shopping.)

  82. Added note…it is NOT usual to get the printed receipt the store gave the shopper, it is usual to receive the Instacart receipt, of mark-up prices, from Instacart. I can find it on the Instacart website, and they usually email it as well. One shopper handed me my groceries with the printed receipt from the store. If you shop from them expect only the non-printed one. The difference from the printed one and the Instacart one was about $10 in mark-ups overall.

  83. I used instacart several times after my husband had heart surgery. I cancelled when I had to ask the delivery girl for the receipt from Vons which I always checked against my instacart order. Orders which should not have been on my Vons receipt were there. I could not speak with someone from instacart, but I did speak with our local Vons, and they conformed the items which should not have been there which I believe the instacart shopper added to my order at a self service register (confirmed by Vons) and then kept for herself. This is something that I’m sure is happening with other buyers which they don’t catch unless they check their Vons’ or other stores’ receipts against their instacart orders.

    1. If anyone sees this, how does that work? How can the customer pay for something that does not show up on the Instacart receipt?