Friday, March 24

Quick Look: Instacart’s Grocery Shopping System

Instacart makes quick and effortless grocery shopping. Yet tipping out Instacart shoppers on regular and costly orders can become expensive. It’s a downside which will probably stop me from becoming a regular customer.

I recently tried Instacart, and it was the best grocery delivery I’ve ever used.

The quality of the operation, the range of options and the accuracy of my order were unparalleled as compared to other delivery companies I tried.

But there’s one downside that makes it unlikely I’ll become a regular client. But you still need to leave some tip for the shopper and driver. If you want to learn how much to tip Instacart drivers you may want to check out this post.

I downloaded the Instacart app to create my order, and picked a list of 29 items from Whole Foods. Additionally, I could get products shipped at an additional charge from Wegmans, Publix, CVS and other local stores.

I opted to have the groceries delivered within two hours of my order, although I was given the option by Instacart to have them delivered even earlier. The fee for the service is effectively a donation to Instacart. The company says it’s used to help Instacart run and is not going to the shopper selling the order.

However, customers can waive the fee. And I decided to waive it, and instead give my shopper the 10 percent tip. In the end my overall order came to $162.98.

I checked all the items and took them inside. I noticed nothing was missing from the order, none of the eggs were damaged, and almost all the goods were in good condition. I’d probably have picked another sweet potato since this one missed a piece, but that won’t affect my ability to cook with it.

Overall, I enjoyed my Instacart experience. As a working parent I am always looking for ways to save time, so I was considering signing up with Instacart Express for the $149 annual membership, which comes with free, unlimited delivery on the same day.

But when I did the maths, I changed my mind to figure out how much I would pay in tips every year. I figured that if I tipped about 15 per cent on weekly orders of about $150, I would pay more than $1,000 annually.

It’s obvious from Instacart that tips are optional. But to someone who spends over an hour searching for dozens of items in a supermarket and then delivering them to my doorstep I wouldn’t deny a tip.

Many delivery services I’ve used, such as Kroger’s ClickList and Fresh Direct, have not brought up this issue for me. Such services only offer the option to tip delivery drivers, not shoppers, so usually, the tips aren’t tied to the order cost.

When asked about this question, Instacart spokeswoman Dacyl Armendariz said many consumers actually save money by shopping with Instacart “because it helps them to better stick to their list by removing the temptation that can lie around every corner of the grocery store.”

“That, along with the fact that Instacart is a great tool for meal planning, is why Instacart is quoted frequently in’ “Moreover, by becoming Instacart Express members and having access to unlimited, free delivery on the same day, many of our customers save big over time.”