The Rudest Things You Do on Instacart, According to Former Employees

Yes, you can still be that person on Instacart.

Instacart app
Photo: Shutterstock/Adobe Stock/Allrecipes

Instacart is a phenomenal service. Whether you can't make it to the grocery store or simply hate the mundane task of weekly shopping, having someone else do it for you is an awesome luxury.

However, using Instacart is more than just submitting your grocery list to an app and finding the grocery bags at your door a few hours later. There are a few things you can (and should) always do to make your Instacart shoppers' job just a little bit easier.

We all know there are rude things that we've seen happen at the grocery store. But just because you're not going to the store yourself, doesn't mean there aren't rude things you do while shopping via Instacart.

We talked to former Instacart shoppers to find out what customers do that is actually kind of rude—and easy fixes for customers to remedy the situation.

Not Tipping Your Shopper

Tipping is not required in any scenario, but it is always a nice thing to do. Your Instacart shopper is providing you with a service, and it's customary to show your appreciation of that service with a gratuity.

Just like in restaurants or salons, your Instacart shopper gets paid a flat fee for their service. Typically, for full-service orders (which is both shopping and delivery), the shopper will be paid $7—while not all orders take an hour to complete, this is less than the national hourly minimum wage. So, many shoppers rely on tips to bolster their earnings.

In fact, most Instacart shoppers won't accept an order if there isn't a tip.

So, how much should you tip your shoppers? Even though Instacart sets its default tip amount to 5 percent, you're able to change that amount. In general, it's recommended to tip grocery delivery workers 15 to 20 percent—or more if it's a large or complicated order.

Instacart also allows you to adjust your tip for 14 days after your order. So you could add a few more dollars if you felt your shopper went above and beyond.

Of course, this also means you can revoke your tip if you felt something went wrong. However, it's also seen as rude to "bait" Instacart shoppers with a high tip on your order just so they will accept it, to then cut that tip amount down after the shopper finished the order for no reason.

When it comes to tipping, use your best judgment, but throw your shopper at least a few extra dollars (even on small orders).

Not Inputting Your Preferred Replacements or Refunds

In these times of grocery shortages, there's a good chance your store isn't going to have every single item you requested. That's why Instacart gives customers the option to request a replacement or a refund if the store is out of your preferred item.

Filling out that section tells the shopper what to do if they can't find the item, which makes it easy on them and you.

Even if it's something as simple as a brand name of paper towels, the shopper doesn't know if you're okay with the private label, another brand, or another product from the original brand. If there's a replacement option, the shopper won't have to make that decision themselves or wait for you to respond to their message.

And you don't run the risk of getting a weird replacement that you don't actually want—because we've all seen the photos of customers asking for grapes and getting raisins instead because the store was out.

Inputting your preferences for every item might make assembling your order take longer, but it's worth it in the long run for both parties.

Not Responding to Your Shopper's Messages

This problem could almost always be solved by following the advice above, however, sometimes your Instacart shopper will have to message you. Maybe they're lost or the store just truly doesn't have anything you ordered.

Whatever the reason, you should respond to your shopper. We know you ordered on Instacart to not worry about grocery shopping, but sending a quick response shouldn't take too long.

Again, this will make your shoppers' experience easier and save you from getting bad replacements or losing out on your entire order because the shopper can't find your house. Because, yes, even after the shopper is done shopping, they can cancel your order.

Responding to Messages After the Shopper Is on Their Way to You

Yes, responding to your shopper is good, but if they've already left the store then it's a little too late. Always be sure to answer your shopper's messages in a timely manner because the reality is they're not going to stay at the store for an extended period of time waiting for you to respond.

The app tells you when your shopper is checking out and on their way to you, so if you haven't responded to their replacement question, you've already missed your chance.

Adding 15 New Items While Your Shopper Is at the Store

If you forgot one or two items when making your order, sure go ahead and add them. But, if you're adding more than five things, that may be getting excessive.

If you really do need to add a lot more items, the courteous thing to do is message your shopper and let them know—and if you plan on tipping them more because of it, let them know that too. From there, it's up to them to decide if they want to keep your larger order or cancel it.

But, if you start your order smaller so that a shopper will pick it up and then add a bunch of items because you knew no one would want it, that's just not cool. If you need that many additional items, you might want to think about starting a new Instacart order.

Giving Vague Delivery Instructions

Delivery instructions are not necessary, but they are extremely helpful for the shopper—especially if you live in an apartment complex or neighborhood where the house numbers are hard to see. Just a few descriptors about your front door or even the design of your doormat are great.

And if you know the GPS always takes the driver to the wrong address, put that in the instructions with some notes on how to find you. Again, Instacart shoppers can cancel your order if they're unable to figure out where to deliver or get ahold of you, so try to help them out if you can.

Additionally, if you have a specific request for where you'd like the groceries delivered, put it in the instructions. Shoppers aren't mind readers, so they won't know that you left the garage door open for them to place the bags inside if you don't tell them.

Not Providing the Necessary Information for Delivery

In a similar vein to the delivery instructions, if more information is needed for delivery, you have to let your shopper know.

If you live in a gated community, make sure you give them the gate code. If you need to buzz them into your apartment building, let them know that and be ready to let them in. Whatever the crucial details are, be sure to share them with your driver so they can make a smooth delivery.

Letting Your Dog (Or Kids) Run Wild During Delivery

Your Instacart driver is already working hard to unload your groceries for you. The last thing they need is your dog jumping all over them or your kids trying to play with them.

They're your grocery delivery person, not a dogsitter or babysitter, don't make them feel responsible for those things as well. Keep your dog on a leash, or better yet inside, and bring your kids inside as well or keep an eye on them while the Instacart shopper makes the drop.

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