The Big Problem Instacart Workers Have With The Latest Tipping Policy

Back in 2020, Instacart workers faced a wave of tip-baiting issues. According to Delish, this practice occurs when a customer promises large tips to guarantee an order gets filled faster, but then significantly reduces the tip upon delivery. The problem took off during the pandemic, as some workers relied on filling Instacart orders to make a living, while shoppers relied on the contact-free delivery method to get groceries. The grocery shopping service used to give customers three days to adjust the tip amount but narrowed down the timeframe to a 24-hour window to combat tip-baiting in 2020, while attempting to ban users that engaged in this practice.

Customers started to find manipulative ways to ensure Instacart shoppers completed orders correctly and quickly at the beginning of the pandemic when COVID-19 cases seemed to exponentially increase by the day. USA Today reported that during April 2020, Instacart customers accused the company's shoppers of stealing groceries and mishandling their goods, while the company struggled to operate under the weight of the emerging pandemic. Instacart now has a new way of addressing customer-driven fraud with a pilot program that has caused some issues with Instacart's employees.

A controversial method of addressing tip-baiting

In a recent Reddit post, a user posted a message from Instacart outlining a new policy that addresses tip-baiting. The company started a pilot program for customers to tip once the delivery gets completed, and warned its grocery delivery workers that they should expect to see some orders that don't come with a tip at all. Employees of the company on Reddit couldn't believe the company would come up with this policy and vented in the comment section of the post.

Replies ranged from: "I would not recommend taking no tip orders even with this change, as customer still has only 24 hours to add or change a tip after delivery. IMO it's to stop tip baiting, but the real reason is to get shoppers to deliver the no tip customers and have shoppers hoping they will add a tip later (kind of like how Shipt doesn't show tips)," to "And once they have the groceries, what is the incentive to tip at that point. This is ridiculous."

Others on Reddit threatened to leave the company if this pilot program really took off, with one user stating, "If so, that's the end for me. I wouldn't take a batch with the hope of a tip. Tips need to be shown upfront or no go." Only time can tell what happens next, but hopefully, Instacart can address this issue and find a middle ground that can appeal to its employees and customers alike.