Instacart is under fire for how it compensates shoppers

Megan Rose Dickey

The Tech Workers Coalition and Gig Workers Rising are outside the company's headquarters in San Francisco this morning in support of shoppers, who demand Instacart reinstate the $3 quality bonus, implement a 10% default tip and eliminate its service fees.

Last week, Instacart got rid of the $3 quality bonus shortly after thousands of shoppers participated in a 72-hour strike where workers demanded a better tip and fee structure. By protesting outside of Instacart's SF HQ, shoppers are hoping to reach employees and get them on their side.

"We're asking that Instacart employees urge management to reverse this decision," organizers wrote in a handout. "As a worker who builds the product, you have a say over how it's used."

Instacart, in a statement to TechCrunch, said it's committed to providing its shoppers with an earnings structure that offers upfront pay and guaranteed minimums.

"We respect the voices of all shoppers and take the feedback of our community very seriously," an Instacart spokesperson said in a statement. "We will continue to listen and engage with shoppers to improve their experience."

Back in 2016, Instacart removed the option to tip in favor of guaranteeing its workers higher delivery commissions. About a month later, following pressure from its workers, the company reintroduced tipping. Then, in April 2018, Instacart began suggesting a 5% default tip and reduced its service fee from a 10% waivable fee to a 5% fixed fee.

“We take the feedback of the shopper community very seriously and remain committed to listening to and using that feedback to improve their experience,” an Instacart spokesperson told TechCrunch last month.

The protest was on the heels of a class-action lawsuit over wages and tips, as well as a tipping debacle where Instacart included tips in its base pay for shoppers. Instacart, however, has since stopped that practice and provided shoppers with back pay. Though, Fast Company recently reported that Instacart delivery drivers’ tips are mysteriously decreasing.

Following Instacart's post-protest move to eliminate the $3 quality bonus, #DeleteInstacart and #BoycottInstacart started making waves on Twitter. California Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez, the one who authored gig worker bill AB-5, joined in.


Instacart shoppers are organizing a nationwide protest