Instacart Shoppers: Avoid These 7 Beginner Mistakes

Don’t feel safe with passengers in your car? Many drivers are switching to delivery apps like Instacart. You will still come in contact with the public, but with less close contact inside of an enclosed space, it may be a safer option.

Katie over at The Rideshare Guy recorded a great video covering mistakes that all new Instacart shoppers can avoid. It’s great advice! Take a look at her video, and scroll to read the transcript.

I once delivered eight cases of water, eight giant things of toilet paper, eight giant containers of paper towels, and countless other items. I couldn’t see out of any of my car windows. I nearly got in three different car accidents!

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I am going to go through my rookie mistakes so hopefully you can employ the pain and suffering that I went through as a rookie. Stay with me to the end to hear about my worst disaster story with Instacart.

These gig-based jobs have a huge community, so I think it’s really important to learn through other people’s mistakes. So you don’t have to go through the same disasters.

Accepting Huge Wholesale Store Orders

At huge stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, customers can get massive quantities of heavy items.¬†They have five items, and they can get three of each. So it ends up being like 15 units. It’s just not worth it to me to stop pile my car for one order.

It seems that customers will do their monthly shopping with Instacart sometimes, and it’s just so much. It would never fit in a regular car. I’ve had really bad experiences in the past. And so I recommend if you’re going to shop wholesale doors, make sure they’re very small orders and that the payout is really good.

Delivering to a Different Delivery Address

It’s a mistake to deliver to a different delivery address than what’s actually on their order. This can happen a lot of the time when people use their app to shop for their grandma or their mother-in-law, or someone who can’t leave the house. So instead of their grandma making the order, they’ll go ahead and do it and then have it delivered to their grandma’s house.

The problem happens when they make an order for themselves and forget to change the delivery address. This has happened to me two times in the past and it’s been okay. But in a recent order, I went ahead and took it even though I could see that the customer had been chatting on and on with a customer service rep, instead of just canceling her order. The delivery address was 20 plus miles away.

So I really naively assumed that the customer would give me an additional tip for my mileage, for my time, and for my trouble with the order. And that wasn’t the case. I ended up spending an hour and a half on this order and driving 20 plus miles. I got $12 out of it.

If you notice that the customer has been trying to cancel the order or that they’re telling you to deliver to a different address, go ahead and tell them to cancel the order. You can say that it’s out of your zone.

Shopping for Businesses

There’s kind of a long longstanding joke about shopping for businesses in the Instacart national group on Facebook. I think 90% of us just refuse to do it. For some reason, they don’t tip! They treat you as if you work for them. As if you’re an intern, they don’t help out at all.

It’s not the same experience as if you’re delivering groceries to a personal address. You’ll know it’s a business because it’ll look like a little monopoly hotel symbol in the app. Sometimes that just means that it’s a hotel, which I’ll take it.

If it’s only like a couple items and it’s a two mile trip, I’ll take the risk. But if I can tell it’s a business, I avoid it.

Parking in a Tow Zone

I mentioned in another tutorial that I try to park next to the car corral because it’s more efficient. But never, ever park in a tow zone. In a lot of different cities, there’s just not enough parking. Or if I was shopping and delivering in downtown areas, which I refuse to do anymore, there was always an issue with parking.

It just seemed to take forever to get ahold of the customer, to find parking, to pay for parking, to get reimbursed for parking. Oh my gosh. I can’t even tell you. There’ve been a couple of times where a customer will not have parking spots and they’ll just say, Oh yeah, just park in the handicap zone.

There was one time I was delivering to a busy town center and the only parking spot was a handicap spot right in front of this busy restaurant. I just told her, I’m not risking my car getting towed. You need to come down from your apartment, which was like a half mile away. And then I would have to have search for her while my car is parked illegally. And I just told her, you need to come get your groceries. Cause I’m not gonna risk it.

Wearing Instacart Gear

In the beginning, they used to hand out shirts and necklaces. I just stopped wearing them. I realized that the cashiers were less friendly. Even customers in the store were less friendly because they acted as if you worked there. They would stop and ask you questions. You don’t have to wear it. You’re not an employee.

Accepting Triple Batches or Large Double Batches

There is just no way I will accept these. I don’t like to keep any groceries in my car for longer than 20 minutes. I start freaking out. Even if they’re in cooler bags. For me, it should be: Shop, pay, deliver. That’s hard to do with too many batches.

When you have triple batches, you have to deal with traffic. There’s so many variables that I don’t want to mess with. So I stopped accepting triple batches a long time ago. With large double batches, there’s so much room for error there for things to get mixed up.

Sometimes you’ll have this huge double batch, and it’ll have ice cream and all these frozen things and cold things, and it will be the last thing to be delivered. The last order just would stress me out. So if I’m going to take a double batch at all, it’s gonna be very small items, very small mileage, and the pay is going to be too good to pass up.

Getting More Than Three Cases of Water

I specifically remember one time when I was delivering, and the man wheels out a little dolly and watches me go back and forth — five months pregnant — with eight cases of water, plus all his groceries. It’s kind of an abuse of the platform. We’re not a water delivery service. We don’t drive huge trucks that can store water. We’re not equipped for that.

But the problem is a lot of businesses will treat us as water delivery services. We’re doing back and forth up high-rises and they’re not tipping. They’re not even saying thank you!

If a customer orders eight cases, you can just tell them, “Oh, I’m sorry. I can only fit three safely in my car.” Customers will get mad about this, but keep going onto the next customers. Most customers are starting to figure out that we drive regular cars and we’re not Sparkletts.

Bonus: My Rookie Mistake

My rookie mistake was that I accepted an order from Costco that was maybe 12 items, maybe 15 to 20 units. As it turns out, it was giant things that toilet paper and paper towels. I’m in a Jeep Patriot that holds five people, with decently sized in a trunk in the back. Every single window was blocked. I couldn’t see out of anything. I couldn’t see my mirrors because my mirrors were blocked.

I was sweating the whole time. And I think I made $18 off that batch. Totally not worth it.

Thank you so much for watching. If you liked this video, please hit that like button. Thank you so much for watching. Be well, be blessed!

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