Bait-and-Switch

by | Apr 10, 2020

Demand for grocery delivery is surging amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and many customers are struggling to get the items they want or even a time slot for delivery. Some people are dealing with that by offering big tips, as high as $50 or more, to entice Instacart workers to pick up their orders.

But some of those people have turned the tactic into a bait-and-switch, offering up the big tip and then taking it away as soon as the person who risked their health to get them their groceries has made the delivery.

Before accepting a “batch” — which can consist of one or a few orders from different customers — workers can see the items requested, the store location, the payment Instacart provides workers for the job, and the tip being offered. Instacart allows customers to change the tip amount for up to three days.

While some workers said they have grown wary of large tips because of tip baiting, others sometimes risk picking up low tip orders in the hopes the person will pay more in cash. It doesn’t always work, though.

Jenifer G., an Instacart worker, said she recently picked up a 112-item order from Aldi for a person who put a $1 tip in the app and there was no cash tip waiting.

“No matter what, never trust a tip,” she said.

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