During this pandemic, thousands of stories of Americans coming together to help one another, to be an example of goodness and good citizenship, going out of their way to perform extreme acts of kindness, have made the newscycle a little more lighthearted in the midst of all this fear and anxiety. However, some of our neighbors may be part of a large series of unethical behavior that is leaving essential employees stuck with enough work being lied to and abused.
According to a recent article from Business Insider, “Instacart customers are baiting workers by enticing them with hefty tips and then removing the money once an order is complete.” The article states that “Instacart employees said customers are enticing them with hefty tips, only to retroactively remove them for the order, leading to an influx of canceled or reduced tips in recent weeks.” One such story involves an employee based out of Portland, Oregon who said she was “flabbergasted” after the $55 “she was slated to receive in tips from an order suddenly disappeared, leaving her earnings at just $8.95 from Instacart’s batch payment fee.”
The Instacart employee tricked by the deceptive customer is Portland resident Annaliisa Arambula, who told reporters that the incident left her extremely demoralized. “It’s very demoralizing, “Arambula said, “I don’t pretend to be a hero, like a nurse in a hospital… but I literally am exposing myself [to coronavirus] and when I return home, exposing my own family to the possibility of transmitting this disease. When you know that it’s somebody who’s just doing it to game the system and to get their order when they want it, it’s really frustrating.”
This series of tip baiting affecting Annaliise and many other Instacart employees comes only a few days after a group of employees staged a strike in late March, “calling for adequate safety gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, hazard pay of an additional $5 per order, and an automatic 10% tip, among other requests” made to Instacart.
Heeding the employee demands, “Instacard executives said they would provide precautions like hand sanitizer and claimed it would use a customers’ last tip as the default on new orders– efforts Instacard workers said was not enough.”
“Workers should not be risking their lives for pocket change,” workers said in an official statement by the strikers. “Setting the tip amount to whatever a customer had previously tipped is ridiculous because most previous customers would have tipped a different (lesser) amount back when things were normal. This will, in all likelihood, provide no meaningful benefit to Shoppers.”
Like many Americans still working in this current environment, Instacart workers have also had to contend with empty shelves at local stores as well as limited availability of certain items. Instacart states this pandemic has also increased the volume of total orders due to recent stay at home directives. Instacart did not respond to Business Insider who asked for news on pending developments for employee well-being or striker demands.