Instacart Pricing Change Leading to Threats of a Shopper Boycott

Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery company used by Whole Foods Market, Target, Costco, Petco and many others, is dealing with customer ire as freelance shoppers fulfilling the orders are passing up some jobs due to a change in the pricing structure, Business Insider reports.

At the same time a number of shoppers have taken to Twitter to call for a boycott of the service on social media, due to what they say amounts to a drastic pay reduction.

Under the new pricing structure, which pays shoppers a variable rate based on factors like the number of items, weight and trip length instead of a flat fee, some shoppers say they are seeing their pay drastically cut. The new structure is up in some areas and being rolled out to others.

A spokesman for Instacart told BI the average pay has stayed the same under the new pricing structure, adding the response has been mostly positive from its 70,000 shoppers.

Here are some sample Tweets from angry Instacart shoppers:

My pay has been reduced by over 50%. I hardly accept any of the orders offered anymore 🙁 Its heartbreaking because I LOVED shopping for customers but on some of the order offers Id literally be paying to do the job! Use instead!

nadia reddy‏ @nadianreddy Dec 4

I’m glad I’m not the only Instacart shopper to realize how much your new payment structure is hurting us. You had the potential to set a new standard and now an 11 hour day of work barely pays out more than $100 after gas and living expenses. #instacart

Lu‏ @Luor32 Dec 4

@apoorva_mehta what the hell is this! $10 for costco order ain’t no one doing that I know, 7 billion and can’t pay shoppers who made @Instacart the success it is, what goes up must come down #instacart #bettersteup #companyfail #boycott

You can read the rest of the story here.

MCM Musings: It seems labor, wage and working condition issues have caught up with Instacart as they have with Amazon and others in the world of ecommerce fulfillment. Many workers in the gig economy who take on these often temporary, contract and relatively low-paying jobs are making their voices heard, causing PR headaches for the companies they are helping to succeed. At the same time and in related fashion the national $15 minimum wage push is putting pressure on companies that count on fulfillment center associates to get orders out the door. Here as in many other arenas Amazon is making life difficult for everyone else by upping its minimum wage to $15, as has its hometown of Seattle.