Messages with Instacart worker (L, R), Instacart app (M)

@mel.pel/TikTok Tada Images/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘Those are completely different things’: TikToker shows Instacart grocery substitutions they were offered, sparking debate

'Instacart actually suggests the replacements... but I disregard those bc they’re always so bad.'


Gisselle Hernandez


Posted on Feb 20, 2022   Updated on Feb 21, 2022, 10:13 am CST

A TikToker shared their Instacart order replacements after their personal shopper was unable to retrieve some requested grocery items at an Aldi’s.  

User Mel Pellicano (@mel.pel) was using the grocery delivery and pick-up service to restock on some eggs when they decided to order a few other items as well. The TikTok shows a screenshot of the chat between Pellicano and the shopper, “Hannah.” 

@mel.pel #instacart ♬ original sound – Mel Pelli

“I am thoroughly confused,” Pellicano begins in the video. They then share the items their shopper used as replacements for the items she could not find. 

“I [ordered] french toast sticks… and she replaced it with corn dogs,” the TikToker says in the video. “And then I wanted meatballs and she replaced it with green beans.” 

“Hannah” attached a photo of the green beans, asking Pellicano if there is a replacement in the photo they would like. 

“Those are completely different things lol,” Pellicano writes back. 

Pellicano explained in the comments section that the shopper eventually ended up leaving the order open because she had work in 20 minutes. 

The TikTok of the interaction has amassed more than 50,000 views since it was posted on Feb. 3. According to the majority of the comments, Pellicano’s experience was not a unique one. 

“I ordered 7 pot pies and she replaced it with 7 cans of soup and a can opener,” a user wrote. 

“I requested tampons and got them replaced with q-tips from Wal-Mart,” another added. 

However, it seems the “ridiculous” replacements may not be up to the shopper. 

“Instacart actually suggests the replacements,” a user explained in the comments.  “It tells us what to replace it with, but I disregard those bc they’re always so bad.” 

“That actually makes a lot more sense,” a viewer replied. “Because you just don’t believe that a human being is actually coming up with this.”

“Sadly we get in trouble if we don’t offer replacements even if they’re ridiculous,” an alleged Instacart shopper commented. 

Other commenters advised Pellicano that they should’ve picked their own replacements since some shoppers just choose whatever the app tells them. The TikToker responded to one of these remarks saying that’s what they ended up doing.

“The app gives them equal priced items, not necessarily similar items,” one viewer wrote. 

Still, some commenters choose to steer completely away from substitutes. “This is literally why I opt out of replacements,” one wrote. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to Pellicano via TikTok comment and Instagram direct message, as well as Instacart via email. 

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*First Published: Feb 20, 2022, 3:39 pm CST