Woman talking(l), Phone with instacart app open(c), Woman with long receipt(r)

sdx15/Shutterstock @emmmroses/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘It’s not customers responsibility to make up for lack of pay’: Viewers divided over Instacart shopper urging customers to tip after getting paid $25 for 250-item order

'I wouldn't go to the store myself and get 3 carts of stuff in 1 trip, how could I expect someone else to!'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Feb 8, 2024   Updated on Feb 14, 2024, 12:44 pm CST

Workers frequently use social media to call on customers and employers for better treatment—particularly gig workers using platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Instacart.

One Instacart shopper is calling on viewers to be better tippers when placing large orders. The delivery driver, Em (@emmmroses on TikTok), says she was tipped just $25 on a large order that ended up being very physically demanding to complete.

“So I just got home from a nightmare of an Instacart night,” she says in the video. “I accepted an order and I really should have taken a closer look at how big it was. It was about 250 items.”

Em says the order was dropped by two prior Instacart shoppers, likely due to its size. “As soon as I accepted it I got a message in the app instantly from the person who ordered it and she was very grateful that I even picked it up,” she explains. “I guess two other Instacart drivers had started it and then one of them straight up called her and cussed her out and then the other one just canceled it. I probably should have taken those as warnings.”

She says the customer acknowledged the tip she had listed for the order was not very high to start with, but said she would add more to it later, as she could not change the tip while the order was in progress.

While the customer did increase her tip, Em says her total payout ended up not being worth the effort. The large order barely fit in her car and took 17 trips up and down stairs to the customer’s second-floor apartment.

When she tried to complete the delivery, she says her phone died, leaving her unable to take the required photo to prove it was delivered until she was able to charge it in her car.

“It was backbreaking, and by then my phone was about to die. The straw that broke the camel’s back—it dies right as I’m trying to take the photo,” she says. “So I sit in my car, I let it charge for a while. It gets up to 2%. I go up to take the photo again, it dies again. At that point, I just start crying because all of this is for like $25, and by then it’s been like four hours.”

She says the experience taught her to be more selective about the batches she chooses to take on through the delivery app. Still, she called on viewers to be more cognizant of whether they are tipping delivery drivers fairly, especially for large orders.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Em via a comment on the video.

Several viewers suggested either that customers should take it upon themselves to only use delivery for small orders or that the app should put a cap on the number of items customers can purchase at once.

“Can we normalize using these apps for the things we forgot and not 1000 things,” one commenter wrote. “(I’m only talking about those who are ABLE to go to the store but choose not to).”

“There should be a cap on the amount of items you can order,” another argued. “I wouldn’t go to the store myself and get 3 carts of stuff in 1 trip, how could I expect someone else to!”

“Even as someone with a disability who can sometimes struggle to get to the store, they should def have a cap, break it into multiple orders,” a further user said.

@emmmroses I really need a job #delivery #instacart #instacartshopper #gigwork #capitalism #fyp ♬ original sound – Em

Others argued that it should be on the delivery service to compensate drivers differently, not on the customer to make up the difference.

“It’s not so much the customer but Instacart not paying you what you deserve,” one commenter wrote.

“I hear you but tipping is a function of the total due a better argument would be for Instacart which is already marking up the price of individual items to pay you a living wage,” another added.

“Unfortunately, this is why many gig workers no longer do the work and got another job,” a third claimed. “It’s not the customers responsibility to make up for lack of pay from IC.”

Em noted in her caption that, like that commenter suggested, she’s trying to get away from low-paying gig work. “I need a job,” she wrote.

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*First Published: Feb 8, 2024, 5:00 am CST