An Instacart customer didn’t seem too pleased upon seeing just how much more of a premium she was paying for groceries to be delivered to her rather than getting them at the store herself.
Sophia Kokolakis (@sophiakokolakis) posted a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 236,000 views on the popular social media platform where she discovers that her personal Instacart shopper left the store’s physical receipt in the bag.
The influencer was stunned to discover that the upcharge was a lot higher than she expected, stating there was a $77 price difference between the amount of money she paid on Instacart versus what the groceries cost in-store.
Folks who responded to her story said that they too have experienced “sticker shock” upon seeing the true cost of the groceries, while others informed her that there are ways to get around the Instacart upcharges from the particular retailer she named in the video, Loblaws.
@sophiakokolakis that was a little higher than expected but oh well im still lazy #instacart #instacartshopper #groceries #instacartcustomer #foodprices #foodcosts ♬ original sound – sophia koko
“Wow, this is honestly the first time that an Instacart delivery person has left the receipt in the bag, and my total was $221 and I paid $298 on Instacart. From Loblaws,” Kokolakis shares in the video. “Damn.”
The issue of “hidden markups” on items customers select and purchase from particular retailers on Instacart has been an issue many shoppers have complained about. It appears that there is proof to support that their suspicions of price discrepancies between what stores are charging and what Instacart lists the prices for are legitimate. A CBC report named Loblaws, along with Walmart and Costco, as being sold for a higher price when purchased via Instacart’s application versus the respective store’s websites or brick-and-mortar operations. “Investigation into groceries being sold on Instacart from Loblaws, Costco and Walmart found that shoppers at Loblaws and Costco are paying about 10 percent more per grocery item beyond the itemized delivery and service fees, as well as missing out on advertised in-store specials and sales at Loblaws,” the outlet wrote.
Instacart states on its site that individual businesses set their prices, not the app. “Retailers set the prices of items on the Instacart marketplace. While many retailers offer everyday store prices on Instacart, other retailers may set prices on the Instacart platform that are different than in-store prices,” it reads.
The Krazy Koupon Lady, a popular retail-savings blog, also wrote that Publix groceries delivered through Instacart may cost up to 30% more, which doesn’t include the app’s delivery and other service fees, meaning that shoppers who elect to pick their items on the Instacart application itself may be giving their money away just because. Another reason for this, the outlet indicates is: “The Publix Delivery app doesn’t offer the same coupons, promos, or deals as in store.”
Of course, Instacart users have hopped online to share their own anecdotes about spotting differences in pricing when browsing a store’s website, like Costco, and then seeing then comparing the prices on the Instacart app.
One Redditor said, “I was on the Costco app and Instacart and noticed that the prices were different for some items, not by much but some items were more expensive by a couple dollars for the same exact item on Instacart.”
So what’s a person who wants to get their groceries delivered to their home to do? Are they forced to forever pay more for their food simply because they don’t have the time or faculties to physically shop for themselves?
Well, one TikToker who responded to Kokolakis’ video touched upon a service feature that many stores are offering their customers to secure sales via the benefit of convenience. “Just order through loblaws website itself. they use door dash to deliver and you don’t pay any u[p]charges,” they suggested.
According to Grocery Dive, Loblaws orders that are $40 or more will receive $10 off of the cost of the groceries, and DashPass users enjoy even more discounts, cutting the cost of delivery and service fees when these orders are placed through the Loblaws website, thanks to a partnership the chain has made with DoorDash.
Other retailers rely on monthly subscription premiums as a means of covering free delivery for their customers who shell out the extra coinage every month. Walmart+, Amazon Prime, and Kroger Boost are just a few examples of some grocery delivery services that don’t feature upcharges on products. Again, folks must place their orders through the individual stores’ websites themselves and not through delivery applications in order to ensure they aren’t being upcharged.
In some instances, retailers will charge a nominal delivery fee, like Costco, to have products brought to a shopper’s home. However, the cost of the products will be the same as if one were purchasing them in-store and often carry the same promotional prices.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Instacart via email and Kokolakis via TikTok comment for further information.