young woman over Kevita drink background

Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock @five_star_shopper/TikTok (Licensed)

‘If you’re gonna scam, do your freaking homework’: Instacart shopper says ‘Kombucha Karen’ customer lied to get $2 refund

'Picky customers are often the ones that will try to find anything they can to blame the shopper and get out of paying for their groceries.'


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on May 10, 2022   Updated on May 11, 2022, 9:33 am CDT

TikTok is full of customer service horror stories, but this one is impressively petty. It involves an Instacart customer who allegedly invented an elaborate lie to get a $2 refund—and was outwitted because the Instacart shopper kept detailed documentation of her attempted scam.

This two-part TikTok story went viral to the tune of 870,000 views this week, with TikToker @five_star_shopper describing her encounter with a woman nicknamed “Kombucha Karen.” She says this customer left extremely specific instructions on her Instacart order, including a note requesting absolutely no kombucha. The TikToker says the customer ordered a sparkling probiotic drink (not kombucha!), which @five_star_shopper located and scanned in the app.

But after the order arrived, she says the customer left an enraged comment, complaining that the shopper had bought kombucha instead. It turned into the kind of messy customer interaction that requires two entire TikToks to describe.

@five_star_shopper Reply to @bek42211 Kombucha Karen pt 1 #fyp #instacart #storytime #instacartstorytime #instacartcustomer #customersbelike #crazycustomer #karen #instacartshopper #instacartdelivery #scam ♬ original sound – Ella

As you can probably guess from her username, @five_star_shopper takes pride in her work. Noticing that the customer’s order was unusually detailed, she says she took photos and kept documentation for every part of the order process, including the fact that she definitely didn’t buy kombucha.

In the second TikTok, she explains that she even spoke to the manager of the store in question, confirming that it doesn’t actually sell the drink that the customer accuses her of buying. “It’s not even listed on the Instacart platform!” she says, adding that this was more than enough proof to get the customer’s negative review taken down.

“My overall thought with this is like, if you’re gonna scam, do your freaking homework!” she says.

@five_star_shopper Kombucha Karen pt 2 #fyp #instacart #storytime #instacartstorytime #instacartcustomer #customersbelike #crazycustomer #karen #instacartshopper #instacartdelivery #scam ♬ original sound – Ella

Naturally this saga attracted plenty of attention on TikTok, with people leaving comments about their own bad customer experiences—and complimenting the TikToker on her attention to detail. “Bottom line, you are way over qualified for that job,” one wrote, to which @five_star_shopper said: “Ain’t that the truth.”

Others had an intriguing theory about the woman’s reaction. “I don’t think she knows what Kombucha is,” one said.

Once again, TikTok is helping to publicize what customer service workers have to deal with. It’s satisfying to see someone outwit a difficult customer like this, but these TikToks also illustrate the amount of extra work delivery workers are sometimes forced to do to keep their ratings up, get adequately tipped, or stay on the app.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @five_star_shopper via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: May 10, 2022, 7:29 am CDT