Instacart says it will now protect workers’ tips even when asshole customers bait and change

It takes a special kind of an asshole to promise a big cash tip to your grocery delivery guy, only to snatch it at the last minute. But as we reported in 2020, tipping is a real issue for Instacart — and the company has introduced a new policy in which it claims it will protect some of those tips.

Here’s the policy straight from the company’s press release:

Instacart’s first tip protection offer will protect shoppers from customers who remove a tip without reporting a problem with the order. This protection will apply when a customer resets their tip to zero after delivery without reporting an order issue. Instacart will cover the tip amount set to zero, up to $10, to ensure shoppers are not negatively affected. While it’s extremely rare for a tip to be zeroed out after delivery, Instacart wants to make sure shoppers are taken care of if this happens.

Although it seems friendly and generous at first glance, I wonder what Instacart is not tell us about tip-baiting – because if it’s really that simple, these assholes are going to drive a semi-truck through its gigantic, glaring loopholes.

First of all, Instacart does not have to pay these tips if a customer Is report a problem with their grocery delivery. Do we think the kind of asshole who stiffens his delivery guy at the last minute isn’t really making up a bullshit excuse too? This gives Instacart a huge chance.

Second, what will stop a group of people who hate Instacart from force company to pay a lot of tips out of pocket by intentionally omitting a reason for tipping? I would be extremely surprised if the company did not have means to prevent this, means which could make this offer less generous than it seems.

But I don’t know for sure, so I asked Instacart about these two possibilities. I’ll let you know what I hear.

Instacart previously approached tip-baiting in a modest way in 2020 by only giving tip-baiters 24 hours to bait (which still seems like a long time?) and pledging to turn off customers who “consistently and flagrant to this type of behavior. This week’s move is definitely a bigger step, and it’s paired with another addition that workers might also like: If, as a customer, you give your delivery driver five stars, you’ll actually be prompted to tip or increase your tip now.

Please forgive my general skepticism, but I think it’s hugely justified with Instacart and similar companies, which have been found indeed stealing tips from their workers, lobbying their workers with promises they immediately , shameless, broken and now boldly advancing into a world of instant delivery, which we already know can have disastrous consequences for the workers involved.

Instacart, in particular, is under pressure at the moment to show investors some growth: while it is the leading grocery delivery company, it was recently forced to cut its valuation, and the WSJ describes his current challenges in this story. BloombergBrad Stone from ‘s recently wrote about how he and his rivals are all in a rush.

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