Open Letter to Fidji Simo
Dear Fidji Simo,
On Saturday, shoppers walked off and called upon customers to delete Instacart due to low pay and poor working conditions. The goal of the protest was to improve our conditions by centering shopper’s demands and grievances as Instacart preps for its IPO. Customers and shoppers recognize that Instacart’s new CEO is already making things worse for shoppers, and no amount of buzzing PR fluff about an IPO can drown out our voice.
Here’s some of the stories shoppers have shared since walking off:
Forbes — Why Do Gig Workers Want You To Delete Instacart?
The Guardian — ‘Tired of Being Stepped On’: Instacart Shoppers Urge Customers to Delete App
The Guardian — ‘It’s a Sweat Factory”: Instacart workers ready to strike for pay and conditions
Vice — Instacart Shoppers Will Stage Nationwide Protest
TechCrunch — Instacart Shopper Activist Group Asks Customers to Delete The App Until Demands for Better Working Conditions Are Met
The Verge — Some Instacart shoppers Plan Saturday Strike Over Pay and Work Conditions.
You’re still not only ignoring shoppers, but disregarding them in the press. Additionally, shoppers tried getting your attention on Twitter. And how did you respond? By changing your twitter settings, and no longer allowing shoppers to publicly respond at you.
We can assure you that ignoring shoppers will not make us go away, in fact it only makes us more agitated. Instacart’s greed has only fueled shoppers to become involved in organizing efforts, and our collective power as shoppers is only growing.
Here are some of the stories Canadian shoppers have shared:
CBC — Instacart ‘Shoppers” Baffled by Shrinking Paychecks
CTV News — Canadian Instacart Workers to Walk Off Job in Bid for Better Working Conditions
The Globe and Mail — Instacart Workers in Canada and US to Walk Off Job In Bid to Secure Better Working Conditions
As previously mentioned, we will not stop until shoppers’ 5 reasonable demands are met:
- Instacart shoppers must be paid $7 per order, and not by batch. In 2019, when Apoorva Mehta publicly apologized for supplementing pay with tips in response to our protests, the company lowered the base pay floor from $10 to $7. But that’s not even the worst part — that $7 figure could cover up to three orders at once. If we shopped a single order, the base pay would be $7, but if we shopped three orders at once, the base pay would be $7 for the lot. Instead of a shopper fulfilling three orders for a total of $30 base, we now do it for a $7 base. This is effectively a 76% cut to base pay, and is unacceptable.
- Instacart must re-introduce item commission. When Instacart lowered our base pay, it also removed item commission. The $7 base pay was supposed to be a floor that would raise depending on the size of the order. However, nearly every order now pays $7 regardless of the size. A single two item order pays $7, and a triple 50 item order pays $7. Item commission ensures that workers are paid for their time, since the more items that are in the order, the longer it takes to fill.
- Instacart’s rating system can no longer unfairly punish shoppers for issues outside their control. For example, the company has an issue with customer fraud that is unfairly impacting workers. Instacart’s lacking fraud detection ability and policies make it very easy for customers to get free groceries by falsely marking items as missing/damaged, with the blame constantly falling on the shopper. Even when we provide photos of deliveries, Instacart can either lower our rating (which prevents us from seeing good offers for weeks), or deactivate us from the platform entirely. A single 4-star rating is enough to affect our pay for weeks. Instacart’s inability to properly investigate customer complaints should not result in blame unfairly placed on shoppers.
- Instacart shoppers need occupational death benefits. Working for Instacart is not safe, and workers must be protected on the job. The last 18 months have been especially dangerous for Instacart shoppers. The company refused to provide sick pay for shoppers who tested positive for COVID, even when one shopper was on a ventilator. We had to walk off the job in order for Instacart to address this and change their policy. Coronavirus aside, shopper Lynn Murray was killed while shopping for a customer during a mass shooting. While Instacart’s corporate employees spent these last 18 months working from home, shoppers were risking their lives while the company did nothing to protect them. Instead, they quadrupled their workforce with desperate people in need of income, using them to bring down pay and replace any shopper who knew their worth.
- The default tip must be raised to at least 10% for every single order. Instacart has been playing with our tips since 2016 — first replacing them with a service fee that the company said went to us (even though they pocketed it), then outright stealing our tips, then using tips to supplement pay, and more recently testing out a user interface without a default tip set. Instacart shoppers are bleeding out of both ends — the base pay is now far lower than it has been AND the company is discouraging customers from tipping. A 5% default tip is abysmal when paired with Instacart’s low pay.
We’ve held over 400 calls with shoppers this week and discussed their next wishes and they all agree: We cannot back down. Pay is too low and conditions are too poor.
First we asked customers to delete the app, then shoppers walked off, and next we put pressure on your partner stores. In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing next steps, and how we will continue to mount pressure against Instacart and its partner stores to hold them accountable to shoppers.
Fidji, your legacy will not be whether you helped billionaire investor firms receive an extra 5% in their investment. It’ll be whether or not you were complicit with exploiting your workers.
Gig Workers Collective