One would think that Instacart, a startup that has raised nearly $2 billion in funding, would not want to do anything that could be perceived as particularly Grinch-y this time of year. But evidently Instacart has no such holiday hangups.
Last week, the online grocery delivery company cut bonuses for its Shoppers, the contract workers who go out and do the actual work of getting and delivering groceries to customers. The cut came just days after those Shoppers instituted a three-day work stoppage to protest previous changes to their pay.
According to The Mercury News, on November 8 Instacart cut the $3 per order quality bonuses its Shoppers received for getting a five star review. The Mercury News writes:
“Over the last several years, we’ve experimented with numerous versions of the quality bonus, in addition to other boosts and incentives,” Instacart said in a message informing shoppers of the cut. “During the last year, we offered a new version of the quality bonus and found that it did not meaningfully improve quality.”
Vanessa Bain is an Instacart Shopper who helped organize last week’s work stoppage after the company changed the default tip and service fee structure. After Instacart eliminated the quality bonus, Bain wrote a post on Medium saying this latest move could mean a pay cut as much as 40 percent per order.
Quick sidenote, as if all that weren’t enough, evidently after Bain first posted story to Medium about the quality bonus cut, Instacart reportedly had it taken down for violating Medium’s rules. The post was since reinstated without addressing individuals.
For its part, Instacart told The Mercury News that the quality bonus cut was “not a form a retaliation.” Whether or not Instacart’s motivations were legitimate or not kinda doesn’t matter. The optics on it are really bad. Does it really want to antagonize its workforce as we enter the next Thanksgiving, where people will be shopping for all kinds of food? Especially since Amazon now offers free grocery delivery for Prime members and Walmart rolls out its Delivery Unlimited service nationwide.
Maybe don’t be a mean one, Instacart?