Instacart tips, (some) from Food & Wine and (lots from) me

Over at Food & Wine, they have a good set of tips on: How to Be a Better Instacart Customer. Some of them are blatantly obvious (“Don’t Weaponize Your Tips”…yeah, no kidding) and others are good reminders (“If you don’t communicate clearly, shoppers can’t do their job.”)

I’ve been using it for awhile, and I like it. Here’s some tips from me that I find make my shopping experience better:

  • Use the Buy it Again feature. It can save you time.
  • If you are going through the Buy it Again feature, you can always search for something new, then come back to where you were in Buy it Again.
  • Double check your order before you order it. You might find you ordered two or more similar items. You can also take the time to delete those impulse items you threw in your cart.
  • It can be faster to add things to your cart at first and then delete before you buy, rather than looking up things one at a time.
  • Get creative on your searches. Typing the name of a cuisine (e.g. Chinese) might not only show your products you expect, but some you did not that you might be keen to order.
  • Check your order as soon as it arrives. I put mine away once and only hours later did I realize that I was missing a whole bag of food.
  • If you are missing things, let Instagram know. Hey, it doesn’t often happen, but it can happen. They will credit you if you are missing something. And when I have received something I shouldn’t, they let me just keep it. YMMV.
  • Be available for when you will be getting the order. You don’t want your order sitting outside for ages.
  • Book your order for later if you can. You can save a couple of bucks that way. But you should know that  it will often come earlier than you signed up for. The idea seems to be to get you your order ASAP.
  • Be specific where you want your order. I tell people not to put it in front of my door, because it opens out, not in, and I can’t get out to get the food if it blocks the door.
  • Look for things that are in stock. You are less likely to be disappointed.
  • Look for deals. Not everyone has them. Walmart, for instance, used to have them, but not anymore (at least in Toronto).
  • Comparison shop between stores. You may be shocked by the differences. But don’t get fooled by loss leaders: you might save on a few items, only to end up paying out more in the end.
  • Make sure you have Replacements listed for things you really need to have. If you really need eggs or milk, make sure you have a good replacement (e.g. XL eggs instead of large, 1% milk instead of 2%).
  • Don’t assume all shoppers will look for replacements and ask you. Some are great, others seem to just refund many things. Most are really good, in my experience.”

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