"Never Doing It Again" — Woman Takes $0 Tip Instacart Order to See If Customer Will Tip After

To tip or not to tip, that is the question. When one Instacart driver decided to accept a $0 tip order as an experiment, it kind of went as expected.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Jul. 27 2023, Published 11:27 a.m. ET

The act of tipping is often a point of contention. According to The New York Times, tipping fatigue is "real and widespread." However, many employers are permitted to pay their employees less because they're eligible for tips. It sounds like a racket, but it's pretty common.

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For Jessica Higgs, who goes by @jessicahiggs3 on TikTok, her job as an Instacart driver is pretty inconsistent when it comes to tipping. The difference between what she does and what a server does is, Jessica can actually refuse a delivery. After getting a $0 tip order, she decided to take it as an experiment. Jessica was curious about whether or not the customer would end up tipping in cash. Read on to see what happened.

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Will this Instacart driver end up getting tipped on a $0 tip order?

After posting a TikTok the previous day where she accepted a dollar tip order, Jessica decided to take a $0 tip order to see if the results would differ. Not tipping on the Instacart app doesn't necessarily mean Jessica won't get a tip. The hope is that a cash tip comes down the pipeline.

Jessica emphasizes that while tipping is an option, she also has the option to deny their order. What power! The order looks pretty standard. The customer needed a loaf of bread, a variety pack of chips, organic bananas, frozen beef patties, a gallon of iced tea, and two containers of fruit punch. It's fun to think that all of that is for one very weird meal. Who doesn't love a banana burger?

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To no one's surprise, especially Jessica's, this person didn't tip in cash. Jessica provides a price breakdown to demonstrate what she actually made off this particular order. "As you can see, I was paid seven dollars for seven miles," she shares. She promises to never perform this experiment again unless the TikTok "blows up." Honey, the internet blew up your TikTok.

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Was the customer right in not tipping Jessica?

Many folks in the comments pointed out that tipping usually occurs after services are rendered. Is it presumptuous of Jessica to expect a tip before she delivered the food? People get orders wrong all the time.

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Instacart actually allows customers to tip "up to 14 days after delivery," or they can "reduce your tip up to 2 hours after delivery." Also, 100 percent of all tips go directly to the shoppers so Instacart. So, how much does Instacart actually pay?

Based on "1,100 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements," on the Indeed website, "Average Instacart hourly pay ranges from approximately $13.97 per hour for Personal Shopper to $15.00 per hour for Store Shopper." This of course varies depending on what state you're working in.

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One TikTok user suggested Instacart have a rating system for its customers, similar to Uber and Lyft. That way, shoppers will know if a customer is a poor tipper ahead of time. This is a great idea. If people stand by their no tipping stance, they won't mind letting the shoppers know that they won't be making any money from that order.

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Is tipping optional? Jessica responds.

In a follow up TikTok, Jessica wanted to address the sordid topic of tipping. "I personally think that tipping is optional but as a self-contractor, it's optional if I take your order or not." As Jessica points out again, "That's the way of the game." She then mentions the two TikToks where she took a $1 tip order and the aforementioned $0 tip order. She did this to demonstrate how rare a cash tip is, but it does happen!

After dropping those videos, Jessica got a $5 cash tip on two different orders. She also got $5 sent to her CashApp. "If that was you, thank you so much you didn't have to do that. I really appreciate it," said Jessica. This is rare but just shows everyone how erratic tipping can be.

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