Come Christmastime (at least this year), my email and snail mail boxes received some interesting discounts. Two worked out beautifully (Shutterfly and CVS 50% off photos), but one was so bad I just have to dedicate a post today to warn my brothers and sisters against falling for the hype as did I.
The hustler’s name is INSTACART, a corporation that partners with big food chains and supermarkets to deliver the groceries you want at a reasonable price. This past Thanksgiving they sent $25 coupons on a $35 purchase to every mailbox in the East Village (and probably all over the metropolitan area as well).
Ten bucks for $35 worth of groceries seemed like a deal I couldn’t refuse so I went for it. Not the best idea as it turned out. Of the nine items I ordered, fully five arrived incorrectly. My Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies morphed into some sugarless shit I wouldn’t eat if ya paid me. My Almond Breeze vanilla milk became Silk, which I know it sounds divaish – but I absolutely hate. I won’t cite the other examples. But I will say that the substitutes they threw in were more expensive – which made the bill higher.
So I called the company to register my dissatisfaction and miraculously, they credited me for everything that arrived wrong. Which meant that I had a $25 credit in my account for the next $35 purchase. I waited to use up all those groceries and then gritted my teeth to try again last week.
Having discovered the edit button next to each item in the cart, I carefully directed whomever to simply keep more apple juices coming if any item I wanted was unavailable. Apple juice keeps forever and I drink the stuff like water. So I had a fail safe – or so I thought.
Round two was appreciably better. The guy only fucked up one thing: I got 50 ounces of Tide instead of 255 ounces of Xtra laundry detergent I actually ordered. The store was out of what I wanted and the moron who filled the order missed the directive. So much for that button in the shopping cart!
Once again, I called the company and received a credit for the detergent without a problem. So basically, I got my order free of charge. But wait a minute. Not so fast. I went to my bank account to discover that what should have been billed at ten bucks had somehow become two separate charges totaling $37! WTF?
Back on the hopper, I got a woman who quoted me chapter and verse on the legitimacy of the charges as I kept my cool and observed “This is really pretty simple. I ordered $35 worth of stuff and I had a $25 credit. That comes out to $10. And that’s before you deduct the $10 credit because the guy brought the wrong laundry detergent.”
Finally realizing there was something amiss, the woman put me on hold for literally 15 minutes only to return to inform me “There’s a bug in the system.” She put me on hold again to make an attempt at correcting the error. Just five minutes later, she returned to apologize that for the moment, there was nothing she could do.
It is now 6 days later. Oddly, the $10 credit for the wrong laundry detergent showed up in my account. But the two charges equalling $37 remain. Of course, in the great scheme of things this is but pocket change to a big wheel like me. But still, I have renamed Instacart to Instafart as clearly, the whole deal kind of stinks to high heaven.
I googled “instacart reviews” just out of curiosity yesterday and found numerous complaints from not just customers – but employees as well who think the corporation is a train wreck to work for.
Bottom line: If you get one of those $25 coupons for a $35 purchase, don’t believe the hype. You’re gonna earn that twenty five bucks ten times over before you’re through. And that’s my review.