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Bots are Stealing Food Orders on Instacart and Hurting Undocumented Workers

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Instacart workers are on strike for May 1 today, along with frontline workers at Amazon, Whole Foods, and other delivery retailers. One reason Instacart workers are striking, is the heartbreaking exploitation of undocumented workers, bagged into a new exploit on that grocery delivery app.

According to a report from TechCrunch, third-party bots are swarming Instacart and stealing orders from Instacart delivery workers. These outside apps with names like Ninja Hours are extorting the undocumented community by charging them cash for access to the orders that the bots are stealing.

“For $200,” Tech Cruch reports, “undocumented immigrants could pay Ninja Hours to create an account for them so they could shop.”

The swiping of money from undocumented workers is only one sad side of this bot operation, as one Instacart driver told TechCrunch that the Ninja Hours site “was always written in Spanish — really targeting the Latino community.” The animated screenshot above from TechCrunch shows how the scam is stealing orders. On the Change.org petition Ban Instacart Bot Shoppers, delivery worker Melanie Ibarra describes it firsthand.

“Up until some weeks ago, Instacart was BOOMING with orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she writes. “Now all of sudden we are not seeing any orders available. If there are any, when you see it, it’s gone within a blink of an eye before we can even click on it. Or let’s say if you’re fast enough, you click on the order and click ‘accept’, a window pops up that reads ‘oh no, looks like this order has been taken’. And this is happening all day every day. This is because instacart shoppers are paying third party apps aka bots to steal all the good, high paying batches.”

Instacart seems to know they have a problem, as evidenced by messages TechCrunch acquired seen above. “We have several robust security measures in place to ensure the security of the Instacart platform,” the company said in an obviously false statement to TechCrunch. “Selling or purchasing batches is not an authorized use of the Instacart platform and is a violation of our Terms of Service.”

Instacart is making a big deal of their hiring a quarter million delivery drivers, but they’re not actually “hiring” them. It’s a shit job with no benefits and not even a guarantee of minimum wage, from a company that claims to be worth $8 billion but cannot even fix its bot problem. You should not apply to deliver for Instacart unless they get this fixed, and on the May 1 strike, you should not use Instacart either.  

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.

7 Comments

  1. Jeff King
    May 7, 2020 at 8:40 am — Reply

    We are seeing exactly this, all of a sudden that last two days. Went from being able to get numerous batches per day, to getting NONE, ZERO! This is BS and why isn’t instacart doing something about i?

  2. Mickey Mouse
    May 9, 2020 at 12:36 pm — Reply

    1st. The batch thieft from 3rd party apps has made it nearly impossible to get batches as a honest shopper.

    2nd Publix stores do not all share the same floor plan.

    3rd ALDI doesnt have isle numbers and also do not have the same floor plan.

    4th Batches dont stay on the screen long enough to see batches, tip amounts and distance.

    5th Instacart support doesnt seem to know why batches aren’t showing up. (They just trouble shoot things.) I will not recommend Instacart to anyone, including family and friends until this 3rd party issue it taken care of.

    6th I wish Instacart would revaluate Instacart Shoppers earnings, if a shopper is making more than $800 per week, it because thier using third party apps that allow them to pay to steal batches.

    7th Stop hiring new shoppers, Instacart wouldnt need to hire if other shoppers could actually select batches.

    8th I think the Instacart app should give batches to drivers closest to actual customers location to avoid long distant driving time. (The other day I got a batch that paid $10 after driving a hour to the store they were close too.

    I THINK PEOPLE INTERESTED IN INSTACART SHOULD NOT APPLY FOR A INSTACART JOB, YOU DONT MAKE ANY MONEY, UNLESS YOUR A CHEATER OR LITERALLY HAVE YOUR EYES GLUED TO THE SCREEN.

    I agree, Instacart doesnt care because, either way, thier getting paid while undocumented ALIENS can sit back and just choose what batches they want by paying third party apps to steal batches from honest tax paying shoppers. (Tax paying meaning having a social security number and drivers license that wasn’t sold after someone died. And, people dont understand why many of us want to build a wall! You illegal ALIENS know exactly why.

  3. Heidi
    May 10, 2020 at 10:39 am — Reply

    You are correct about the bot-stealing app, but you are wrong that it’s the undocumented workers that are getting hurt by this. They are willingly paying to illegally steal orders from the Instacart Full Service Shoppers, and stealing from the customer’s by forcing the orders to increase in the fee against the customer. If you would like to learn how it’s affecting Instacart Full Service Shoppers and the customer feel free to contact Heidi about my investigation.
    wacgtown@yahoo.com

  4. Nicholas Nadjafinia
    May 11, 2020 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    Before this not B’s . Which I’m sure instacart will fix. I make waaay More than minimum wage. Why the hell would I want them to conform to a limited wage. I’m starting to think there is some political agenda against instacart. They have always taken such good care of me. I love Instacart!

    • hugh jaynus
      May 15, 2020 at 3:23 pm — Reply

      farts.

  5. GC
    May 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm — Reply

    *ILLEGAL Criminal Aliens, is the term your looking for.

  6. Hugh Jaynus
    May 15, 2020 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    Hi, GC, why don’t you take your tongue and ram it up my fat, hairy manpussy. You won’t get the smell of me off your face for at least a week! Just ask the flies who constantly buzz around the seat of my cargo shorts.

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