BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Shipt shoppers took to the streets outside the company’s headquarters in downtown Birmingham Sunday to protest policy changes that shoppers say are interfering with their wages.
The shoppers, who are seen as independent contractors for Shipt, say that over-hiring during the pandemic has made it hard for current workers to get orders. The following is part of statement released on behalf of the dissatisfied the shoppers:
“Since Shipt gives new shoppers order priority for their first 10 orders, full-time shoppers report struggling to get orders at all. Instead, their forced to wait at home or in parking lots for orders to come through, all while wondering how they are going to pay the bills.”
Shoppers also say that inventory availability at stores during the pandemic led to canceled orders, which left the shoppers uncompensated for their time.
“When the pandemic first struck, shoppers had to cancel many orders mid-shop that were full of high-value items including disinfectant and toilet paper. When these orders were cancelled, Shipt shoppers were paid as low as 29 cents per order. Only after much negative PR and pressure from shoppers did Shipt create a base pay of $5 per cancelled order,” the statement continued.
Representatives for the shoppers say that tips have also been an issues:
"In April, Shipt admitted to withholding tips from 700 Meijer shoppers in Michigan. Tipping glitches continued throughout the pandemic, worsening as the year dragged on. In August, Washington Post released an article about Shipt’s constant tipping glitches and shopper stories of Shipt withholding tips altogether. Later, Shipt admitted to The Hill that there had been a glitch that affected tips on thousands of orders.
Despite Target’s Shipt’s promises to fix the glitches and begin quarterly audits on tips, customers report tipping error messages and difficulties when attempting to tip on a daily basis. Shipt continues to regularly deny the issue when reported by shoppers."
Finally, they say shopping limits have impacted their ability to make a meaningful living.
“In August, Shipt also started “testing” limiting how many orders a shopper could accept. Veteran shoppers who were used to completing multiple orders per hour for the regular members have been limited now to one order per hour."
Evangeline George, a representative from Shipt, released the following statement in response to the shoppers concerns.
"We are so proud of the shopper community and how much they have stepped up to serve customers this year. We are constantly working to improve the shopping experience for them.
In late September, we finished rolling out an evolved pay model nationwide. Orders across the country can vary by a number of factors and our updated pay model better accounts for the effort it takes to complete and deliver orders, with factors like drive times for delivery, peak shopping windows, and the number of items in each order. We also provide transparency to shoppers with each order – including a pay range with a guaranteed minimum pay for the shop, the delivery address, and a list of all the items being purchased – allowing them to choose whether or not they want to accept the order. We are continuing to listen to shopper feedback and have seen shopper pay remain stable throughout the transition.
We are aware that there is a very small, vocal minority that may disagree with some of the steps we take. We respect their opinions and are listening. However, based on all of the data we have, and the feedback we receive from shoppers, they do not speak for, or represent, the experiences of the majority of Shipt Shoppers."