Instacart’s grocery delivery service goes so far beyond just bringing food to people’s doors; for some, it’s a lifesaver, a lifeline to the outside world.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the existence of Instacart has helped some of our population’s most vulnerable, especially the elderly and the differently-abled.
Instacart brings your bags to your home, for sure, but does Instacart bring groceries inside? What are the rules, and are there any safety considerations for shoppers? Here’s what you need to know.
Does Instacart Bring Groceries Inside In 2023?
As a rule, Instacart shoppers are not instructed to bring groceries inside a customer’s residence as of 2023. Their training instructs them to hand over the bags or boxed items to the customer at the threshold of their residence or leave them at the door (if instructed to do so). However, shoppers can ultimately judge for themselves.
To learn more about Instacart’s door policy, where and how shoppers deliver in different situations, whether you have to be home to accept your Instacart delivery and much, much more, read on!
Does Instacart Leave Groceries At Your Door?
Instacart shoppers are trained to hand over groceries at the threshold of the customer’s home, or, if instructed, to leave them at the door.
If you do not leave any instructions for delivery, your driver will most likely knock and wait for you to answer.
I’m personally in the “leave at my door” club, because of two reactive dogs, and so I double-up on my instructions.
In the app, I say in the “Delivery Instructions” box at check-out, “Groceries on the porch is perfect! Please don’t knock, will set off dogs.”
And then I also click the box next to “Leave at my door if I’m not around.”
If you’re looking for a contactless hand-off, in my experience this is the best way to achieve it.
In fact, according to this Eater article from 2020, the feature was only just rolled out that year, no doubt as part of Instacart’s COVID mitigation efforts.
However, if you prefer to receive your groceries face-to-face, you can include a message in the Delivery Instructions like, “Just ring the doorbell once, and I will be right there.”
If you live in an apartment with a door to the building that is separate from your unit’s front door, you should expect your shopper to bring the groceries to your unit’s door.
Assuming they can get through the main building entrance (if they need a code or something to get in, you can put that in the Delivery Instructions), they should come to your space.
But inside your space, versus at the door?
This is a trickier situation, and many shoppers, especially female shoppers, are likely going to feel some qualms regarding their safety.
While I think Instacart would infinitely prefer that their shoppers not step inside anyone’s domicile, it is equally not prohibited.
If you want your shopper to leave the groceries in your garage, that’s a lot less threatening of a situation, and the instructions will likely be followed.
And shoppers might make that extra effort for elderly customers or differently abled customers who clearly could use the assistance.
In fact, one woman recently went viral when she recounted her heroic story about literally saving a man’s life because she went inside his home during a delivery.
He seemed unduly feeble and sick, and when she took his groceries in for him, something just seemed off.
So she contacted his daughter, who had ordered the groceries for him, through the Shopper app, and gave her a head’s up.
It turned out there was a propane leak in the man’s home, and the fumes could have killed him.
Not only does this demonstrate the very best outcome when it comes to Instacart shoppers using their best judgment, it reminds us all that if you see something, say something.
Will Instacart Go Up Stairs?
Instacart shoppers are instructed to deliver groceries to the customer’s front door, and if that involves five flights of stairs, well – they’re going to do it.
As an ex-apartment dweller who lived up two flights of stairs, I can attest: the shopper always brought things up to our apartment door.
Even when it was 12-packs of Diet Coke along with five bags full of groceries, they trudged up those stairs so we didn’t have to.
If you’re feeling guilty about how hard your shopper has to work to get you your delivery, there is one thing you can do to make the situation better: tip them, and tip them generously.
Do You Have To Be At Home For An Instacart Delivery?
You do not have to be home for an Instacart delivery, though if it’s extremely warm out, for the sake of your perishables, you might want to schedule for a time closer to when you are.
Instacart shoppers transport your groceries in insulated bags, but they do not deliver them to be left at the door in any sort of insulation.
If you can’t be home, it’s 90 degrees out and you have milk in your order, consider switching to a pick-up order.
It’s always cheaper than delivery, there are no tips needed and you don’t pay service fees, either.
Do Instacart Groceries Come In Bags?
For the most part, Instacart grocery deliveries do come in bags.
In many parts of the country, those will be plastic grocery bags.
Some retailers prefer paper – Aldi comes to mind – but some people live in cities that have banned plastic bags.
You might have to pay a little extra to get paper or reusable bags, or your shopper will just hand the groceries over at the door right out of their insulated bags.
Or, if they feel comfortable enough to do so, your shopper may be willing to enter your residence and unload the groceries on your counter.
But don’t count on it, because it is not required of them.
Instacart shoppers are not obligated to delivery groceries inside of people’s homes, and in fact, I would argue Instacart would rather limit those interactions.
However, in special cases, shoppers can use their own judgment and bring groceries inside at the customer’s request or, when they see the need for it.