Can Instacart Shoppers Skip Lines? (Yes! Here’s how)


If you are new to working for Instacart as a Shopper you may not know all the tricks yet. But even customers who see people cutting in front of them have wondered can Instacart Shoppers skip lines?

Here’s what I know about it:

Yes. Instacart shoppers can skip lines to ensure they meet delivery times. But some stores allow Shoppers to work early or late hours (when there’s no general public) and check out in separate checkouts. They are also given prepaid Master Cards for faster checkouts.

But every store is a little different and that doesn’t even answer questions about how Instacart shoppers enter places like Costco. So let’s dive right in…

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Do Instacart shoppers have to checkout?

Yes, they do. They are advised by the company to always use manned checkouts. The company has provided each shopper with a prepaid Mastercard, which is used at the checkout, to make payments for what’s been ordered.

The Instacart app (and other apps) does not yet have the functionality that enables the shoppers to completely skip the checkout process in the stores.

The technology is being worked on. But, for now, they have to check out, just like everybody else. 

But how do they enter Costco and where do they check out there? Coming up next!

Do Instacart Shoppers have to wait in line at Costco?

No is the short answer.

In a recent article of mine, I went into a bit more detail about whether Instacart shoppers can go to Costco. Just click on the link to view it on my website. 

Costco and Instacart are partners.

It’s a partnership that makes a lot of sense if you think about it.  Costco is a retailer that sells products at discounted rates (and charges membership fees). Luckily, Instacart or Shoppers don’t have to have a Costco membership to buy or shop through Instacart. 

And, Instacart shoppers don’t have to wait in line.

In some cases, they have a dedicated checkout to use. Other times they are given preference over the general shoppers. In short, it varies a little from location to location.

In some cases, there’s a dedicated staging area for Instacart shoppers too, and they can go in and out of Costco through another door.

Okay. But how do they pay for the groceries? I’ll answer that next.

How do Instacart shoppers pay for groceries?

Once you’re formally hired by Instacart and have gone through the onboarding process, you’ll be provided with a uniform, a bag, lanyard with your ID attached, and with a dedicated, prepaid Mastercard, which is linked to the company’s app.

This is what Instacart Shoppers use to pay for groceries.

You’ll never have to use your own card to pay! So, after you’ve selected all that’s on a customers’ grocery list, you simply walk to the manned register and pay with the prepaid Mastercard.

Instacart and some other top players in the industry are working on a technology that’ll make it unnecessary to use the traditional checkout systems we’ve all grown up with.

When it’s ready, the technology will allow a shopper to electronically intimate Instacart of the total amount of an order. Instacart pays the retailer. That means shoppers simply walk out with the goods after the payment has been confirmed.

There’s also a mobile payment solution (where users can use Apple pay or Google pay) in the works.

This will remove the need for using a physical credit or debit card. This will save a lot of time. Once a user has a phone and is using the Instacart app, they’ll be able to pay with a tap! How cool is that?

When both are operational they’ll dramatically reduce the queues, we often experience at grocery stores.

It’s then, that Instacart Shoppers would be able to truly skip lines, all the time.

But, can they use self-checkouts, now? That’s the next thing…

Can Instacart shoppers use self-checkout?

Yes, they can, but the company advises that Instacart Shoppers should use manned checkouts.

However, there are times and places, when you, as a shopper, may have to do what’s best in your particular circumstance. There are stores that’ll allow you to use self-checkout. Perhaps, there’s a very long queue, and you don’t want to be late.

So, you’ll have to use your discretion.

If the manned-checkout will ultimately lead to a shorter time, that’s really the way to go. But, if there’s a really long line, and you’re sure you could work the self-checkout register fast, then go for it.

Now, let’s check out (pun intended) an overview of what being an Instacart shopper really entails.

How does being an Instacart Shopper work?

Working as an Instacart Shopper is a great way to earn an income because you get to set your own schedule. And, as you probably know already, there are two options available:

You could be an in-store shopper or a full-service shopper.

In the first category, you’ll only focus on shopping in a store. While in the second category, in addition to shopping, you’ll also need to go and deliver the items to those who have ordered them. In both cases, you’ll be using the Instacart app to check orders, make payments, receive tips…

You’ll agree that it stands to reason that you could earn a lot more if you opted for the second category (which involves shopping and also delivering).  You can also decide to make it a full-time or part-time work. So, it depends on you. It’s a nice way to earn a living if you think about it. Folks will always need groceries, right?

You could earn an average of $10 per hour, payable each week (instant cashouts available, too).

This does not include tips. Your income is determined by the work you do. It’s not a bad gig if you ask me. However, I do get complaint emails from Instacart Shoppers complaining about low tips, and Instacart combining multiple orders onto 1 ticket (so they only get paid for 1 order rather than multiple).

So it’s not everyone’s dream job.

In a recent article of mine, I spent time exploring something that’s really on your mind: when does Instacart pay me?

Does Instacart pay for mileage? How long does its direct debit take? What to do if you’re not satisfied with Instacart? And a lot more.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

If you opt for the in-store category, you don’t need to have a car

Since you won’t be making deliveries. You’ll also be an employee of Instacart rather than a contracted employee. That, theoretically means you could be eligible for benefits.

However, it’s worth noting that nowhere on the Instacart Shopper website does it say anything about benefits or eligibility. It’s also worth noting that the benefits category for Instacart on their Glass Door page rates them a 1.8 out of 5-stars. (source)

So clearly their Shoppers are not thrilled with the current benefits package.

 The following are the key requirements for both positions:

  • You’re 18-21 years old (this depends on the state you live in)
  • You must be eligible to work in the U.S. or Canada
  • You can lift 30 pounds of groceries
  • You have a passion for customer service
  • You have your own car (for the full-service shopper role)
  • You have a new model phone (Android 5.0 or later / iOS 9)

You may check for the lastest Instacart openings on this page

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether Instart Shoppers can skip lines?

In order to be able to meet the delivery time the grocery delivery platform has promised, there are many cases when its shoppers have to skip lines.

Some stores make special provisions for them, such as a dedicated register, entrance, and staging areas.

In fact, in some stores, they’re also allowed to come in earlier than the general public and also shop much later.

I looked out what’s required if you’re new to or considering becoming an Instacart shopper.

Ultimately, the job of Instacart Shopper isn’t for everyone. In fact, many people also have another job too. But if you get laid off from another job, how does Instacart income affect your unemployment?

In another recent article, I looked exactly how it will be affected and by how much $$. Just click the link to read it on my site.

Unhappy working for Instacart? Consider DoorDash!

DoorDash is a great alternative to working for Instacart.

See how much you could be earning. Available in over 4,000 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. All you need is a mode of transportation and a smartphone to start making money.

CLICK HERE to learn more about working for DoorDash!

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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