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By Terri Miller
Contributing Writer 

Gig Economy – WEEK 3 - What I Learned from Driving for Instacart this Week

 

Last updated 5/13/2020 at 6:14pm

Sunday, as I completed my shop and headed out to my black SUV with a Publix bag boy in tow behind my full cart, I walked around to the passenger side of my SUV, pulled the door open as always and a very startled lady looked me right in the eye. It was not my SUV! The lady was simply waiting for me to cross behind her SUV and leave. Two lessons here LADIES!

1. Lock your vehicle the second you get in it. Don't wait for the automatic locks to set in before you pull out.

2. Know your vehicle. I am so happy she was not 'packing a pistol'. That day would not have ended well for me.

3. I was in Lake Wales so naturally I knew her! We had a great laugh and went about out day.

Aldi Week:

Aldi is not a fun place for me to complete shops. As there is more than one Aldi on U.S. 27, this week I thought I was taking an Aldi shop but as it turned out I was heading to Haines City. That will blow a timeline and a day really fast.

Aldi is a European company, which means for me, they are very fast and efficient. To them, their store layout makes sense. Doing my first Aldi shop this week was interesting.

You don't have to weigh all the produce as most are in bags. They run out of items very quickly. Their employees always seem stressed out to the max. If you can find an employee working the stock, they are quick to answer you. I have yet to see one smile.

While in line to check out, I panicked and texted my sister, "what do I do about bags?" Since you must bring your own bags or purchase them at Aldi, I had no idea what to do. On this shop, after the entire transaction goes through, the software asks how many bags had to be purchased. I put 2 for this shop and just used 2 of my personal bags to deliver the groceries in. Lesson learned.

1. Bring a jacket: Aldi is a really cold store

2. Don't Expect a Smile: Aldi employees rarely smile

3. Quarter: Remember to bring your quarter if you want a shopping cart.

4. Bags: Shoppers must estimate how many bags to buy in order to purchase them. Estimate well!!

5. Different Store Layouts: Aldi stores are all different in the way they are lain out. Maddening

6. Bagging Groceries: YEAH!! I get to bag my own groceries. I love that because I can organize them the way I think they should be. I am very particular.

It is getting harder to win batches. I am not sure if this is due to many people being able to go back to work or people being less afraid to go outside. I just know I am finding it harder to win batches. I literally sit in parking lots with my thumb over the screen, but they disappear before I can even touch the screen. Disappointing for sure.

Mobile home parks.

I think we delivery drivers are sport for retired folks who hang out in swimming pools at the front of retirement communities/mobile home parks. I think they order something online then wait to see us entering the park. Zero lot line and numbering systems were not really considered when Google Maps came along. Around and around and around we go. Finally, a phone call is in order. "I am on the second block, turn on Fern and look for the Dodge Caravan."

Ok, I got this now. I'm going to find them before the ice cream melts or they will give me a bad review. Ok, there's Fern, left turn. EVERYONE has a Dodge Caravan!!!! Finally, I find the right address and deliver the groceries.

Note to self – never ever hit delivery complete until they actually answer the door. Yes, another mobile home park with numbering issues. When you hit complete, all the information goes away. Luckily at this address the lady, who had to go put on clothes, came to the door and told me they were not her order. I put them back into my car and contacted the "chat help." They were able to pull up my last delivery and get me the address. Way too many apologies later the lady admits the navigation system always takes drivers to the wrong address!! Really, could have told me that.

I live in a large county.

Population: 724,777

Square Miles: 2,011

And mostly rural. I must admit I had forgotten how beautiful Polk County is. From riding high on the Ridge, looking down over orange groves and lakes to riding on back country roads in Polk City and stopping to talk to a few cows. The lush green landscape made me very happy and full of gratitude.

We can take a few minutes' drive and be in nature. This, however, makes for long deliveries from one shop to another. I cannot tell you how I dread looking down at the navigation after a shop and seeing Frostproof or Polk City!! At least I purchased a few cold bags. These keep cold things cold and hot things hot.

Next installment will be the adventures of a Door Dasher.

Feel free to contact me via email: [email protected]

 

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