CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WICS/WCCU) — Over the last few weeks, grocery delivery companies like Instacart and Shipt have hired thousands of new shoppers to keep up with the demand in response to the coronavirus.
Many shoppers have gone to social media and shared their experiences -- in some cases, venting.
These personal shoppers are considered essential employees. They're going to the grocery store because many customers may not feel comfortable going themselves or they just can't because of their health.
In the past, some people didn't think twice about going to the grocery store. However, because of COVID-19, things have changed.
Going to the grocery store is Michelle Luna's job.
Since she started working for Shipt in January, Luna said things started to pick up in March.
"There are some of us that want to be able to help the families that have young children, that do have compromised immune systems, the elderly," Luna said.
Luna made a post on Facebook about her experience on Saturday. She said it took her four hours and four carts to finish the almost $900 order.
Luna said she was only tipped $5.
"At first, I was definitely outraged,” Luna said. “How could this happen?"
Luna said her post was meant to educate customers who use the service. She's an independent contractor working for Shipt.
"We are different than Meijer. We are different than Walmart,” she said. “Walmart is using the hourly employees."
Sara Tanzillo has worked for Shipt for almost a year. She said the last few weeks have been busy and stressful.
"If they have an order with 10 rolls of toilet paper on there and we go to shop it and there's none, obviously, their total is $0, so we don't get paid," Tanzillo said.
Tanzillo said she's spending hours in the grocery store because customers are stocking up.
She also said she constantly thinks about her health while shopping.
"I wear a face mask, one that was made for me, to try to protect myself as well as other people that may be vulnerable," Tanzillo said.
Both women said they're offering a service and believe they should be taken care of, as well, with a decent tip.
"We're the ones going in, getting the groceries for you, putting ourselves at risk, putting our families at risk when we come home if we somehow come in contact with the virus,” Luna said. “And, taking that risk for you. What is that worth to you?"
According to Shipt's website, tips are not required, but 100% of the tip goes to the shopper.
Through its partnership with Target, Shipt is providing all shoppers with a set of gloves and a mask.