Let’s make this a quick one. I'll give you just enough info about your Amazon Prime shopper so you can make an informed decision about tipping your Amazon Prime shopper when you order for pickup at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods shoppers (theoretically called Amazon Prime shoppers so let’s go with that), shop for your order at Whole Foods and then you either pick up that order or you get it delivered by an Amazon Flex driver.
We’ll talk about when you pick up the order yourself in the store or parking lot but I wouldn't be your gig economist if I didn't quickly address tipping your Amazon Flex driver for your Whole Foods delivery.
Amazon allows for customers to add a tip for their Amazon Flex
driver and as you know by now, I’m a big advocate for tipping gig workers so you
should find it in your heart to tip your driver since they’re part of the gig
They use their own vehicles to deliver your (and other customers’ orders) to you.
Many Amazon Flex drivers travel 60+ miles for one set of orders so that’s quite a bit. Yes bags and items get broken, which is the result of Amazon overloading Flex drivers who use their own vehicles and have to stack more than one customer’s bags but that's just part of the Amazon culture of profit over people.
As always how much you tip is up to you. The convenience of having your groceries dropped at your front door from Whole Foods, a store that’s not as common in every town as regular grocery stores should be worth a few extra bucks in tips.
I'm gonna go ahead and say that $2 is probably not enough and a minimum of $5 is recommended.
You're not exactly shopping at a budget store when you shop at Whole Foods so an extra $5 or even $10+ shouldn't break the bank. I know... I know, you're also paying for delivery itself but also make sure that the person making that delivery happen gets paid since you're knowingly using a gig economy service when choosing Amazon delivery from Whole Foods.
OK, moving on!
Unlike Amazon Flex drivers who are gig workers, Amazon Prime shoppers are actual W2 Whole Foods employees (yes obviously Whole Foods is part of Amazon but Whole Foods itself likes to still pretend it’s independent) so in-store employees rarely mention Amazon and just say Prime when referring to the shopping part of the operations.
That’s also where the confusion of Whole Foods shopper vs. Amazon Prime shopper comes in. They're one and the same so for the purpose of this, I'll just use the term Amazon Prime shopper. It's a strange identity crisis but that's for another day.
Shoppers wear Whole Foods vests in the store and like I said, Amazon isn't really mentioned all that much.
Side note: if you see a person with a Whole Foods vest rather than an apron, know that that person has impossible metrics for shopping speed to meet so instead, look for a person with a Whole Foods apron for questions or if you have problems reaching an item.
So while Amazon Flex drivers are part of the gig economy, Amazon Prime shoppers are W2 employees. Mostly part-time W2 employees without benefits.
In the gig economy, tips are encouraged and let’s be honest, necessary but since Amazon Prime shoppers are W2 employees, they get overlooked when it comes to tips since customers assume they’re compensated.
There’s not even an option to tip your shopper in the app so some customers sometimes give a few bucks when they pick up their order but it's not incredibly common.
Whole Foods starts its shoppers at $15 per hour and their shifts are four to eight hours per day.
If it's a four hour shift, shoppers get a ten minute break and if it's an eight hour shift there are two ten minute breaks and an unpaid 30-minute lunch break. Other than those breaks, they shop non-stop during their shift.
That’s a lot of shopping for what’s considered minimum wage in some states.
As I said, I won’t get into all the details, but the shopper part of Whole Foods is where the Amazon culture of people over profit really shines. If you've ever ordered on Amazon Prime, you'll notice the constant replacement offers for an out of stock item.
Shoppers are forced into making replacements unless customers specifically select "replacement not allowed" and shoppers are held to a replacement rate among other stats like speed that upon further inspection only benefit Amazon, not the customer nor the shopper.
That's just a side note because I think there's not a whole lot of transparency so I always like to provide tidbits that shed light on why customers have the experiences they have with different companies in the food delivery realm.
The metrics aren't unlike the ones I encounter on Instacart but on Instacart, I don’t care about speed or replacement stats because it’s just a platform that connects me with my customers so I never think of Instacart as an employer (it's not) who tells me what to do, which allows most Instacart Shoppers to ignore Instacart’s suggestions and just work with the customer directly.
Sure, we have ratings on Instacart but again, that’s why I generally just care about providing good customer service rather than worry about being super fast or making replacements willy nilly.
That's where Amazon has more power over its shoppers since they're W2 employees with supervisors and HR lurking, whereas Instacart shoppers are just gig workers without any real ties to Instacart.
As I said, Amazon Prime shoppers also have to respond to in-store customers who have questions or need help reaching things on the shelf while they’re trying to fulfill an order, so the company really gets its money’s worth when hiring their shoppers at a ridiculously low rate.
While I can’t technically advise you to tip your Amazon Prime shopper since they're W2 employees like I can with Instacart and the gig economy in general, consider digging up a $5 bill to give to the shopper when you pick up your order.
It’s really appreciated, and shoppers do work quite hard even if your order isn’t always to your liking. Oh speaking of, check out Related pages below for a super quick guide of how you can get your Whole Foods order more to your liking without ending up with weird replacements!
As with any job, the quality of shoppers varies and the shopper who shopped your order might not be the one putting the order in your car but generally shoppers on a four hour shift get to bring out an order to a customer’s car at least once.
So even if you’re giving the $5 to a person that wasn’t your shopper, that shopper has shopped many orders during their shift so your $5 is much appreciated and might be the only extra tip they get all day.
This is especially important during the holidays!