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Can Instacart Shoppers Skip Lines?

Instacart is a great app that adds a huge amount of convenience to grocery shopping. Whether you are just curious or thinking about becoming an Instacart shopper yourself to earn some money; you might be wondering, can Instacart shoppers skip lines? Fear not, as in this article I will explain just that and the details related to it.

The answer is; yes, for the most part. An Instacart shopper will find the option to skip lines in a lot of stores. In some other places, however, there might not be that option but an alternative option to save the shopper’s time might be there.

There are quite a few details to explain here. I advise you that you read this article thoroughly as I will try to explain all the nuances to you in a simple and condensed manner. And by the end of this article, you will have a firm grasp of the basic elements of this scenario.

How Do Instacart Shoppers Work?

So, before we can get in line and skip ahead of everyone, let’s take a look at how this ordeal works. There are certain specific things about a transaction on Instacart that both the customer and the shopper should be mindful of.

A customer will place an order with a very specific set of products. The Instacart shopper has to pick each of them up and scan the barcodes and match prices. Then the shopper will do the payment and transaction and process them for delivery.

Some Instacart shoppers are full-service, they go shopping at different stores and deliver products to the customer’s doorstep. While others are in-store shoppers. In-store shoppers stay at one store only and shop there. They do not do the delivery themselves. They just process the orders for another Instacart employee to deliver.

The full-service option allows the shopper to earn a lot more money as it includes delivery also. You can decide on which depending on whether you have a car or not, or whether you want to deliver or not. Your employment process will be different based on which option you choose.

In both situations, you will receive a uniform, an online profile, and a lanyard with your ID card attached. You must have these on you so that shops can recognize you as an Instacart employee and provide the necessary utilities.

You also have the freedom to choose to do this full-time or part-time depending on your needs. Although the in-store shoppers have more of a fixed shift there’s still flexibility to be had. The full-service shoppers enjoy the benefit of the completely flexible schedule.

Instacart shoppers receive payments per hour and order. And there are also tips that may vary from customer to customer. However, the delivery fee the customer might pay there’s always a service fee. You can choose to cash out your payments weekly or instant cash out is also available if you need it.

Can Shoppers Really Skip Lines?

To a large extent, yes, Instacart shoppers can indeed skip lines to go ahead. But you can't just barge into any store and expect to skip lines entirely. You will need to see what facilities are available to you as an Instacart shopper in the store you have arrived.

Although you might be able to skip lines you will not be able to skip check out entirely. Instacart has manned checkouts as mandatory. You will most definitely need to go to the register to check out all your groceries.

In a lot of stores, you will find the option to directly skip lines, whether by letting you in on an empty register or prioritizing you over other regular customers. A lot of regular customers often get annoyed at this but shops have their ways of managing and Instacart shoppers usually don’t cause too much of a commotion.

As an Instacart shopper, you will have to check if there’s an option to skip lines or go to a separate register in the shop you have arrived at. Some stores will offer you the option as they work really well with Instacart. These places will save you a lot of time and time is money in this business!

If the shop does not prioritize you over other customers to let you cut in line or skip ahead, you do not need to worry so much. There are a lot of other shops that offer other options for Instacart shoppers to make their process more convenient.

Alternatives to Skipping Lines

Not all stores just outright prioritize Instacart shoppers over other regular customers. While most have set up other systems to make everyone’s work easier, there are still a few places where you might not get any advantages. You should be careful of those places as a shopper.

But luckily, in the areas where Instacart is available, shops have set up systems to streamline the process. I will give you an idea of what these are so you have an easier time figuring out the ropes of this line of work.

Separate Registers

A lot of shops opt-in for a separate register for Instacart rather than using the same line as regular customers. These shops have an entirely exclusive register which is reserved for Instacart shoppers only. Other shoppers are not allowed to use this register so it can provide a super-fast check out for Instacart shoppers.

This is even better than line skipping as you will not have to make someone else wait. By far, the best way to check out as an Instacart shopper is this. You will very easily be able to find and use this facility. As long as a shopper has their uniform or Instacart ID with them they will enjoy this benefit.

Different Work Hours

A lot of stores offer Instacart employees early or late work hours. You can go in earlier or work late when there is no general public so the store can offer you quick service and facilities. While this might not work for every single delivery, this can come in handy for the others.

Because of the lack of any general public in the early and late hours you will also have a much easier time sifting through isles and piles and picking the exact products. It’s almost like having the whole store to yourself. Your whole work process will end up being much faster and easier.


Can Instacart employees use self-checkout? Well, yes. Although it is advised by Instacart that employees use a manned checkout. But, depending on the scenario the shopper will have to choose the option that will save them time.

More often than not the manned checkout will take you less time so you should try to go for that. But, in the cases where a self-checkout will help you reduce your time, you should opt-in for that.

Is Checking Out Absolutely Mandatory?

You will be forgiven for wondering if you could just take the products and walk out of the store while the system takes care of the transactions. However, the system is not there yet. So, for the time being, shoppers are stuck with taking care of transactions on their own.

The way Instacart payment works is every employee is equipped with a prepaid card. Shoppers do not need to use their own transaction methods or physical cash to make payments. The prepaid card comes with the exact amount needed to complete the delivery and shoppers need to match the price amount.

Because of the prepaid nature and limited exact amount of credit in the cards, shoppers need to match the prices very accurately. If the price of the products goes over budget the transaction will fail to complete. As an Instacart shopper, you will need to be very mindful of the prices of the products and any replacements needed in case of availability issues.

Instacart has been working to make this process easier and more streamlined. The software is being developed to use apps and services like Google Pay or Apple Pay to make payments much easier. Instacart has also patented tech that will help shoppers skip checkout altogether.

The patent does not necessarily mean it will be implemented very soon but there is hope. The tech will allow shoppers to pick up and scan products and leave the store, while the app catalogs and makes a list of the items. Then the customer would directly pay the bill while the shopper will not need to handle any parts of the transaction.

This tech will surely make the work of Instacart shoppers much easier but until then checkout is absolutely necessary.

Whether you were just curious or planning to become an Instacart employee yourself, I wish this article was of help to you. I tried to streamline all the bits and pieces of information and present them all in a simple fashion.

I hope I was able to answer your question, “Can Instacart shoppers skip lines?” and other questions that might have arisen with it. Thank you for reading till the end and I wish you all the best on your grocery shopping adventures!

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Author Ferdi
Written by Ferdi Vol
Ferdi Vol has been working for a grocery store for the last few years and he knows all the ins and outs of running a grocery store. He's also got great tips about what you need to know as a customer, from getting the most out of your money to knowing where everything is in the store! Ferdi loves sharing his passion with others via his blog on how to have an awesome shopping experience at your local grocery store.
About Ferdi Vol
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