It looks like everyone can chalk up another red mark against male Instacart shoppers. The continuing stereotype that men who work for the pickup and delivery service aren’t as capable of interpreting a grocery list as its other shoppers found a new bit of anecdotal evidence today in a video by TikTok user @witchy_coffee.
In the video, she shares the story of her delivery misadventure, caused by a male personal shopper who was apparently stumped by an item on her list requesting a quarter pound of ham.
“So, you know the stereotype that if you get a male Instacart shopper, they’re not going to be able to find substitutions; they’re going to mess stuff up?” @witchy_coffee began. She went on to recount how she was contacted by her shopper in regard to her order for “1/4 pound of sliced deli ham.” Though confused as to why the shopper didn’t just ask the employees at the deli counter she confirmed that she wanted a quarter pound of ham. The shopper responded that he had found it.
What she was delivered was no, however, sliced ham, but instead a quarter of an entire ham—a substantially larger amount of meat that was sold whole, not sliced. As if this mistake wasn’t enough, @witchy_coffee also noticed that the ham was rung up as costing only $1.68 which was not the sticker price of the item.
“I think he stole this,” she noted.
The clip has received more than 342,000 views since going live three days ago.
@witchy_coffee Anyone want some ham? #instacart #maleshopper ♬ original sound – Witchy_Coffee
The apparent ineptitude of male shoppers is quickly becoming a pervasive stereotype thanks in part to stories like @witchy_coffee’s. The Daily Dot has covered several similar examples such as male shoppers who said an item is out of stock while sending the customer photos showing said item on the counters, using bizarre substitutions for items, and even refusing to pick up menstrual products. At least one TikToker, @_Iamjamila, has stated in a video that she will cancel her order if her shopper is male. The Daily Dot has reached out to Instacart via email for comment.
However, there does not appear to be any substantial scientific evidence that men are any worse than women when it comes to shopping. A 2017 study by State College, Pennsylvania found that the gender gap between grocery shoppers has narrowed to around 51% women and 49% men. But it could be that men and women simply shop differently.
According to a report by the NPD Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, women rely more heavily on lists when doing their own shopping. Given that Instacart shoppers work from a list made by their customers, this may indicate that male shoppers can feel unfamiliar with finding appropriate items. But that may not be sufficient to explain to @witchy_coffee how her sliced ham turned into 25% of a whole ham.
*First Published: Jul 5, 2023, 8:46 pm CDT
Beau Paul is a freelance writer from Austin, Texas. Beau also wrote narrative and dialog for the gaming industry for several years before becoming an entertainment journalist.