While Instacart has been busier than ever as pandemic-driven demand for home grocery delivery surges, they’ve still been receiving some criticism for how they’ve been handling the crisis-fueled workload. Instacart shoppers nationwide staged a strike to protest hazardous working conditions, and while Instacart tried to placate the strikers by offering free “health and safety kits,” Wired reports that many still have not yet received their face masks, hand sanitizer, and thermometers (of which they’d only receive one of each, just the one time). MassLive also interviewed a number of Instacart customers, or would-be customers, who’ve complained that their orders were delayed or canceled outright, leaving them marooned in a quarantine food desert.
Well, Instacart is now partnering with Costco, a company that has also lately gotten complaints from its workers, as well as faced slumping sales due to the inevitable shortages that resulted from an initial wave of panic-buying — although they’ve lately been taking steps to ensure employee and customer safety. The two chains are coming together to address the needs of one particular segment of the population who may be particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 — those who rely on regular prescription medications. This is a group that includes many of the elderly and people with medical conditions who are, according to the Centers for Disease Control, at the highest risk of coronavirus infection.
Instacart and Costco are offering delivery of prescriptions
Costco will be using Instacart to deliver prescription medications to customers in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia — some 200 Costco pharmacies in all will participate in the program (via Instacart). If you live in one of those states, you just contact your Costco pharmacy with your prescription information, and then Costco will send a text message when the meds are ready. This text will have a link which, when clicked, will allow you to schedule delivery up to a week in advance — plus, if you like, you can also arrange to have other Costco items delivered at the same time.
But what about if you’re not a Costco member? Costco’s customer service web page says that even non-members can purchase goods via Instacart, although they admit that the service charges higher prices on grocery and household items for non-members as well as tacking on delivery and service charges for members and non-members alike. International Business Times says the prescriptions will be delivered in a sealed, tamper-proof bag, and you can arrange a contact-free delivery by scanning and uploading your ID online so they won’t need your signature at the door, although since they add that someone over the age of 18 needs to present a valid ID at the time of delivery, it’s unclear as to how this will remain contact-free — perhaps you wave your ID at the driver through the window?
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