PLAINFIELD, IL – Sherry Grether understands her affinity for groceries makes her a bit rare – especially since her career was just beginning when most people avoided the market if they could.
But even before she made the first of what is now over 1,000 trips to stores like Mariano’s, Jewel, Aldi, Sam’s Club and Costco, the Plainfield native figured that if she could ever make a living picking up items for the others, she would.
Grether was recently selected to represent Illinois in Instacart’s Beyond The Cart campaign, featuring people who have joined the ranks of essential workers while purchasing grocery service during the coronavirus pandemic. Grether is one of 23,000 Instacart Illinois buyers. After being selected to represent the company, she will receive groceries for one year.
Grether admits that she’s not entirely sure how she was chosen to represent a company she joined two weeks before the pandemic began last March. But after working in other jobs – she was a teacher’s aide and deli worker at a local Tony’s Fresh Foods market – Grether truly believes she has found her calling.
Of the more than 500,000 buyers Instacart employs, 59 were chosen for the campaign, including one from each US state, the District of Columbia and eight Canadian provinces.
As of March 2020, Instacart has paid out more than $ 4.2 billion in earnings to buyers, the company said in a press release. In addition to those shoppers who were selected to receive a year of groceries, Instacart is offering 10,000 shoppers a $ 200 credit for their grocery delivery service during the pandemic.
Grether typically shops five days a week and averages four to five hours a day. While the idea of choosing products for a stranger may not appeal to the masses, Grether buys for her customers as she would for herself, often searching high and low if she cannot find the item she wants.
And she’s now a poster child for the grocery delivery service which has seen a rebound in business since the start of the pandemic, when many people got used to the thought of not leaving their homes.
“I’m fast, I go, go, go and I love the job,” Grether told Patch on Monday. “But more than that, I love people.”
She added, “I’ve never been happier, honest with God. I do what I love, I’m good at it and I’m so proud to do it the way I want to.”
Instacart buyers are rated based on speed, accuracy, and customer feedback – all of which Grether is constantly checking. She insists on her buyer approval rating (which is right around the five-star mark) and is always sure to put the customer first. Grether likes the fact that she runs her own schedule, doesn’t constantly have a boss looking over her shoulder, and has established a stable full of regulars – even though Instacart customers don’t have their own. say over who does their shopping.
The fact that Grether has found her niche comes as no surprise to anyone who knows her well. She says her mother looked down on shopping, but has always found the joy of walking into a store of any kind to find that she is truly in her happy place.
“If Instacart had never come, I wish it was something I could have invented, to be honest,” said Grether.
Grether’s shopping jurisdiction takes her to various locations, but she focuses on Plainfield, Joliet, and Shorewood with an occasional run to Lockport. In addition to her love of shopping, the interaction she enjoys with her customers also brings her joy, including conversations that often go beyond her ability to guess what people are up to dinner based on what. is on their shopping list.
The fact that the job allows Grether to connect with a variety of people from all walks of life is just one of the perks, she said. While there were some tough orders – like the one she had to cancel because the 4-by-48-inch swimming pool ordered from Sam’s Club would never fit in her car – Grether said she couldn’t. not imagine his life without his new vocation, which involves a working day that begins around 8 a.m. and usually ends around 1:30 p.m.
In over 1,000 trips, Grether says she’s only had one bad customer experience – a fact that sticks to her more than she likely recognizes. But more than a year after starting living the dream by spending her day shopping for others, Grether says the job gives her more satisfaction than any other job she’s held.
“It’s my thing,” Grether said. “I really feel like it was made for me.… It suits me and my life right now.”
“I make a living and I love it. How many people can do that?”