Amidst Pandemic, A Bison Gives Back01 Jul 2020 Maegan Roy ’22 spends her quarantine going on 7-mile bike rides, reading, and working out. But between it all, she’s delivering “batches” of food primarily to elderly residents in her community, striving to make a small but impactful difference while earning an income as an Instacart shopper.“I wanted to keep busy. Why not help people, help the elderly, and make money at the same time?” said Roy.At its core, that’s what the job really is about for Roy -- helping people. Throughout her childhood, she would visit her mother’s work at a hospital where she spent time playing games and socializing with elderly patients. These are fond memories for Roy, so when the chance came to help the older population, she figured she could help by shopping for them.For those of you unfamiliar with Instacart, an app that quickly became a hit in the US, it’s similar to having a personal shopper pick out and deliver your food. Great, right?Since people over 60 are especially impacted by COVID-19, grocery delivery services are a way for them to get food and essentials without being exposed. Shoppers can pick a “batch,” meaning a household’s grocery list, shop, and deliver without physical contact with those who ordered.“There can even be two customers in one batch, meaning you drop off at two different houses, which is nice. In one trip you get to help out twice the amount of people,” Roy says strategically.Unexpected AppreciationAs a Nichols College student, community outreach is practically in Roy’s DNA.“Nichols is very community-based; a family like environment,” Roy stated.Being involved in an environment focused on giving back influenced her to do the same. But what wasn’t as expected is just how appreciated her efforts were.Instead of nullifying the efforts of social distancing and thanking Roy face-to-face, customers will often knock on their windows, smile, and wave. Others will leave an envelope on the door with a note of appreciation or an extra tip. To no surprise, her rating as a Shopper on the app is a perfect 5 stars.Customers have left comments ranging from “I have a hard time getting around so having you was a great big help. I really appreciate it,” to “Thank you for making so many replacements for me and my family. You were very understanding.” After one very specific batch, the customer even messaged her “I wish you could be my shopper every time.” In this instance, Roy had gone back and forth to make replacements and paid through self-checkout to ensure the bagging was exactly as described.“It is so cool. You are going out of your way in a hard time like this, it’s nice to have people appreciate it.”Communication is KeyRoy quickly figured out the importance of communication when it comes to pleasing customers. “It’s a tough form of communication. We don’t have their numbers, it’s only texting through the Instacart app. Sometimes people won’t answer so you’re left hanging,” Roy states. Remember going to the store and gasping at the wiped-out aisles as toilet paper suddenly became a luxury good? That is Roy’s daily reality as she hustles to get customers the goods they need.Roy puts in the extra effort and texts pictures of replacement options to let the customer choose the brand they prefer.“I don’t want anyone upset that they’re spending money on something they won’t eat,” she said.Her customer service skills are in part due to the Effective Communications course she took at Nichols, in which she learned about perception. “People want things a certain way, you have to communicate with them in a non-judgmental way and the class helped me think of it from their point of view.” She said. “It doesn’t sound hard but honestly it is. You’re talking to people you don’t know at all. It’s all about communication.”At the End of the BatchAs the pandemic continues, Roy shops on. The more she can shop, the more people she can help and the more money she can earn. “Helping these people makes me feel good. I really like it honestly and that’s where I want to go in life: being of service to people.”Moving forward, Roy wants to be of service to companies through her passion of digital and social media marketing. By creating content and building brands, she’ll help companies take their digital presence to the next level.