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Instacart and ALDI partnering to accept food stamps for grocery deliveries

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Grocery delivery platform Instacart is launching a pilot program to begin taking food stamps as payment in its app. The program will only be available at Aldi stores and only in a few states, starting with Georgia, then expanding to California, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Instacart said in a statement it is “committed to being a long-term solution for EBT SNAP households nationwide.” Brent Laubaugh, co-president of Aldi US said in a statement that the company was “eager to roll out this update broadly as quickly as possible,” hinting at possible future expansion.

Customers can use the Instacart app to shop for SNAP-eligible products at Aldi. Once items are added to their cart, customers will be able to determine how much of their SNAP benefit to apply to their order total. And according to the USDA website (the federal agency that administers SNAP), the benefits can only be used for food, and plants and seeds to grow food. So SNAP can’t be used to cover any Instacart delivery fees, or tips.

During the pandemic demand for grocery and food deliveries from platforms like Instacart, Grubhub, and Shipt has skyrocketed, with Instacart telling CNBC in May its customer order volume was up 500 percent from the year before. Delivery companies scrambled to hire enough workers, and have been scrutinized for how they handle payments to restaurants, for their delivery driver payment and tipping systems, and also have faced criticism for failing to protect drivers—most of whom are contract workers ineligible for benefits— from contracting the coronavirus.

Most delivery platform apps aren’t equipped to accept food stamps, officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as a universal form of payment, however. Walmart accepts SNAP in some states when picking up an online order, some Kroger locations accept SNAP payment for curbside pickups of online orders, and Amazon Prime lets users register their SNAP cards for online food purchases in most states.

SNAP, short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the biggest food assistance program in the US, and during the coronavirus pandemic the program has grown; between February and May it grew three times faster than it had in any three-month period, according to a New York Times analysis. The Families First Act, part of the US government’s emergency pandemic relief program which passed in March, temporarily reduced some of the administrative processing for SNAP applications to allow people to receive aid more quickly. An NPR analysis found that SNAP expanded by around 40 percent as a result.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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