Chow Bella

Four Reasons I Hate Food Delivery Services (and I Don’t Care Who Knows It)

Let me be clear – I don’t use food delivery apps or services. Why would I?

It used to be your mom would leave $20 on the coffee table to pay for the incoming pizza, or you’d phone the nearest Chinese food joint for a quick dinner delivery. Now, we have a million delivery apps to choose from.

Part of me gets the benefit. There are so many reasons why you’d want food delivered to you.

One, you’re already drunk and don’t feel like cooking, or you’re too hungover to go anywhere. Or you ride a bike and the to-go containers are too cumbersome for pedaled transit. You could also not have A/C in your car and it’s 1,000 degrees out. Or maybe you’re outside the delivery zone, or you don’t meet the minimum order. Or you’re hungry and just want to stay in your comfy house shorts. I get it.

But the problems, for me, boil down to four big ones.

No. 1: There are too many options.

You either have a favorite (who are these people?) or you’ll have to load up your phone with more apps — which leads to creating more profiles, remembering more passwords, and entering more payment info. Enough. You’ve got platforms like Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEATS, Postmates — probably a million more. And how do you figure which one’s the best? Now I have homework to do? No thanks.

No. 2: It takes forever.

It seems like the few times I’ve used ones of these apps, it’s not the usual 30 minutes (or maybe 45 minutes if it’s during a football game). When you order directly from a business, say places like Venezia’s or other pizza joints, the local Chinese food eatery, or obviously Jimmy John’s, you have enough time to start laundry or something. Then wham. Doorbell.

Your food is here.

Do you call? Are you that person? I really don’t feel like going through an existential crisis over Kung Pao chicken.

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With these third-party delivery systems, it always seems like an hour or more. You’re beyond hungry, the movie has been queued up for way too long, and you’re thinking maybe you should’ve just chanced getting Jack in the Box on your bike. Then you have to start asking yourself nervous questions. Do you call? Are you that person? I really don’t feel like going through an existential crisis over Kung Pao chicken.

No. 3:  A deliverer's job looks like it sucks.

One of the most awkward things in life is walking into a restaurant alone and standing there, waiting for food ordered to go. Especially in places where to-go orders aren’t the norm. Now, imagine that’s your job.

And what if the food’s not ready? What if the restaurant is super busy? Then what? Stand there, look at your phone, or grab a seat and be forced to watch whatever's on the restaurant’s TV? When you total it up, that’s a lot of time for a delivery driver to be sitting around. I sometimes watch these poor delivery service people just sitting or standing there waiting, and, thinking back to this at home later, I feel too guilty to order even my favorite wings from my couch.

No. 4: How does the tip work?

If you’re like me, all you want to do is throw your money at people in the service industry. If tipping is optional, some people may waive that civility thanks to delivery and service fees. How much does this specific sect of delivery driver get from the third-party company? Is it enough? Now I’m stressed again!

I’m sure this is all a great way for people to get food and earn extra money, but I’ll always want to see the glow of a pizza delivery person’s car topper, and I never want to download another app.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.