Scott Hardie | June 14, 2020
This is very much a first-world problem, I know, but I wonder if I'm alone in this.

With being stuck at home, Kelly and I have started ordering somewhat often from restaurant delivery services like DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub, and so on. I'm well aware of their anti-competitive practices and abuse of employees and other ethical problems, so I'm not thrilled about using them. But they're better than risking infection by eating out ourselves, and we tip very well to compensate for the risk undertaken by the workers.

I'm shocked at how incompetent these services are. If the service isn't broken for me (giving me a 404 as I browse, losing items in my cart, not letting me cancel an order that I haven't submitted yet), then it's often broken for the other parties (I've gotten calls from restaurants and drivers asking me what my order is since they can't get the app to work). I gave up on Doordash entirely after a series of failures including no one fulfilling our order after several hours and only a partial refund. Grubhub disappointed me when I watched on the virtual map as the driver dropped off my order in the next neighborhood over (right house number, wrong street) and the company argued with me over whether it really wasn't delivered. UberEats hasn't failed me yet but their website has some UI problems. I haven't yet tried others like Postmates, Bite Squad, or BringMeThat, but I might at this rate.

Maybe I've just been spoiled by other Internet companies being so competent. Amazon has some problems like terrible ethical lapses (that's a whole other discussion), but incompetence is not one of them. And other online companies that I use like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Meetup, Venmo, Google, and so on, they're all fine; they do what they should and it just works. Even social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor are garbage in a lot of ways, but their technology is fine.

And the silly part is, the technology is really all that these services bring to the table. The restaurants and the drivers are the ones on the ground doing the actual work. If these services can't fulfill orders because their tech failed again, what do they contribute to this arrangement?

I wonder if anyone else has had this sort of trouble or not.

Erik Bates | June 18, 2020
[hidden by request]

Denise Sawicki | June 24, 2020
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | July 3, 2020
Yeah, Kelly and I get weird substitutions too when we order groceries online. They can't find product A so they substitute product B, then they can't find product C so they substitute product A, in the same order -- huh? My biggest wish is that the app would let us mark when we disliked a food item, because I'm forgetful. I might try some new product on sale and dislike it, and then nine months later it's on sale again and I don't remember until it's on my plate how bad it was. The app remembers only what we've bought before and suggests it again, with no way to mark an item liked or disliked.

For whatever it's worth, Denise, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably just spring for the better Internet. I wouldn't be able to sit with the anxiety that my bosses thought I forgot to join another meeting or that I might miss a deadline. The other nuisances like interruptions while downloading are annoying too, but for me the peace of mind would be worth the cost. But I do everything that I can to avoid anxiety; it's a high priority to me. I know that not everyone is like that.


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