Author Topic: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery  (Read 4363 times)

TheContinentalOp

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The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« on: August 05, 2019, 06:48:22 AM »
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/all-food-will-be-delivered/595222/

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In 2015, for the first time on record, Americans spent more money at restaurants than at grocery stores. In dense urban areas, restaurants are literally eating the urban retail budget. Food-service locations have accounted for 40 percent of all new leases in Manhattan this year, more than clothing stores, banks, and health clubs combined, according to data from the real-estate company Cushman & Wakefield. Yesterday’s Gap is becoming tomorrow gastropub.

But another turn is coming: In 2020, more than half of restaurant spending is projected to be “off premise”—not inside a restaurant. In other words, spending on deliveries, drive-throughs, and takeaway meals will soon overtake dining inside restaurants, for the first time on record. According to the investment group Cowen and Company, off-premise spending will account for as much as 80 percent of the industry’s growth in the next five years.

I think the last time I had food delivered to my home was 2008.

wageslave23

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2019, 06:56:48 AM »
Those are interesting facts.  But why is it "ethically dubious"?  Because the same people who blow all their money on food delivery will be the ones crying poor when their transmission breaks?  I'm sure you're referring to the businesses that are just providing the people with what they want.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2019, 06:59:32 AM »
The people getting takeout every night are the very same ones telling me that I need to pay for their college for them. Um, no.

TheContinentalOp

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2019, 07:20:35 AM »
Those are interesting facts.  But why is it "ethically dubious"?  Because the same people who blow all their money on food delivery will be the ones crying poor when their transmission breaks?  I'm sure you're referring to the businesses that are just providing the people with what they want.

"Dubious" isn't my word. It's in the title of the article, kind of click-baity. I would guess the author is talking about the "exploitation" of the gig workers making the deliveries and possibly the additional CO2 emissions and the extra trash that is generated.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2019, 07:27:48 AM »
I love Uber and Uber Eats. Adore them.

Uber gives me $10 off vouchers all the damn time. Combine this with the fact that Uber in my city is about 20% cheaper (with nil discount) than taxis anyway, and I'm getting awesome rates. The other day I paid $9 to travel about 12 minutes in peak hour. Taxi fare would have been $15. The same trip on public transport would have been $5, and would have taken 25 minutes. Then the trip back I took an Uber Pool, and it was literally free, even though I didn't carpool with anyone except the driver! So I paid $9 for about 25 minutes' worth of transport, when the equivalent daily PT fare would have been $7.

And if you know how to vary accounts between yourself/your partner, you can double up on coupons all the damn time.

Meanwhile, Uber Eats just gave me a voucher for $30 off my next meal, too, meaning that it's going to be free. When I don't get great discounts, I've been picking out restaurants that do free delivery within my radius. Not sure why they would offer free delivery, as I'm sure it cuts into their profits, but I'm not complaining.

I love the convenience. It's not something you want to use every day, but maybe 2 or 3 times a month. With Uber, Uber Pool and Uber Eats, I'm saving time on busy evenings when I have pressing work. The few times I've used Uber Pool, it's been cheaper than public transport and I've only had to walk about 1-2 minutes out of my way.

I'm convinced it's unsustainable. These incentives only work because Uber is willing to run at a loss while it chases market share. Well, that's not my concern.

Whether it's otherwise ethically dubious is a matter for the regulators, lawmakers and courts. I will leave that to them.

Davnasty

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2019, 07:46:25 AM »
Those are interesting facts.  But why is it "ethically dubious"?  Because the same people who blow all their money on food delivery will be the ones crying poor when their transmission breaks?  I'm sure you're referring to the businesses that are just providing the people with what they want.

"Dubious" isn't my word. It's in the title of the article, kind of click-baity. I would guess the author is talking about the "exploitation" of the gig workers making the deliveries and possibly the additional CO2 emissions and the extra trash that is generated.

The author definitely could have been more clear on this. At first it sounds like he's referring to the trash created but then he mentions low wages and the unsustainable business model, then summarizes with "the ethical, ecological, and economic dubiousness ". I think he just likes the word dubious.

But I agree that the system being created is wasteful. The disposable containers and fuel costs are probably the worst of it, but I'd be interested in a more thorough breakdown of the environmental efficiency of take out vs. dining in vs. cooking at home. He didn't provide much data to back up why delivery is worse.

moof

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2019, 07:55:14 AM »
To me the ethically dubious thing is all these startups with no real business model.  Uber may be great and cheap, but they are burning shareholder cash at a truly phenomenal rate to build their monopoly up and drive taxis out.  If/when they either die, or crank prices up to at least break even we will be the ones living with result.  Many of these companies are a mirage of low prices that cannot be sustained for long.

Syonyk

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2019, 08:14:47 AM »
I'm convinced it's unsustainable. These incentives only work because Uber is willing to run at a loss while it chases market share. Well, that's not my concern.

And that's how we got Walmart driving all the locally owned retailers out of business - then abandoning areas after they've consumed all they can.

Pretty nice FYIGM there.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2019, 08:19:20 AM »
I'm convinced it's unsustainable. These incentives only work because Uber is willing to run at a loss while it chases market share. Well, that's not my concern.

And that's how we got Walmart driving all the locally owned retailers out of business - then abandoning areas after they've consumed all they can.

Pretty nice FYIGM there.

Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?

Worse comes to worst, Uber drives taxis out of business and simply becomes the monopolistic, poor-value behemoth that taxis have now been for decades and decades. The only difference is that there's going to be another Uber (e.g. Lyft, Didi) around the corner.

So really, instead of having a truly unethical monopoly (taxis with limited medallions), we now have a bunch of companies trying to create a monopoly, but in the meantime creating really healthy competition and innovation in the industry. Software like Uber and Uber Pool is amazing. It leads to so much more choice and utility for consumers.

fuzzy math

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2019, 08:36:57 AM »

Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?


In cities it doesn't matter as much. In the vast majority of towns, there is no Aldi or Whole Foods. The local mom and pop shop can't compete price wise with Walmart. But that's exactly what a million studies and articles have concluded and people have discussed on this forum ad nauseum. Not sure why you're flippantly putting your idea out there when you could easily read a researched article showing why that isn't true. You also don't live in small town America.

fuzzy math

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2019, 08:50:38 AM »
Uber eats is pricing itself out of my business. I understand they have to pay living wages for their gig workers, but I'm guessing the majority of the $$ spent on fees in Uber eats is going towards their headquarters and employee salaries in San Fran, which is not something I'm keen on financially supporting.

Here is an actual receipt of mine for 2 $13 meals from this past weekend. (There was also a 50% off uber eats code that I used but I'm ignoring that for the purposes of showing general costs).


Subtotal   $25.98
Tax   $2.07
Service Fee    $3.90
Delivery Fee    $5.99


I have a credit card that gives me $15 monthly in Uber / eats credits, which is the only reason I use the service at all. The fees eat up the credit and the result is a $5 discount which isn't an enticing enough reason on its own to order food. Once I cancel the card, I'm not paying $10 to have food delivered to me. I can easily order the food myself and drive the 10 mins to pick it up. Gas is cheap here.

My Uber eats driver actually texted me saying "I like ratings and tips!" which was about the most awkward thing I've encountered so far with Uber. I left him neither. Maybe that makes me an asshole, but for $10 in fees Uber can pay him at least minimum wage. I understand that people need to make a living wage, and I sincerely hope they don't continue to drive if they're not making that. If Uber is not profitable (both for themselves and their drivers) at these levels of fees they deserve to burn to the ground.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2019, 09:08:41 AM »

Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?


In cities it doesn't matter as much. In the vast majority of towns, there is no Aldi or Whole Foods. The local mom and pop shop can't compete price wise with Walmart. But that's exactly what a million studies and articles have concluded and people have discussed on this forum ad nauseum. Not sure why you're flippantly putting your idea out there when you could easily read a researched article showing why that isn't true. You also don't live in small town America.

Which is a worthy addendum to a discussion about Walmart, but which doesn't bear on a discussion about Uber Eats. I'm sure Uber Eats also doesn't work in small town America. More to the point, wherever Uber goes, it is tailed by Lyft; and wherever Uber displaces a market, it is displacing a monopolistic taxi system anyway, so I see it as a win-win.

It also allows workers to have flexibility in their hours and schedules.

wageslave23

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2019, 09:14:21 AM »
Uber eats is pricing itself out of my business. I understand they have to pay living wages for their gig workers, but I'm guessing the majority of the $$ spent on fees in Uber eats is going towards their headquarters and employee salaries in San Fran, which is not something I'm keen on financially supporting.

Here is an actual receipt of mine for 2 $13 meals from this past weekend. (There was also a 50% off uber eats code that I used but I'm ignoring that for the purposes of showing general costs).


Subtotal   $25.98
Tax   $2.07
Service Fee    $3.90
Delivery Fee    $5.99


I have a credit card that gives me $15 monthly in Uber / eats credits, which is the only reason I use the service at all. The fees eat up the credit and the result is a $5 discount which isn't an enticing enough reason on its own to order food. Once I cancel the card, I'm not paying $10 to have food delivered to me. I can easily order the food myself and drive the 10 mins to pick it up. Gas is cheap here.

My Uber eats driver actually texted me saying "I like ratings and tips!" which was about the most awkward thing I've encountered so far with Uber. I left him neither. Maybe that makes me an asshole, but for $10 in fees Uber can pay him at least minimum wage. I understand that people need to make a living wage, and I sincerely hope they don't continue to drive if they're not making that. If Uber is not profitable (both for themselves and their drivers) at these levels of fees they deserve to burn to the ground.

I've always wondered what the fees were for Uber eats.  I have a coworker that frequently uses it.  So basically you are paying $10 in delivery fees, I think she tips a couple bucks, and then you are also paying $10-15 dollars for food that would cost $3 to make yourself.  Around $20 for convenience.  Sometimes I wish for another great depression so people would have a wake up call.  My grandparents who grew up around the time of the great depression would still eat the heel of a loaf of bread, freezing half a loaf so that it wouldn't go bad.  If fruit became moldy, cut off the moldy parts and eat the rest.  Never threw out food because it got burnt.  There's a reason they had comfortable retirements while never having a college degree.

economista

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2019, 09:20:17 AM »
Here is a totally different ethical quandary around Uber Eats and other food delivery services: 1 in 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating from the orders they are delivering. When I saw the title of this thread I assumed it was going to be about this article:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746600105/1-in-4-food-delivery-drivers-admit-to-eating-your-food

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 09:37:10 AM »
I've always wondered what the fees were for Uber eats.  I have a coworker that frequently uses it.  So basically you are paying $10 in delivery fees, I think she tips a couple bucks, and then you are also paying $10-15 dollars for food that would cost $3 to make yourself.  Around $20 for convenience.  Sometimes I wish for another great depression so people would have a wake up call.  My grandparents who grew up around the time of the great depression would still eat the heel of a loaf of bread, freezing half a loaf so that it wouldn't go bad.  If fruit became moldy, cut off the moldy parts and eat the rest.  Never threw out food because it got burnt.  There's a reason they had comfortable retirements while never having a college degree.

The delivery fee in my area used to be free (thanks to competition from Foodora and Menulog). Now that only Uber Eats is in town, the delivery fee is typically $5-$7, which I don't believe in paying since it's not worth a low-skilled worker $5-$7 to cycle 5 to 10 minutes to my place with a bag of food. However, there are frequently free delivery offers plus Uber Eats itself gives frequent coupons (again, if you have access to multiple accounts, you get even more vouchers), which means that on the whole, it's cheaper to get food delivered than it is to walk to the restaurant yourself and grab the food. It's handy for those times you're working late in the office and you want convenience.

Wrenchturner

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 09:53:40 AM »
My local Indian place dropped their delivery service, skipthedishes.  The restaurant wasn't very happy with the quality of drivers apparently.  I still order from there but I pick it up for a discount.

They got me hooked using the delivery service though, and they're the only Indian place in town!

DadJokes

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2019, 10:03:32 AM »
I've never cared for the idea of paying for delivery. If I can save a few bucks by picking it up myself, I do it. Having to pick the food up is one more deterrent to eating out when I don't need to.

And on a related topic, I also don't care for grocery delivery. We always forget to put items on the list that we need, and it's when I walk by it in the grocery store that I realize we need it still.

neophyte

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2019, 10:13:47 AM »
I've started seeing Wall-E playing in my head everytime I see an ad for one of those meal subscription services. Delivery falls into the same category. I do get delivery about once a year when I have guests that want it, but I always regret it for one reason or another.

pachnik

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 10:21:25 AM »
I very rarely get food delivered.  My husband and I go out for dinner on Fridays and I strongly prefer going out rather than ordering in.  Delivery in our suburb isn't the greatest anyway. 

But I definitely see those Skip the Dishes and Doordash delivery people around. 

Syonyk

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2019, 10:32:41 AM »
Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?

Melbourne has 5M people.  Might I suggest checking out places that aren't millions of people before asserting that Walmart is just one of many stores?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/09/what-happened-when-walmart-left is one article covering what happens after Walmart ruins the local ecosystem and then decides it's not profitable enough to stay.

Yes, their prices are lower, mostly because they ride their suppliers to the edge of bankruptcy and beyond to save a few pennies.

I'm (obviously) not a fan of Walmart.

Quote
Worse comes to worst, Uber drives taxis out of business and simply becomes the monopolistic, poor-value behemoth that taxis have now been for decades and decades. The only difference is that there's going to be another Uber (e.g. Lyft, Didi) around the corner.

So... "progress" is burning billions in venture capital to end up exactly where we were?  Cool, that's definitely a sustainable way forward.  (insert large rolleyes here)

Quote
So really, instead of having a truly unethical monopoly (taxis with limited medallions), we now have a bunch of companies trying to create a monopoly, but in the meantime creating really healthy competition and innovation in the industry. Software like Uber and Uber Pool is amazing. It leads to so much more choice and utility for consumers.

It's a system for exploiting people who can't do proper cost of operation and depreciation calculations on vehicles, for sure.  If they bother to show up.  I'll either take a taxi to the airport because they'll usually show up (I live out in the country and can schedule a taxi ride) or just drive myself.  It's easier to take a Ural over to the airport than to bother with the rideshare stuff for the most part.  I use them a few times a year on travel, but it's really not that much cheaper than a taxi places I find myself.  I certainly don't consider exploiting people who can't do math "amazing," though I do try to use Lyft instead of Uber as they're not run by a bunch of toxic idiots.

It also allows workers to have flexibility in their hours and schedules.

Sure, if you want to wear out your car for less than minimum wage.  Progress?

I've started seeing Wall-E playing in my head everytime I see an ad for one of those meal subscription services. Delivery falls into the same category. I do get delivery about once a year when I have guests that want it, but I always regret it for one reason or another.

Our standard "prepared food with guests" is a pass by Papa Murphys Pizza on the way back from wherever - take-and-bake pizzas that are pretty solid, for a good bit less than the delivery pizza.  They're not nearly as greasy either.  You can get a couple large pizzas and a tray of cheese bread for $20-$25 and cook as needed.

I know friends who are heavy on the food delivery service thing, and their monthly food spending is just staggering.  Think $900/mo for a single guy feeding himself.  I keep trying to convince him that cooking for himself is worth $500-$700/mo savings... limited success.

TheContinentalOp

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2019, 10:41:07 AM »
Here is a totally different ethical quandary around Uber Eats and other food delivery services: 1 in 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating from the orders they are delivering. When I saw the title of this thread I assumed it was going to be about this article:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746600105/1-in-4-food-delivery-drivers-admit-to-eating-your-food

Many years ago when I worked for Domino's Pizza one of the drivers would open his delivery when he was in the car and pick off a topping, usually a pepperoni slice, and eat it.

DadJokes

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2019, 10:50:55 AM »
Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?

Melbourne has 5M people.  Might I suggest checking out places that aren't millions of people before asserting that Walmart is just one of many stores?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/09/what-happened-when-walmart-left is one article covering what happens after Walmart ruins the local ecosystem and then decides it's not profitable enough to stay.

Yes, their prices are lower, mostly because they ride their suppliers to the edge of bankruptcy and beyond to save a few pennies.

I'm (obviously) not a fan of Walmart.

I grew up in the desolate wasteland of west Texas. Our town (~12k population) had Wal-Mart and one other regional grocery store...still does. Before Wal-Mart, it was just the one grocery store and no competition. I just looked online at surrounding towns in the area, most of which are smaller than the one I grew up in, and not a single one has Wal-Mart as the sole provider of groceries. There are a few that only have a single regional/local store and no Wal-Mart.

I don't really care for Wal-Mart, but the place gets far too much hate from some people.

fuzzy math

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2019, 11:37:22 AM »
I very rarely get food delivered.  My husband and I go out for dinner on Fridays and I strongly prefer going out rather than ordering in.  Delivery in our suburb isn't the greatest anyway. 

But I definitely see those Skip the Dishes and Doordash delivery people around.

I only do takeout / delivery because I hate taking my kids to restaurants (so much $$ and food waste and so much bad behavior and complaining), and they complain about not getting food if we go out without them. I don't feel like being punished for the rest of my child rearing years either, so I'm still going to get food sometimes! My solution is to order delivery (or go get take out) at 9 pm when they're upstairs getting ready for bed and sneak the food inside. I'd really rather go out but its just too much of a hassle at this point in my life.


A Fella from Stella

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2019, 12:31:02 PM »
When Uber Eats first came out, they were paying something like $8 for a delivery while also giving something extra to the consumers.

Then it got to be something like $3.50, and it wasn't uncommon for the full cycle of getting pinged to delivering the food to take me 30 minutes.

oldtoyota

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2019, 12:50:17 PM »
I'm convinced it's unsustainable. These incentives only work because Uber is willing to run at a loss while it chases market share. Well, that's not my concern.

And that's how we got Walmart driving all the locally owned retailers out of business - then abandoning areas after they've consumed all they can.

Pretty nice FYIGM there.

Yeah, cause now Walmart is the only place that one can buy from...it's not like Aldi, Whole Foods or a whole bunch of other grocers/stores exist, right?

Worse comes to worst, Uber drives taxis out of business and simply becomes the monopolistic, poor-value behemoth that taxis have now been for decades and decades. The only difference is that there's going to be another Uber (e.g. Lyft, Didi) around the corner.

So really, instead of having a truly unethical monopoly (taxis with limited medallions), we now have a bunch of companies trying to create a monopoly, but in the meantime creating really healthy competition and innovation in the industry. Software like Uber and Uber Pool is amazing. It leads to so much more choice and utility for consumers.

If you are saying that, you probably live in a city. (Melbourne still??) In rural areas, Walmart IS the only place to shop. They have driven out all of the competition.

I lived in a rural area.

cats

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2019, 12:53:57 PM »


The delivery fee in my area used to be free (thanks to competition from Foodora and Menulog). Now that only Uber Eats is in town, the delivery fee is typically $5-$7, which I don't believe in paying since it's not worth a low-skilled worker $5-$7 to cycle 5 to 10 minutes to my place with a bag of food. However, there are frequently free delivery offers plus Uber Eats itself gives frequent coupons (again, if you have access to multiple accounts, you get even more vouchers), which means that on the whole, it's cheaper to get food delivered than it is to walk to the restaurant yourself and grab the food. It's handy for those times you're working late in the office and you want convenience.

Honestly, this sounds like hell to me.  You're working late, you need to take a break to eat something, but you can't even afford a 10-min break to walk outside the building and pick up the food yourself?  The break is good for your mental state and would help you to maintain productivity.

I think there's a point at which more convenience does not result in more actual productivity (or whatever it is you are chasing with the increased convenience).  The situation you're describing definitely tips into that territory for me.

Regarding food delivery, I remember one time a roommate ordered food to be delivered.  Somehow the process wound up taking close to an hour and multiple phone calls (to one restaurant).  In that amount of time she could have walked to the nearest grocery store, picked up a frozen pizza, and had it baked and ready to eat, for less money, hassle, and time.  I know her experience was probably extremely atypical but it just cemented for me that food delivery was a waste of time/money I did not want to get involved in.  If I need convenience that badly it's easier to keep some kind of quick frozen meal in the freezer (at home or office).

Having recently read about how difficult it is to scrape together a living wage as a food deliveryperson, I'm even less inclined to participate in the system.

Here4theGB

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2019, 12:57:43 PM »
Here is a totally different ethical quandary around Uber Eats and other food delivery services: 1 in 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating from the orders they are delivering. When I saw the title of this thread I assumed it was going to be about this article:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746600105/1-in-4-food-delivery-drivers-admit-to-eating-your-food
Yep, no way I'm trusting food to be in the possession of a down on his/her luck uber eats driver.  I've seen plenty of them picking up food at places we're eating at.  Gross x 15403998503

Davnasty

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2019, 01:05:10 PM »
Here is a totally different ethical quandary around Uber Eats and other food delivery services: 1 in 4 food delivery drivers admit to eating from the orders they are delivering. When I saw the title of this thread I assumed it was going to be about this article:

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746600105/1-in-4-food-delivery-drivers-admit-to-eating-your-food
Yep, no way I'm trusting food to be in the possession of a down on his/her luck uber eats driver.  I've seen plenty of them picking up food at places we're eating at.  Gross x 15403998503

(1)540-399-8503

Is this your phone number or was that a coincidence?

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2019, 01:26:54 PM »
So... "progress" is burning billions in venture capital to end up exactly where we were?  Cool, that's definitely a sustainable way forward.  (insert large rolleyes here)

It's a system for exploiting people who can't do proper cost of operation and depreciation calculations on vehicles, for sure.  If they bother to show up.  I'll either take a taxi to the airport because they'll usually show up (I live out in the country and can schedule a taxi ride) or just drive myself.  It's easier to take a Ural over to the airport than to bother with the rideshare stuff for the most part.  I use them a few times a year on travel, but it's really not that much cheaper than a taxi places I find myself.  I certainly don't consider exploiting people who can't do math "amazing," though I do try to use Lyft instead of Uber as they're not run by a bunch of toxic idiots.


"Progress" is burning billions in venture capital to end up with more competition, lower prices, more efficiency in matching consumers to service providers. In my city, suddenly taxis are way more responsive, and no longer ramp up their prices every year, because they have competition. This is a point you stubbornly refuse to concede. "I'll take a taxi because they're going to show up, or just drive myself" isn't much of a cost-benefit analysis; it's more of an ode to stubbornness. Uber gives me a hire car service for damn near close to public transport rates - I bet in any other context you'd be lauding me for my frugality.

"It's not much cheaper than a taxi I find myself" - either your taxis are much cheaper than mine, or you haven't figured out how to use Uber Pool and rotating coupons very well in Uber.

As for the rest of it - exploiting workers and so on - I don't subscribe to any of it. It's voluntary that they engage in this. If they don't like it, they can stop at any time.

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2019, 01:29:50 PM »


The delivery fee in my area used to be free (thanks to competition from Foodora and Menulog). Now that only Uber Eats is in town, the delivery fee is typically $5-$7, which I don't believe in paying since it's not worth a low-skilled worker $5-$7 to cycle 5 to 10 minutes to my place with a bag of food. However, there are frequently free delivery offers plus Uber Eats itself gives frequent coupons (again, if you have access to multiple accounts, you get even more vouchers), which means that on the whole, it's cheaper to get food delivered than it is to walk to the restaurant yourself and grab the food. It's handy for those times you're working late in the office and you want convenience.

Honestly, this sounds like hell to me.  You're working late, you need to take a break to eat something, but you can't even afford a 10-min break to walk outside the building and pick up the food yourself?  The break is good for your mental state and would help you to maintain productivity.

I think there's a point at which more convenience does not result in more actual productivity (or whatever it is you are chasing with the increased convenience).  The situation you're describing definitely tips into that territory for me.

Regarding food delivery, I remember one time a roommate ordered food to be delivered.  Somehow the process wound up taking close to an hour and multiple phone calls (to one restaurant).  In that amount of time she could have walked to the nearest grocery store, picked up a frozen pizza, and had it baked and ready to eat, for less money, hassle, and time.  I know her experience was probably extremely atypical but it just cemented for me that food delivery was a waste of time/money I did not want to get involved in.  If I need convenience that badly it's easier to keep some kind of quick frozen meal in the freezer (at home or office).

Having recently read about how difficult it is to scrape together a living wage as a food deliveryperson, I'm even less inclined to participate in the system.

The problem for me is that the nearest decent restaurant to my office is a 10 minute walk (or more) one way, and the restaurant that I like is about a 25 minute walk (one way). The only thing that's 5 minutes away is a McDonald's or Subway, whereas a lot of pretty decent restaurants do Uber Eats now - it's not just the greasy spoons that do it. The delivery fee is about $5-$7 which I said I don't believe is worth paying for, but there are so many ways to get free delivery that you just have to wait for the right offer.

Syonyk

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2019, 01:48:24 PM »
"Progress" is burning billions in venture capital to end up with more competition, lower prices, more efficiency in matching consumers to service providers. In my city, suddenly taxis are way more responsive, and no longer ramp up their prices every year, because they have competition. This is a point you stubbornly refuse to concede. "I'll take a taxi because they're going to show up, or just drive myself" isn't much of a cost-benefit analysis; it's more of an ode to stubbornness. Uber gives me a hire car service for damn near close to public transport rates - I bet in any other context you'd be lauding me for my frugality.

Actually, it's an ode to Uber not covering where I live (it's nominally within their map, nobody will actually show up) and Lyft being a rare oddity down here.  If I'm in town, I can use one, but out where I live, they just won't show up reliably enough for me to use them to get to the airport.  I can use them from the airport, and they do tend to have working AC, but there are some taxi companies out here with flat rate airport service that are still cheaper than Uber/Lyft.  And it's cheaper still for me to drive myself.

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"It's not much cheaper than a taxi I find myself" - either your taxis are much cheaper than mine, or you haven't figured out how to use Uber Pool and rotating coupons very well in Uber.

No, I don't use Uber that much.  As I said, I prefer Lyft because they're not run by a bunch of deranged fratboys with delusions of self driving insanity.

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As for the rest of it - exploiting workers and so on - I don't subscribe to any of it. It's voluntary that they engage in this. If they don't like it, they can stop at any time.

*shrug*  Ok.  The math for being a rideshare driver keeps getting worse and worse if you have any actual logging of operating costs and depreciation on a vehicle, but I guess Uber will give you a loan for a new car, so... wait, didn't we try to get past debt slavery?

Bloop Bloop

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2019, 02:09:45 PM »
If Uber doesn't cover your area or only provides patchy service, then fair enough, it's not a viable alternative to taxis. I wouldn't argue that. From the point of view of someone who lives in a large city, Uber/ Uber Eats coverage is very good. For example the other day I went hiking and I got tired on the way back and felt like skipping the last 8km of walk (from the entrance to the national park to the nearest public transport facility). Lo and behold, an Uber showed up within a few minutes.

"Deranged fratboys" - the personality of major stakeholders does not affect what I think of the product.

"Debt slavery" - it's up to each worker to figure out his or her own finances and priorities. I have no doubt that someone who drives an Uber or Uber Eats conscientiously and with some thought would be able to make more than minimum wage, even after operating expenses.

undercover

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Re: The Booming, Ethically Dubious Business of Food Delivery
« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2019, 09:49:37 PM »
So I tried delivering with DoorDash recently because I was bored, had the time, and like trying things.

First, a depressingly disturbing number of people use these services. And an even more depressingly disturbing number of people are using them more and more every day. They are relentless with their ads. You can't go out without seeing a delivery person or signs at restaurants or some junk-mail in your box these days. And we’re most likely not talking about the Elon Musks or Einsteins of the world whose time is more valuable than to worry about things as “petty” as food. We’re talking mostly average people who probably shouldn’t be ordering food.

I actually really enjoyed it at first but over a few weeks it becomes apparent how much of a waste of time it is. Truthfully, there are some times you can make $20-25 hour before your expenses which would probably end up more like $15-17hr. Sounds great, right? Problem is those times are rare and you waste your time waiting. You keep an eye on the app for peak pay or try to schedule your day around certain times when you know it will be busy but it’s not always even then so you end up wasting mental energy on quasi-scheduling.

I think the ethically dubious parts of these companies are with how they hire and treat their drivers. They make their apps addictive by giving you so many different metrics and encouraging you to keep your numbers high. They used to pay so well initially but now the pay is basically not worth your time unless you’re extremely choosy in the orders you accept (which again takes up your time and attention) or there’s peak pay going on (+$2-4 per order).  Again, the problem is that you are “working” by even giving this app your attention at all by waiting for the “good” windows for deliveries when you could be spending your time doing much more profitable things.

Their hiring process (if you can call it that) is also questionable. As long as you have functioning limbs and don't have a felony, YOU'RE HIRED!

Also not telling your customers that all of their tip except $1 goes towards paying the driver is ethically dubious at best. People have been finding out so DoorDash came out with some BS email about promising to “do better” but I don’t think anything has changed yet.

I’ll keep the app for if I’m hard up or just extremely bored, but overall I don’t plan to continue the experiment.

//

On the one hand I am totally against this sort of convenience that is making people broke, lazy, and fat. On the other, I recognize the inevitability of automation everywhere up to and including food manufacturing/delivery. We’re in the very early stages of having rudimentary enough technology to enable a very inefficient and imperfect food delivery system - but one that appeals to people at their core nonetheless. I truly believe that one day it will literally be cheaper and healthier to have food at your doorstep within five minutes than it would be to make it yourself. I don't necessarily want this to happen, I just think it will.

I also think restaurants will increasingly build their restaurants to focus on delivery efficiency as people order out more and dine-in less. Car automation, drones, and efficiency which will lower prices will also push this market forward, for better or worse.

Personally, I have never ordered delivery and it doesn’t appeal me in the least. I’m the type that HAS to get out of the house so going to get my own food if necessary is so much better overall for me.

I’ll admit I’m somewhat OCD but I just don’t trust some random person off the street delivering my food either. They literally do nothing but a background check. Almost ANYONE can deliver.

I mean I could see if you literally worked 12+ hours a day everyday and it was more productive for you to have someone else make your food all the time than stop and have to focus on food. Actually, even then I don't think it makes sense because people can't stay super productive for that long and it becomes more beneficial to take breaks for your mental sanity/overall productivity. It’s in most people’s interest to at least meal prep for 3-4 hours on the weekend and have meals all week ready to go. Anyone can do this with just a little bit of planning.

Now I get that not everyone is going to make fresh healthy meals every night from scratch and I wouldn’t expect them to. But I’d literally rather eat out of the freezer aisle (and it probably would be just as healthy) rather than order delivery even once a week.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!