If you live in the blizzard-ridden United States, you might be looking out your window at a harsh, desolate, snowy wasteland. Cars in the middle of the street. Frosty despair. But you're also hungry. Here's how to order in, guilt-free.
The advent of online food delivery has ushered in an era of indulgent slothfulness for which I am always grateful. 10 pm. Chinese food? Click! No cash exchanged, no annoyed human voices dealt with—just you and the beneficent food-dispensing internet. Sometimes an occasional pang of guilty introspection—Is it pathetic that I just ordered a bagel and OJ instead of putting on pants and going across the street? But hey, the future is now.
The blizzard is also now. So it's important to reconsider, just a bit, the way you deal with the Internet Instant Food God. Namely, that it's powered by the service of human beings, who on snowy days in particular, deserve some extra consideration.
Above all, consider the fact that delivering food to you is going to really suck for the exact reason that you don't want to go out and get it yourself. Pants will become snowy and wet, bicycles will slide around on ice, and beards will be caked with vicious snow. But this will all happen to someone else! Someone bringing you food. Tipping reasonably is always the decent thing to do, but under conditions that might look like a scene from a science fiction movie, you've got to keep others in mind. This ain't business as usual.
So first, call ahead.
See If They're Even Open
Seamless, CampusFood, Delivery.com—whatever your slothful weapon of choice is (I'm a Seamless guy, myself), these sites probably can't be relied on for accuracy on days like this. So, before you click your way to lunch, skip the computer and pick up the phone to call your local eateries. I've found that many places around me aren't even answering their phones—either closed or overwhelmed with snow crises. Perhaps they're huddled in the back of the store with a shotgun, awaiting desperate pizza looters in ski jackets. Perhaps I will be one of those looters soon.
Are They Delivering Everywhere?
But call, and make sure they're open—also be sure to ask if there are any caveats to their delivery service. Specify your address. We're used to food delivery sites being impossibly easy to use—if the restaurant shows up on the list, food appears at your door. But don't count on the web today. My favorite local burger establishment warned that because their delivery brigade uses bikes, they're skipping many streets that haven't been plowed. Asking questions like this could be the difference between your burger arriving in half an hour and your burger arriving never.
Don't Be an Asshole
If they say there's going to be an extra hour wait, don't complain. Don't even think about whining. Don't even roll your eyes while on the phone. Your neighborhood is now the Battle of Hoth. The price you pay for not getting your Edmund Hillary on in search of some carbs is patience. Be patient. Be polite. It sucks that you didn't stock up before the blizzard—I sure didn't—but don't take out it out on the burrito people.
Please, Please, Please Tip Really Well
As said above, leaving a decent tip is what separates us from the savage beasts of the wilderness. It's a sign of solidarity with people who do jobs you don't want to. But on a day like this—I literally just heard a woman scream in pain from outside my window as a giant gust of wind blew past—the job sucks a lot more than usual. Think 35% or so, depending on just how awful it is outside. Maybe check your weather widget and factor in the windchill and windspeed. Or just peek outside your window, decide how much you pity the people you see on a scale of 1 through 10, and then tip four times that much. And remember. The snow will thaw. Order will be restored. And when the delivery flows freely through the streets like sweet wine, you don't want to be remembered as the person who screwed over the delivery guy on the frozen bicycle. Just saying.
When all this is taken into account, then go ahead and type in that super convenient online order. And there's nothing wrong with eating it while staring out of the window and smiling at how glad you are to be inside.