Dirty Confessions of Food Delivery Hacks

Ewww.

I was standing outside traffic court, smoking a cigarette with the other losers, waiting for court to start, when I overheard two food delivery drivers comparing notes and sharing their inside jokes and delivery stories. I was naturally curious because I’m a lazy, fat fuck with no car who uses DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEATS and Instacart just about every day of my fat life, so I inched closer to eavesdrop…



The first dude, let’s call him Chad — because he looked like a Chad — drives for DoorDash and bragged how he “snags” a few fries and/or onion rings from every order until he has enough for a lunch break. The other one, who we’ll call Dante — because he looked like a Dante — drives for “all of ’em,” which I gathered to be DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEATS, laughed and assured Chad that “snagging” isn’t “stealing.” He then added how he always counts such things as breadsticks, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, and chicken wings because sometimes restaurants throw in one or to extras, which he then snags for himself.

“If you snag one nugget and a few fries from every order,” he said, “by the end of your shift, you have a full meal, like a 20-piece variety nuggets from everywhere.”

Chad agreed and they both laughed.

It gets crazier…



Chad keeps a metal straw in his car because those, “frothy milkshakes and pretty, foo-foo drinks” he can’t afford are often, “too tempting.”

Dante added, “Sometimes I help myself to few sips of soda or whatever just to cool off,” because his car’s A/C is broken and sometimes it’s, “just too hot.”

They both laughed again and concurred that whatever the customer doesn’t know won’t hurt them. “It’s not like they’ll miss it — they don’t even know,” one of them said.

The conversation was soon joined by an older woman, Debbie — because she looked like a Debbie — who is a full-time shopper for Instacart but also does DoorDash “on the side” (whatever that means). She explained how Instacart reveals the tip amount on every “batch” before she begins shopping for an order. If someone gives her a shitty tip, or no tip at all, she makes it a point to tell the customer the store is out of certain, higher-priced items in order to suggest more expensive replacements to boost the total cost, and thus her percentage, to compensate for the lack of tip. If the customer instead requests a refund, there’s a good chance the store will be “out of” several other key products the customer needs, just out of spite.



Dante then added how he sometimes does Instacart too, and how he will purposely report slightly higher weights on produce, especially bananas and grapes (because he loves bananas and grapes) so he can scarf some for himself. “It’s not like customers weigh everything when they get it,” he said, “so yeah, free bananas and grapes, baby!”

All three laughed at that.

Debbie went on to say how she’ll go so far as to pilfer a few slices of deli meat and cheese from a deli order, then two slices of bread (being careful to retie the bread bag), to make herself a sandwich to eat on the way to the customer’s house. “Thanks for the lunch,” she said. To which Chad added a quote from Kevin from The Office about how if you remove just one item from every Big Mac and save it, eventually you’ll have a free Big Mac.

It was the consensus among the three that they “don’t get paid enough,” and that driving around with bags of delicious-smelling fast food was akin to dangling raw meat in front of a hungry coyote. “What do they expect?” Chad asked, then continued on about how he often “picks at” the extra-crispy fried chicken while driving or snags a few croutons off a salad or bacon bits off the Baconator Fries, or stops to help himself to a bite of a customer’s cole slaw.



The conversation concluded with a discussion about restaurants having to meet all their health codes and inspections, yet the Health Department never asks to see delivery drivers’ cars. Chad laughed about his car being a huge mess, often times orders are sitting on top of his “dirty-ass laundry” or among the garbage on his floor which is a mish-mash of weeks-old, moldy fast food containers, empty oil containers, anti-freeze jugs, maybe a used condom or two, and “God knows what else.” Dante talked about smoking weed and cigarettes and how he’s surprised no one has complained their food smells like weed yet. And Debbie added she often has her dog with her and he often licks the overflow of a soda cup or the whipped cream off an uncovered shake or latte, and shoves his nose in every food bag.

“Whattaya gonna do?” she laughed, and the other two laughed in agreement as they all butted out their cigs and went inside for the start of the court session.



I often wonder about my food, about the “adventures” it goes on from the minute it leaves the restaurant to the moment it arrives at my door, and how vulnerable it is to contamination (and worse). I always envision food delivery drivers picking their noses (we all do it when we drive) and then handling my food bags, or hacking and coughing with the windows up. Do they even wash their hands? Are they required to? Do food delivery services require drivers to complete a food handling or safety course? Do they have clean car requirements? I know Uber drivers are required to keep their cars spotless, but what about UberEATS, and DoorDash, and GrubHub? Apparently not, according to Chad, Dante and Debbie.

I often get a photo of my food sitting at my door, but I’d much prefer to see a photo of my food in the car that delivered it, instead.

There really is no telling who is handling and delivering our food orders once they leave their restaurants. Yeah, these delivery services do background checks, so it’s likely not a sex offender handling your food, but that doesn’t mean it’s not some whack dude who’s gonna hack a loogy in my soda or worse yet, blow a load in it. I can’t tell you how many times the car that’s arrived with my order isn’t the same car shown in the app, or it’s a man when it should be a woman or vice versa.



It’s kind of scary now that I think about it, and especially after listening to those three idiots laugh about it.

Restaurant establishments are required by law to be clean and sanitary. Their workers are trained in food handling and safety. Food is stored properly and kept at temperature. They have cameras to make sure workers aren’t kicking your burger across the floor or spitting or jizzing in your McFlurry. Food delivery services, on the other hand, seem to be exempt from all that.

I wonder who is liable for cross-contamination? What happens if I get hepatitis from Chad fondling my food? Or I get ringworm from Debbie’s dog? Or if one of them jizzes on my burger or hacks a lung cookie in my soda? Who is responsible? The delivery service? The driver? Surely not the restaurant. Or maybe all three. These are questions I shouldn’t even have to ask because maybe there needs to be some sort of health department rules and regulations in place (and enforced) to protect us.



I’m beginning to question using these services. At least when restaurants deliver their own food, with their own, in-house drivers, you can assume there’s more care — and responsibility — that goes into it. They are indeed liable.

Of course, no one mentioned jacking-off into anyone’s food, so that’s a plus, but needless to say that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there doing it. And if they did, would any of us even notice? Bottom line, I think picking up your own food is the safest way to get it to your door. Maybe it’s fine time I start getting my fat ass up off the couch to go and get it myself. Ugh.

—TV

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