When Food Delivery Goes Horribly Wrong
This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Denmark.
The people who make their living by delivering food to their hangover-stricken and lazy fellow beings are the true heroes of everyday life.
In Copenhagen alone, some 150 to 200 drivers deliver food for the fast food-starved customers of Just Eat, which is essentially the European equivalent of GrubHub or Seamless. They provide food for all sorts of people from all walks of life, who are in all sorts of situations. In some countries, their lives might even be at stake. But in Denmark, what's it like to perform one of society's most important roles?
We talked with two seasoned delivery drivers who told us about their wildest customers, ranging from angry chocolate milk haters, famished stoners, naked men, and swingers.
Frederik, 27, has worked as a delivery driver for three years
I've never felt like I was looked down upon for delivering food, although a friend once said, "At least you're not on welfare." Nor was it ever something I felt ashamed of. [Most of the time] it was pretty uneventful, but obviously some deliveries went more smoothly than others.
One time, a woman ordered food from me, and when I got there I couldn't find the address. Suddenly, a guy came out and started grabbing the door handle of my car. At the time, some people apparently thought it was fun to attack drivers, so I slammed on the pedal and drove off. It turned out that was the woman's boyfriend who'd been sent down the street to pick up the food, but obviously I didn't know that.
Then there was another time when I had to deliver some sandwiches. It was my first delivery of the day, and I picked up the food at the restaurant and drove out to the customer's place. She opened the door; I gave her the sandwiches first and then the drinks. When you collect an order in restaurants, you show them a number and then they hand you the food. The problem with this order was that I'd been given a Cocio chocolate milk instead of a Coke—and she hated it. She tore me apart, asked me if I couldn't read, and commented that I wasn't the brightest of the bunch. Oh, and so did her boyfriend. I'm not quite sure who he was, but the only thing he was wearing were his underpants—stained underpants. And the spots weren't part of the pattern!
In the end, I just had to leave. When that happens, you usually get [to eat] the mistaken delivery free of charge, and you're offered a new delivery of what you originally ordered. But that wasn't enough for her. She apparently called our customer service hotline and claimed she'd seen me sitting in the car drinking her Coke. Afterwards, I was called 'the Coca Cola thief' for quite some time.
Sometimes customers even invited me inside—but never how you see it in pornos (unfortunately). Usually, it's people who are drunk or somehow intoxicated who invite you in—they're sitting there smoking joints and then offer you a soda. Or older people who just need a hand with the packaging.
I once delivered food to a middle-aged woman. She'd ordered various beverages, juices, and different types of foods, and when I arrived she asked me to set them out on the table. I happened to have a spare minute, so I thought why not? When I told her later that I'd better move along, she was quite offended, and said, "It stinks that home care assistants don't stay longer."
Fortunately, most people are happy when you bring them their food. Every now and then, I even got tips. But it's a rare thing—it's mainly tourists and elderly people who tip. Sometimes it's people who might've not understood that they've already paid for their food online, and then they just drop you a bill since they've already gone through the trouble of [fishing it out of their wallet].
Mathias, 25, has delivered food for six years
I started being a food delivery driver after high school, when I was 19. Today I manage all the other drivers, but I still make a trip every now and then, just to socialize. When I drove full-time, [the shift was] all day from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM. On average, you can do two deliveries per hour. For the most part, we serve sushi, pizza, burgers, and Thai food.
The coolest thing about the job is that you get to meet so many different people. You also get to experience a lot.
One time I buzzed a guy's doorbell and he just buzzed me in without asking who I was. Some people do that. When I climbed the stairs up to the apartment, the door was ajar. I thought, alright, maybe he's just getting some tips for me—lots of people do that—but several minutes went by, so I just knocked on the door. Someone yelled, 'I'm in the living room, just come in!'.
When I entered the room, I was greeted by the sight of a man posing as Superman—except he was totally naked. Just a regular naked guy. He stood there, just [letting it all hang out], and you could clearly see his smile disappear as the panic set in. Apparently he thought it was his girlfriend who was coming home from work. As it turns out, his girlfriend had ordered him food as a surprise.
When I entered the room, I was greeted by the sight of a man posing as Superman—except he was totally naked.
I couldn't help but laugh when he occupied himself by looking for a pillow to cover up with. I asked politely where I should put the food, and he pointed to the living room table. I set it down, said 'have a nice day!' and slipped away before he could even open his mouth.
The worst is when you have to deliver open-faced sandwiches. They're usually wrapped in fragile packaging, and it's difficult to keep the food from looking nice [while in transport]. But the huge orders can also be difficult—one time I delivered 50 pizzas to an apartment on the [third floor], and it took a little longer than a normal delivery.
When you spend an entire day delivering food, you can't avoid becoming hungry yourself. Whenever that happens, I call the next restaurant on my route and ask if they can fix something up for me, too. If you're lucky, they'll give you a little discount. Sometimes it's even on the house.
One time, I was invited to a party by some drunk girls, and then another time some guys invited me in while they were watching football and smoking joints. They asked me to join them and watch the game instead of working. But I've never actually accepted. It would mean extra work for my colleagues, if I just took time off.
The strangest delivery order I've ever received was a six-pack of beer and a mayonnaise salad. It was from an elderly gentleman who was probably a bit too lazy to go to the deli himself, and if you need to order food too if you're trying to order alcohol. Smart, but relatively expensive.
You get to learn your way around the city really well when you deliver food, but one time I had to deliver food to a basement address, and couldn't find the house number at all. I tried to call the customer, but nobody answered. I kept driving and hoped the customer would contact me so that I could deliver the food. A little while after, I received a text asking who I was/who'd just called. I told them I was from Just Eat, and then they replied that I could come back with 'hugz, from the customer'. When I got there, it turned out that there was a trans swinger club in the basement, and my arrival was welcomed by a group of scantily clad people. They were quite happy to see me, but they didn't invite me inside.