God to be 19 again and have everything all figured out.
So I often cross paths with/wait for a minute or 2 with other people who either contract drive with the same company I do, or other companies like GrubHub, UberEats, etc.
Enough to chat, ask about each others day, etc.
The other drivers seem to be fairly evenly distributed between people like me, retired but looking for extra cash, college students, moms/dads with some free time in the middle of the day, and some misc.
Today I had one pickup and one delivery, a big order, 25 meals. When I parked I saw this young guy stop while I got my bags from the hatchback, and I suspected he was going to park behind me, and would also be a deliver driver. This is in an alleyway where the public generally doesn't go. I remember thinking "Jeez, he has plenty of space behind me, 3 cars to get in there, he's not going to hit me...whatever" When I turned around I did notice he was driving a Really beat up car. Like held together with twine. No shame in that, it's just part of my thoughts for later.
Anyway, this particular restaurant, which is pretty pricey, and who is usually very efficient, was really backed up. Mostly I think because I found out the other driver was also picking up 25 meals, for the same place. Plus there were all the other delivery drivers who were coming in to pick up meals in increments of 1, 2 or 3.
Lunch pickups are usually at 11:20 or 11:30, so it's before the lunch rush.
They said they were sorry, but the meals wouldn't all be out for 15 minutes. Hey, no problem. I even offered to help by prepping the fancy bags they use for take out, with the utencils/napkins, etc. Honestly, they really do up their take out nice and attractive. Both men and women often mention how good it looks when it arrives. They declined the offer, but expressed appreciation.
So, gonna sit with this dude for awhile. We started making small talk.
He said no, he wasn't a college student, had been doing this about a month, and was ready to leave because "this is stupid"
Me: Really? Why do you say it's stupid?
I only asked because the tone of his voice was so clearly saying "It's stupid, and anyone who does this is stupid"
Him: I'm only doing this to see how it works. I worked for (another company that does same for individuals) for a few weeks, and learned everything about them, and now I know everything I need to know about it. I own a company that's going to do this, so I needed to know how it works.
Me: Sure. It's smart to shop the competition. This company here seems to be really successful....sooo.....why do you think it's stupid?
Him: Well for one, you know how you usually pick up from like 2 restaurants? (me thinking: well yeah, 2, sometimes 3 sometimes 1)
Yesterday I picked up from the 2 places, and I had to deliver to THREE different businesses! (like this was abusive)
Me: So? Sometimes I've delivered to 5 or 6 different business. That's easy enough, they'll all be in the same area. (I'm not at that moment even thinking about the times I've finished my route, and then been texted to see if I want to pick up a 2nd route that day for a really decent bonus. I'm sure all kinds of problems go on behind the scenes)
Him: Yeah well the other day I was delivering in "my" area, and the 2nd delivery was all the way up on N. Lamar (like 5 miles - boo hoo) and it was for only ONE lunch.
Me: What difference does that make? You still got paid.
Him: But that's stupid. Why do they deliver to someplace for only ONE lunch? Plus, why didn't someone else go?
(Oh Christ, here we go)
Me: Well it's not like you can refuse to service someone because the order is small. Maybe the next day they'll order 10 meals. Maybe all the other drivers up that way already had a bunch of stops, and you only had one, so were available. I don't know. I know they use some kind of algorithm to assign drivers because no way could all this be done manually in the short turn around between the customers orders being due, and us being assigned (it's literally like minutes between the 2, dealing with hundreds of meals in that short time)
Him: Anyway, like now. Look at how those "girls" (grrrr) over there are both working to put all the meals in the bags, and everything.
Me: So what would they be doing otherwise? Staring into space?
Him: They could be taking care of customers.
Me: But the people who are getting this food are customers, and anyway, there's only 3 tables with people at them right now. It's filling up, and gonna be a little hairy in a few minutes, but they know what they're doing. Dealing with us they don't have to worry about customer complaints, or specific weird requests, or dealing with them in any way.
Him: Yeah, look at all the material they have to use making the lunches. All that stuff costs a lot of money. I bet they only profit 10% off all this.
Me: The material is an expense that written off. (me figuring quickly).....There has to be at least $750 worth of food there. If the end profit for the owner is 10%, the owner just made $75 for 15 minutes. Plus, that's food for 50 people. (looking around) There's about 12 tables in here, and now that it's filling up, I see most of them have 2 people at them. So 25 customers. It would take 2 turnovers for 50 meals, that would take well over an hour.
These restaurants love us.
He then objected to the restaurants "having" do this even if it's only for one meal, and they would be happier if it was for more.
Me: Well sure. But if you're going to do something like this. The restaurant runs all the numbers and decides if it's worth it for them, so they must be happy enough. I run a small business selling stuff out of my house, and sometimes I only profit $3 on an item. I don't care because those small amounts covers my expenses, so a bigger sale is that much more in my pocket, and it's the same trip to the post office. You can't reject a small profit, it goes into the whole.
Plus, there's other services like this, and they need to remain competitive. If they refused to use services, they'd lose customers, because people, if they were physically going out to eat, would more remember the place who has food delivered to them all the time.
Him: Well, it's stupid.
So, this kid with a POS car, no higher education, is going to be the next Michael Dell, I can tell.