When it comes to delivery apps—your Postmates, your Caviars, your grim midweek work salads from Peach—the expression “fool me once” does not apply. Why? Because that expression ends with “shame on me.” And once we’ve decided to pay the comitant fees that come with these services, we have already moved through the shame space and out the other side. We are free, baby. We are riding in the wind. And we can’t wait to dig into some flimsy compostable containers—although, it should be said, generally we will wait, and far longer than was estimated at the beginning of this ordering odyssey.
Why do we put up with these expensive, unpredictable services? Why did I order from the same Chinese place ONE MORE TIME after opening the thrice-knotted plastic bag to discover my ma po tofu had escaped its eco-friendly box and seeped into the beef and broccoli beneath? Fact is, at this early stage in the game, these services trade on promises of deliciousness that they can’t yet deliver. We know this game. We remember when we used to marvel at Google Maps even as it directed us to an exit 100 yards after we’d sped by it. These services will evolve, iterate, weed out the weak, find the right price point, open up new markets, and, eventually, inspire someone to manufacture a compostable box that you can close, again, once you’ve opened it the first time. All this will happen—eventually.
Meantime, skip the saucier cuisines and order sushi from them. You are already spending more money than makes sense here, might as well treat yourself to something that won’t arrive ruined. Sushi is dry and carefully constructed enough to hold its form in transport. It won’t congeal or spew forth from its container. It’s relatively good for you. And you are more than welcome to eat it with your hands.