Saturday, January 4, 2014

"An era of indulgent slothfulness..."

Right now the midwest is having historic bitter cold. New England is seeing massive amounts of snow from blizzards. Chicago just had an enormous snow dump as well. In short, in many parts of the country it's good weather to hunker down, if possible. Drink hot tea/chocolate/coffee, simmer a big pot of soup on the stove, listen to music, play board games or cards with the kids, or read a good book.

Now maybe I've lived in the country for too long, but when reader Rob forwarded me an article on the etiquette of ordering takeout food during a blizzard, at first I thought it had to be a joke. Who in their right mind expects food delivery during a blizzard?

Is this something peculiar about urban living? Do people think food delivery is done by machines who don't feel cold or experience wind-chill? Whaaaaat?

But no, this was a serious (more or less) article (with an occasional expletive) with advice for people who don't want to put on pants and walk across the street to get orange juice and a bagel.

"If you live in the blizzard-ridden United States," it begins, "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 "guilt-free" solution, apparently, is to call ahead to see if your favorite restaurant is even delivering (this is because apparently there are now intermediary websites that take your order and relay it to your local restaurant). You're also supposed to NOT complain when your food is two hours later than normal, and please tip very generously.

"[I]t's important to reconsider, just a bit, the way you deal with the Internet Instant Food God," the article gravely informs us. "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."

Um, then why the heck are you asking these hard-working delivery people to venture out into the blizzard you yourself don't want to risk? Am I missing something here?

Or, as Rob bluntly puts it, "Buy a flippin’ cookbook. Start here if nothing else. If you can use the internet to order food, you can use it to learn to do your own!"

These are not hardship cases we're discussing. These are not people who are destitute and hungry. Besides Rob's obvious point that if you have the internet to order food, then you clearly have power, I'll add: If you have the money to buy takeout food, you have the money to buy the ingredients for a hearty chili. In other words, there's not much excuse to drag some poor fellow through a blizzard to your doorstep just because you're too lazy to cook your own meal.

The article author admits, "The advent of online food delivery has ushered in an era of indulgent slothfulness..." No argument there, bub.

Not incidentally, Rob's subject line for this article was, "Why cities are set to starve out."


  1. I'm just shaking my head and giving thanks (again) for my house hidden in the woods, far from the city and isolated from the stunning mindlessness too commonly found dwelling there.

    My header might read:

    Why cities are set to starve out....and how some people truly appear to deserve it.

    A. McSp


  2. URL:

    Much ado about nothing. If the weather is preventing delivery they will tell you that when you call. If the weather (no matter how bad you think it is) is not preventing delivery then someone's job depends on deliveries and asking for a delivery is not a sin. This in short is not a problem and certainly not a problem worthy of a column. Let the people who provide the service decide and don't assume "we" now better somehow.

    1. Excellent point.. Why didn't I think of it that way?

    2. Thank you for this level headed reply. People get so caught up in criticizing the behavior of others and wasting time on their high horses. We can all help ourselves and each other by having more compassion and passing less judgment.

    3. Yes, I appreciate the level-headed reply, too. I think the restaurants who provide delivery service are perfectly able to figure out if it is too dangerous to have their delivery drivers out in brutal conditions. And those of us who live in urban areas (I live in Milwaukee) can totally handle being told if a restaurant will not be making deliveries. We won't fall apart.

      And this may come to as a shocker, but plenty of us urban types are perfectly capable of cooking. I pretty much make all my meals myself. Last week-end I spent several hours making two types of soup, a beef stew and some taco meat for the week's upcoming dinners. Right now some of that beef stew is defrosting and I'm going to have it for dinner tonight. Yum, delish!

      But it's also great to live in a neighborhood that provides me with some amazing restaurants featuring tremendous food-Indian, Thai, French, Italian, Ethiopian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Mexican-ooh, my mouth is watering.

      Jennifer K

  3. Pathetic, isn't it? We just finished lunch----soup I made with veggies I grew myself, along with some sausage in it for flavor....

  4. pathetic are people that they would expect delivery in a blizzard

  5. *sigh* Sometimes I miss the city.

  6. Rob is right. Just wait until these lazy American'ts get on their iPhones to order electric restoral and find out it will take months.
    Montana Guy

  7. I live in the area where it is expected to be 70 below wind chill tomorrow.. I have to work as does my husband. One of his managers has decided to take the day off tomorrow as it is " just too cold" However, she expects us to bring our daughter out for a play date( which i think is wierd) and dinner tonight at their house. Uhhhh if its too cold for you to go to work why am I taking my loved ones out?? IM NOT!

  8. One can assume their prepping is zero. They might last a week during the coming bad times. That's if they have a manual can opener.

  9. Patrice, the delivery people do that for a living, and choose to do it knowing that it will entail working in bad conditions. Heck, my brother is a valet and while many coworkers are 'sick' given the bad weather, he relishes it because he makes more money because more people want their cars parked!

    I agree people should have enough stocked away for a few days of bad weather (at least) and the rudimentary skills needed to prepare their food. Still, ordering food in bad weather is not something to scoff at either: especially if people recognize and are grateful for the folks who make money delivering it.

    1. My husband, who was in food service in NYC for years, agrees with your brother - it's a great time to make money.

      As a former bartender, I know it was a fun and lucrative time to hang out with locals.

  10. Hi Patrice,
    On another blog, I just saw these 2 videos juxtaposed, and it made me think of the clueless urban dwellers in your article.

    The first video to view

    is Paul Harvey's famous piece, "So God Made a Farmer."

    After viewing that, go to

    and view, "So God Made a Liberal."

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry.


  11. If people don't order during inclement weather the delivery driver doesn't get paid their normal wages. They may be depending on that money. A few generous tips from people grateful to not be driving in a blizzard can be a big help.

  12. 2nd Anon, Read the original article before going off. You sound foolish when you write based upon a fraction of the discussion.
    The risk is real. The foolishness is real. Certainly, folks have a right to earn a living, even in terrible conditions. The original article was a SELF critique. It was suggesting that many restaurants (particularly the one using bicycle delivery) would probably NOT be delivering at all and not to get your knickers in a twist if that was the case or if there were significant delays. MY take: Folks who depend entirely on a fragile an infrastructure will be the first sifted out of the gene pool.

  13. I read the article. I still believe that people who have a job and need a job are not the problem. I worked as a mechanic and I can tell you winter really sucks for working on cars but I made good money working on cars in the snow. While the story's intent might have been to poke fun at hapless city dwellers who clearly aren't as smart as you self sufficient country folks it came across snarky. You are falling into that trap that all the liberals are in. I.e. if a liberal doesn't like something they want to make it illegal for everyone, but if a conservative doesn't like something then they simply choose to not do it. So don't order pizza. I don't care. And write abut hw stupid pizza delivery is, I don't care. But don't get all self defensive when someone disagrees.

    1. I second that!!

    2. I, a rural dweller on 40 acres where we grow a garden & raise livestock, third that & will remain Anon after reading THAT Rob's comment instead of registering like I was going to do. There are two sides to every story. Apparently only one of them is welcome here. Not my loss.