Sunday, April 19, 2020

"Dug In"

Let me tell you how I know I'm losing my fucking mind after about one month of the Safer At Home order here in Long Beach, CA. 

I did a bad thing. I didn't really *intend* to do a bad thing. The bad thing *kind of maybe* resulted in a good thing for someone. The bad thing started out as a kind gesture from someone else.

Yet, I definitely did a bad thing. 

Someone emailed me a gift card for a food delivery service, and our financial situation has been fucked for a couple of weeks, so I decided to use the gift card and order some delivery food on Friday evening.

My hubby had been feeling headache-y for a few days and was napping, so I asked for the food to come later in the evening, around 7:00. My instructions for the Delivery Specialist were basically what the CDC would recommend: Leave the food on the steps and nobody gets sick. Don't knock, don't call. Just leave it and walk away.

I placed the order around 5:45 and was expecting it to arrive around 7:00, not right away, but later, at the specific time that I selected from the drop down option menu that they offered me. Are you with me here?

After submitting the order, I got a text saying the restaurant received the order and it was going to be delivered around 7:00. I could see the order status flashing that it had been received by the restaurant and was going to be ready for delivery around 7:00. 

I went into the courtyard to do some needless pruning of leaves because what the fuck else is there to do when you have worked on a computer from home all week and live in a studio apartment with a giant human man and three animals - all four are living beings whom I love dearly, but also do very little these days except sleep and loudly demand to be fed, yet cooking wouldn't be required that evening, and all four were currently sleeping.

Suddenly, while pruning for no reason, and in the midst of listening to a VERY INTENSE podcast episode about the maniacally brutal, wholly pointless torture and murder of two young Tennesseans, my Bluetooth headphones started ringing. I jumped three feet in the air and answered the call. It was 6:09.

It was the driver calling to say my food had been delivered, and I was like, "You weren't supposed to deliver the food until 7:00 but okay, just leave it on the steps, thank you," and I hung up.

My order was fifty-one minutes early, my hands were covered in yard waste, my husband was napping, my face mask was indoors, the status bar on the delivery app still said the order wasn't even started at the restaurant level, the sudden ringing phone startled the hell out of me, and therefore...I was pissed. 

Angry enough that I spent the several minutes it took to prep for venturing into the Front of the Apartment to retrieve the food thinking of all of the Reasons Why I Should Be Pissed, thereby making myself even more pissed.

Why do people schedule delivery times? Generally for a motherfucking reason. I don't willy-nilly ask someone to bring me a bacon cheeseburger with fries two hours AFTER I'm dying to shove it in my mouth.

Why did they offer the option of choosing a delivery time if they were going to BLINDLY IGNORE THAT REQUEST?

They asked for delivery instructions, in which I told them not to call or knock! Maybe they knocked on the door and woke up my husband. I didn't know, I was in the courtyard, but it was possible, and I DID know they called me when I asked them not to!

My gift card wouldn't load properly onto the food delivery app earlier in the day! 

The list of grievances was long. 

Granted, everyone in the country who could afford to do so was probably also using the food delivery service that Friday night, so they absolutely must have been slammed, but that was NOT MY PROBLEM because my food was supposed to come around 7:00 delivered by a pandemic-level hero to my goddamn door step because I worked hard all week. Me. 

As someone who has worked in many many jobs which would be considered Customer Service, I understand. I Get It. I should not have been upset that they delivered my food 51 minutes early. But I was. 

I'm only vaguely clear on why I was upset, but I am completely clear that it had something to do with control. That also sounds strange to say, seeing as how I haven't been this regimented, productive, or - frankly - calm (out of necessity), in a very long time. I think it's that last bit about "out of necessity" that's flaring up control issues, probably not just for me.

Eventually, I ventured out front to collect the food. It was delivered in a brown paper bag with a white 8.5" x 11" paper receipt stapled to the front. It was piping hot. I can't smell anything, but I'm positive it must have been fragrant. I set the unopened bag on the counter (I was far too invested in my fury to eat at that moment, and everyone else was still sleeping), and returned to fuming about the situation.

Here is where I began to slide into doing the bad thing.

I decided to contact the food delivery service's online help team, which you can only do via the online chat, and once connected with a representative, I explained the situation, made it very clear that I was displeased, and informed her that they should figure out why their "vendors" agree to allow customers to schedule deliveries if they don't actually intend to do that. 

Then I straight up I lied to her. I said the reason I asked for a 7:00 delivery time was because I wasn't home. I needed to know, is my food safe? Is it there sitting on my porch all by itself, or is it at the restaurant? After all, according to the app it hadn't even started being prepared, which makes sense because it was only 6:09 (That part was true.)

I literally let the customer service representative call the restaurant to ask them where my food was while she was chatting with me on the app, while I was looking at the bag of food I'd just placed on my kitchen counter. 

Then the restaurant lied to her and said my order wasn't ready, but would be on the way in another 35 to 40 minutes - did I still want the delivery, or did I want to cancel it? 

No joke, I got reverse-gas lit there. Which was actually fair, in hindsight.

Then the internet connection cut out and I lost my chat session with the customer service representative just as the restaurant called me directly. I would be lying if I didn't tell you I started to panic, but in for a penny... I lied to them. Same lie, I wasn't even home yet. That's why I wanted the later delivery. In my hood? Who even knows if it'll still be on the steps when I get there? I mean, why the fuck do you think I ordered it with a two hour delay?

I had just doubled down on my bullshit - I absolutely was going to make a point, I just wasn't sure what point I was trying to make.

Now, the restaurant did NOT lie to me - they said sure, your food was delivered at 6:09, so I said I was going to ask the food delivery service for a refund because I wanted my delivery at 7:00 or after. 

You know, after I got "home."

That's when the restaurant person handed the phone to a different person who very clearly was the Restaurant Person In Charge, and that person informed me that they were happy to re-deliver my order around 7:00 but they absolutely would be retrieving my original delivery order and donating it to someone else. She didn't apologize for the error, but she strongly insinuated that I am an asshole.

"Of course!" I insisted to her, like I was some kind of philanthropic food delivery patron, and we hung up the phone. I re-donned my mask and returned the unopened bag of still hot food, careful to try and place it in exactly the same spot on my steps, receipt facing the same direction, so as to complete the ruse that I was not at home for any of the needless bullshit I'd created, and I went back to yard work and murder podcasts and waited for the replacement order.

I'm not sure where, or to whom, the food donation was made - but that response from the restaurant was the last thing I expected and probably the only way to make me feel a tiny bit less culpable for being an asshole. I literally called the restaurant back later and apologized, but either I spoke to someone who didn't know what happened, or they pretended like they didn't know what happened. I also gave a five star review online.

The fact remains that I've done a bad thing - my husband is currently furloughed from a different local restaurant, I literally know they cannot afford this type of nonsense, but I did it anyway (although I kind of thought the food delivery service would be the ones to take the hit, but I didn't even pay for the meal in the first place), and that's how I know I'm losing my fucking mind.


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