Ordering food for delivery is becoming increasingly common.
Uber is preparing to launch UberEats, as a standalone food delivery app, in 10 US cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Austin.
I decided to try UberEats through the Uber app to see how it worked — and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
In New York City, UberEats only delivers from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to any location between 14th street to 59th street in Manhattan.
Uber has a set menu, so there’s not a whole lot to choose from. On Monday, it was a choice between soup dumplings with chicken fried rice from Shanghai Cafe Deluxe for $5.95, or avocado corn salad from Wild for $12.00.
I went with the soup dumplings because it was a cold, winter day and apparently Shanghai Cafe Deluxe is rated by Zagat as NYC’s best place for soup dumplings.
Another restriction with UberEats is that the meals aren’t customisable. So if you have a food allergy to either option, you’re out of luck.
So it’s 12:15 and I’m hungry for lunch. I decided to order through UberEats to mix things up.
I opened up my Uber app, taped on the knife and fork icon, and placed my order.
As I waited for it to process my request, a window popped up on my screen telling me that the item I requested was currently unavailable and to try again in a few minutes.
Off to a great start.
So I waited ten minutes and re-ordered my soup dumplings on UberEats.
I watched the request tab blink while it searched for available cars. Another window popped up. This time it told me to “hang tight for a few minutes.”
Don’t tell me to “hang tight” — I already did!
I could have just canceled my order and gone with something else, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the soup dumplings and fried rice.
Finally, at 12:25 the app told me that a delivery man was right around the corner.
I was confused … didn’t he have to go get the food? And why was he on a bike? I thought it was going to be delivered by an actual Uber car.
I watched the knife and fork icon move toward my building with some scepticism.
I know that UberEats promises to deliver food within 10 minutes, but I was shocked that the map showed that my food would be delivered in three minutes. I was still puzzled about whether the Uber delivery man had the food with him prior to my order placement.
At 12:30 I see that the knife and fork icon was right in front of my building.
Yet, I never got a call from the delivery man telling me he was here. There was no option through the app for me to get in touch with him.
At this point, I was beyond confused.
Assuming that my food had arrived, I made my way down to the lobby of my office.
As the elevator doors opened, a man in a helmet with a bag of food greeted me.
“Natasha?” he asked.
Nope, not me.
Deflated, I looked back down at my phone. It clearly said he was at my building.
I went outside and looked up and down the block, but I didn’t see anyone waiting outside with food on a bike.
So I went back up to my office and sat down at my desk completely perplexed.
I look back at my screen and my jaw dropped. I was just charged for my meal that was supposedly delivered!
How could this be? I clearly didn’t have my soup dumplings, and at this point I was hangry.
The Uber delivery man must dropped it off at the wrong building.
According to UberEats, its food delivery service is for curbside pick up only — meaning that I would have had to be there to receive the food, which obviously didn’t happen.
At 12:34, I saw on the app that he delivered my food to a different building.
Was I supposed to just walk into the other building and demand my Chinese food?
Fogged by visions of fried rice and soup dumplings, I made my way across the street to the place where the Uber delivery man allegedly dropped my food off.
Once I got to the building, the door was locked. I would have had to buzz up to four different companies to let me in so that I could get my food. Was $6.48 of fried rice and soup dumplings worth all this effort?
Probably not. But like I said, I was hangry.
I marched back to my office, furious that I had just gone through all this trouble when I was promised by Uber that I’ll have “a delicious meal on-demand with none of the hassle.”
I wanted to speak to someone at Uber. Conveniently, there’s no number to call them.
So I wrote an angry email instead to let them know of my situation.
About 45 minutes later, I got an reply from Uber customer service apologizing for the inconvenience.
My first time using UberEats was a bust. My lunch break turned into an hour-long debacle of trying to hunt down fried rice and soup dumplings, which I never got to enjoy.
While I appreciate that Uber support was quick to help and reimburse my $6.48, I think I’ll stick with Seamless for any food delivery needs.
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