‘Customers are not considerate’

TO GO WITH LIFESTYLE-INDIA-ANIMALS-FOOD,FEATURE BY PHIL HAZLEWOOD A Home-Care Dog Food delivery boy rides his scooter as he delivers meals to clients in Mumbai on January 24, 2009. Wasiff Khan has an admission: he used to be scared of dogs. That's not unusual in Mumbai, where strays can have a bite worse than their bark. But Khan runs a deluxe dogfood delivery service, with the pets of Bollywood A-listers and top executives among his select clientele. Just like Mumbai's army of "dabbawallahs" who deliver tiffin boxes of home-cooked food to hungry humans, uniformed Homecare Dogfood drivers criss-cross the city every morning with speciality meals for man's best friend. AFP PHOTO/ Pal PILLAI (Photo by PAL PILLAI / AFP)

The weather is so harsh these days that it adds to our troubles. You can imagine how difficult it can be to drive a bike the entire day in the intense summer heat. The loo (wind) also makes me feel nauseous and dizzy at times when I am out for really long or when I have to deliver an order to a location that is not very near. Also, it is not just about riding the bike in the heat, it is also about the fact that we have to find the location. Sometimes, the GPS acts funny and it goes haywire, which makes reaching the customer’s location even more difficult. And when we have to go about searching for a location in this heat, it is even worse.

When we try calling the customer for directions, some get irritated while explaining, if we don’t understand. We are under pressure that the order has to be delivered on time or else the customer can complain against us. Late night deliveries are also an issue. For instance, I might get an order to deliver at 1 am or 2 am, just when I am about to sign out from duty. It can become a nuisance but we have to accept it. Sometimes when our bikes malfunction or we get stuck in traffic, it becomes difficult for us to deliver the order. Once my bike’s tyre got punctured and the delivery got late because of which I had to hear some extremely rude comments from the customer.

I remember, once a customer started arguing with me over an order delay from the restaurant’s side (for which I was not even responsible). It was my first order that day and his yelling and swearing completely ruined my mood. Many of my colleagues have also faced this — the brash attitude of a few customers. Some are extremely understanding —last week, a customer offered me cold water. But there are some who are not at all considerate — they think we are just robots and they only want their order delivered on time.

People who are sitting in air-conditioned rooms can at least climb down the stairs, if they have ordered something. But no, they want us to come to the third floor or the fourth floor. We already have such a hard time in the sun, at least they can spare a thought for us and come downstairs sometimes. Hardly anyone offers to do that. The restaurant also makes us wait for a long time under the sun. And we have to stay outdoors for almost the entire day in such pollution.

Nowadays, we have to request the customers to give us good ratings as we get bonus and incentives with that. We remind them when we reach their doorstep, but many tend to forget. Through this, I want to again plead to the customers to give us good ratings – it will take a minute from their lives, but will benefit us a lot in the long run.

Trivendra Prakash is a delivery executive with food delivery app Zomato. 

As told to Shatakshi Dwivedi

‘Backaches and long work hours are usual’  

I have been working as a delivery boy with Flipkart for four years now. There are certain difficulties, but we have to manage. I feel that the biggest issue for me is when customers do not receive our calls — sometimes they are stuck in a meeting or are not at home — and their phone is just switched off. Even if we have to ask for directions, they are not available to help with that in such a situation. We end up getting lost because of the GPS at times as it shows strange directions, especially through the lanes.

Sometimes we find the house locked when we reach the doorstep. If we are unable to reach them, we either have to keep waiting or we have to go back. Even when they tell us that nobody is present to receive the order, our entire effort of coming till there goes in vain and we have to go back and come again some other time when they are available. Our work also becomes very hard due to bad weather conditions —when it’s raining or when there is a thunderstorm. Also, nowadays, the heat is unbearable. I also face severe backaches frequently because of sitting on the bike for so long.

Prem Shah is a delivery boy for e-commerce platform Flipkart

As told to Shataskhi Dwivedi  n



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