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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Food Finally Becomes Fast

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An Atlantic article considers the sudden proliferation of meal delivery services like Uber Eats, mostly from a leftish perspective, but nonetheless finds a grain of truth:

uber_bag.jpg
Image by Zane Lee, via Unsplash, license.
Often too busy and depleted to cook, or disinclined to do the whole sit-down thing, the typical restaurant patron today isn't looking for an old-fashioned restaurant -- that is, a place to sit still. Working, streaming, commuting, caregiving, and cleaning, today's diners are vehicles of perpetual motion who seek efficient fuel. Meal-delivery companies are a symbol of what might be the most powerful force in business today: convenience maximalism. The through line that connects the surge of e-commerce and online delivery (and practically every thriving digital business) is the triumph of consumer ease and logistical immediacy, in every arena of life. But despite the joys of having what we want, when we want, and how we want it, informed consumers are learning too much about the dark underbelly of the convenience economy to fully ignore its costs. Like the garbage mounds of cardboard and plastic, guilt is, for now, a necessary by-product of instant gratification. [bold added]
Well, guilt is a by-product -- for leftists. I, for one, am not troubled by cardboard and plastic, which are not valuable enough to recycle after they have served their purpose. That's what landfills are for.

Moving on, my biggest concern regarding this new sector is: Will it last? Our family once had a nice dinner delivered from Outback steakhouse when we had out-of-town guests and didn't want to drag our tired, cranky kids to a restaurant. There was no extra charge, although we tipped the deliveryman. I would imagine the restaurant paid the delivery company, making an extra sale that wouldn't have otherwise happened. And I suspect that the quality of the dining at the restaurant was improved that night over what it might have been, had we gone.

But the benefits of online delivery extend further. Ages ago, for example, I concluded that take-out was usually a losing proposition time-wise, due to time spent driving, particularly if the option required a round trip. But if I don't have to drive? Delivered food starts becoming competitive time-wise -- so long as I am able to use the time I would have otherwise spent in the kitchen or fetching dinner. That can include relaxing, although that is not always a factor for me because I enjoy cooking.

In any event, more easily enjoying a good meal or saving time from meal preparation are just two ways this new kind of business can improve our lives. I hope they find a way to achieve long-term profitability.

-- CAV

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