The End of The Pizza Delivery Boy?
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that this columnist would never eat Domino’s anyway, as he is in a long running dispute with them over the acceptance of American currency as payment.
Ever since we began our national virus hysteria, one of the buzzwords in American advertising has been “contactless” this or that. Contactless delivery; contactless payment; contactless pick-up. You name it, and the religion of American Consumerism has found a way to make it contactless. One, of course, struggles to think of a time years past when the cashier or delivery man would have actually had any meaningful contact with you to begin with--perhaps a slight graze of the hand--but there it was for all of us to use or not, one supposes.
Another human element has been removed from the economic process--however miniscule it may be--much to the enjoyment of our corporation’s leaders. Humans are messy and expensive, the only use we really provide to corporations is our money. Better to eliminate us from all aspects of the economic process, save consumption, lest we accidentally do something like take up infinitesimally small portions of their revenue flow.
Which is why this should surprise nobody.
Domino’s has begun experimenting with driverless delivery via the use of robotic cars. Apparently, this started last April, but as one has to be a sociopath to follow major corporate Twitter accounts, this columnist did not learn about it until commercials began playing recently.
First, some practical questions arise.
For instance, how does one guarantee that my pizza has not been sullied, or outright stolen? One could have cameras, one supposes, but then one has to have one of those icky humans monitoring the cameras, hence defeating the real purpose of this: saving money on humans.
A car could, perhaps, go one delivery at a time, but that hardly even sounds efficient, and would end up as an economic waste. It simply takes more energy to always go back to a home base instead of loading up several deliveries at once. Even if one assumes every positive about electric cars is true, and they’re not, it’s still a net end greater energy consumption. We have, of course, been told this is bad, though the insistence upon having in person meetings for the G7 casts doubt upon the sincerity of these disciples.
What if there is a mechanical failure? A human driver can use a phone to alert the store to the malfunction and make alternative arrangements. A phone must be manned by a person on some level, but so too would any monitoring system for the drone car, or whatever they’re calling it.
Once again, it becomes apparent that the real purpose is to eliminate the human element, those young, impressionable delivery boys, seeking to make some money for the summer and, perhaps, fulfill that . . . elusive dream that every delivery boy has fantasized about on at least one or two trips during his career.
As one kicks back to think about these issues, other, more selfish reasons, begin to emerge.
Anyone who grew up around Chicago or a city of a similar climate knows how unfortunate it is to go outside in January. Women dedicate immense time, in fact, to finding winter coats and parkas that are cute and/or sexy so they don’t have to take them off at all. This was always appreciated by the teenage version of this columnist--swimsuit season was realistically six months away--but it highlighted a more prescient point for this particular column.
Calling for delivery, in-lieu picking up or making food yourself, is indubitably the laziest way to obtain food, and one of the biggest perks is that the food is quite literally brought to your door. People already do not enjoy paying delivery fees; to then take away the primary benefits of the delivery seems...questionable. Why should I have paid extra money for delivery if I must wander out into the freezing January cold (or if one lives in the desert southwest, the blistering July heat)? Will one get a code to open the delivery car? What if the code does not work? Does the car then go on its merry way, carting the pizza into the horizon, so close and yet so far? And what remedy comes forth? A human store manager delivering the pizza would be a fabulous end to the story, but why should we have become ad hoc Domino’s employees in the first place?
You see, corporations hate you.
Small, one-off Mom & Pop stores have connections to communities. They must actually care, even if it is on some half-hearted and unwilling level. They must reflect the values of the communities they serve, and they must benefit the communities they serve. Corporations do not have such cavalier concerns. They serve their boards and shareholders. That is it.
You, as a human, are actually a net negative for corporations. They must pay you--which is very wrong of you to demand as far as they’re concerned. They must advertise to you. Often, they must provide you with sick days and health care--again, how bougie of you to ask for such frivolities. They must compete for your business.
And so Domino’s tries to extend this thought from self-checkouts to self-delivery. Screw the heroic delivery boy it will cast into unemployment, screw the inconvenience it may cause you, screw the net negative effect it will have on community and society as a whole and screw you, just because.
One can only assume that, as corporate tyrants attempt to hoard more resources for themselves, that other types of self-service will be expected of us--particularly men--but those are concerns for another column.
Long live the delivery boy.