Mother Nature has been beating the crap out of New York in the past two weeks, packing on snowstorm after snowstorm and somehow making sunny Los Angeles look almost bearable for once. Almost.
But as miserable as The Observer might claim to be, even we can acknowledge the small pleasures that come with a snow day spent at home: the pajamas stay on, the Netflix loads up and, best of all, the delivery guy brings General Tso’s chicken directly to our doors.
What we often fail to acknowledge is that, below the misshaped helmet and above the motorized bike that brings us our food, there is a fellow human being heroically braving the elements in a thankless quest to serve us. Without the delivery worker, we would be forced to choose between facing the treacherous storm ourselves or simply starving to death.
“Sometimes the weather is crazy and it’s very difficult for delivery guys to get out there,” Samar Sajjad, manager of the East Village sandwich shop Bite, said. “I hope people out there understand that these people are working very hard.”
Predictably, deliveries shoot up during storms like the one New York is facing today, said Mr. Sajjad. So Bite, which has only five employees working at any given time, needs to be flexible.
“Today, the owner was doing deliveries and I was doing deliveries, and so was one of the kitchen guys,” Mr. Sajjad said. “Everyone does everything at this store so it’s not that bad. But we have a small kitchen so it does make us go crazy.”
For delivery workers, there is one potential upside to the snowstorm: more deliveries mean more (hopefully bigger) tips. But the increase in call-in orders is often cancelled out by the inability of workers to travel far from their store.
“On a day like this, we do not use our bikes,” said Nina Zarfati, office manager of Taim, a West Village falafel joint. “We had to limit our delivery zone to four blocks in each direction. On days like this, we only take deliveries that we can walk to. It definitely affects the business. But what can you do?”
Some businesses, like Brooklyn’s Juice Hugger Cafe, simply decided not to open at all.
“Most of our deliveries are by bike and it’s just too dangerous to bike within our one and a half mile radius,” Carl Foster, one of the cafe’s owners, said. “We decided not to open and to do prep and behind the scenes stuff for the rest of the week.”
In short, when the weather turns bad, delivery workers catch a tough break. So what can we, the cozy home dwellers, do to make their lives easier, besides offering up a prayer? The online food-ordering service Seamless, which is based in New York, sent an email to customers this morning with a few tips, encouraging us to “please tip well, as these guys and gals are freezing their tails off to bring you the foods you love!” and reminding us that “Patience is a virtue.”
Patience certainly is a virtue. We’re sure delivery workers and customers alike are very patiently waiting for spring.
Seriously though, spring, please come soon.