Millions of years from now, if a future race were to discover the ruins of our current civilization buried under tonnes of rubble, it will most likely not be the iPods, laptops, fancy cars or household gadgets that will impress. It will be the green plastic tray lying quietly in the corner of my kitchen: the one that carries the load of two gazillion home delivery food menus. And seeing this tray, if a future archaeologist were to guess its contents, he’d surely exclaim “They lived like such kings!”
We, the suburban ones, take it completely for granted—but we do live like kings. Home delivery is the answer to our busy lifestyles, the smiling face of modern day society, the best use the telephone was ever put to.
I discovered this wonder six years ago, one sunny day, when I dropped in at the local grocery store and, noticing a big black phone, asked with much hope in my heart if they delivered stuff home. The owner, being a proactive man, needed just a few seconds of deliberation before saying yes.
The grocer soon started delivering things to my house. Soaps, toothpaste, grains, bread, butter, juice, water, tea, milk— everything.
And then everyone else started home delivery. All kinds of restaurants started to deliver food (and the green tray with the menus was born). Movies started to find their way from DVD libraries to lowly Apna Bazaar. Music CDs from faraway shops started hitching rides in courier bags. Alcohol, much needed for parties, would simply flow across while medicines, much needed to recover, would cycle over from the nearby medical store.
But the day home delivery truly arrived for me was when I saw an ad offering to deliver movie tickets. This, for one who has stood in many an “Advance Booking” queue in his life. I bought a new phone that day.
So, now I’m equipped to do a little knowledge chronicling. Here are 10 useful tips on making the best of home delivery:
Always pick nearby places. Don’t get fooled by fancy merchandise, everyone stocks the same thing. And if they don’t stock it now, once they see what a hungry consumer you are, they will.
Tip the delivery boys fair and square. That way, when the proprietor says: Go to (your name here)’s house and deliver this pack of smelly coconut oil, the delivery boy will not decide to take your precious coconut oil and pop over to say hi to his girlfriend en route, leaving you stranded in a towel.
Spot the phone. If you see a phone anywhere in the shop, they deliver.
Don’t be stingy. Get good things, pay for them and enjoy them. If need be, try and make more money.
Occasionally pop into the real world.Show them your mug, and dress well when you do. That way, the proprietor can put a pleasant face to your voice every time you call; and feel good about sending you “stuff”.
Understand the concept of “stuff”.Lines have melted; everything goes. Grocery stores stock perfumes. Video parlours sell hope. Everybody stocks everything. It’s all just stuff.
Learn the little tricks. Most home delivery is done in batches of three-10 parcels. There is no guarantee yours will be the first to arrive. So, plan accordingly.
Once in a while, place a large order. It reassures everyone concerned about your value and the health of the economy.
Stay loyal to your provider. One guy for movies. One guy for groceries. One guy for medicines. One dhobi. If you must change, pick the one you are likely to stay with forever. Home delivery is not a matter to be taken lightly.
And, of course, get a tray.
Prem Nath is a creative consultant in advertising. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org