Delivery boys and girls: Shouldering the festive burden5 min read . Updated: 25 Oct 2019, 06:44 PM IST
- The squad that makes sure the process of online shopping is smooth for both the consumer and the supplier
NEW DELHI : They are the young men and women tasked with delivering festivities to our doorsteps, constantly on the move and almost unseen in the crowd as they lug loaded backpacks to homes and offices in distant corners of the city.
The squad that makes sure the process of online shopping is smooth for both the consumer and the supplier is also the one that shoulders the festive burden of discounts and the frenzy to buy new things.
Riding two wheelers with huge backpacks, delivery boys are a regular sight at traffic signals, waiting at apartment gates wiping the sweat off their brows, and going up and down stairs as they go about delivering everything from earphones to flat-packed furniture.
Running into women executives dragging bags as big as themselves and manoeuvring their way up one, two, sometimes even four floors has become pretty common too.
It is not always the "khushiyon ki delivery", as a pizza brand famously said.
Akshay*, who delivers packages for the fashion e-commerce company Myntra, said the festive season is a time he looks forward to for that extra income.
But the few extra bucks come with longer working hours, dealing with rude customers, and often no additional help from the online portals he delivers for.
"I get paid ₹14 per delivery, and since there are a lot more orders during the festive season, it helps me take home a little more than usual," Akshay*, who lives in Wazirabad, told PTI.
In these days before Diwali, he hits the road at 7 am to reach the Paharganj warehouse in time to load his backpack with the day's orders. The number of deliveries goes up to 100 every day during the pre-Diwali sale, compared to the rest of the year when he delivers a maximum of 60 orders in a day.
He said he moves around his designated central Delhi area saddling the backpack that weighs anything between 40-50 kgs, and is on the job till 8 pm. In all of this, he said, the bike is his own, so is the fuel. And god forbid, if there's any damage to a product, the cost too is for him to bear.
A Myntra insider said the company's supply chain team consists of store partners and delivery agents and is geared to handle peak season. The company has scaled up their delivery network through its MENSA (Myntra Extended Network for Service Augmentation) programme which consists of 15,000 kirana stores across 50 cities.
"The programme enables store owners to earn an additional source of income while also ensuring efficient and timely deliveries," he said.
Amazon India, another major player in the e-commerce industry, recently announced the expansion of its delivery network for faster deliveries ahead of the festive season.
"In an effort to provide a seamless shopping experience, we have created opportunities for more than 90,000 seasonal associates across our fulfilment network and customer service sites ahead of the festive season," an Amazon India spokesperson said.
Pankaj* is part of the brand's delivery network. He makes deliveries in Parliament Street and its surrounding areas, and gets ₹17 per package. Since his region of work is mainly office area, most buildings have lifts. But there are some buildings in which he has to climb up five floors with his backpack.
"Some customers are so nice they treat us like we are family members, but many also behave terribly. They abuse, and if there's even a slight delay, they shoot a mail to the company.
"Customers insist I come up and deliver the package, and since I can't leave the bag unattended, I have to carry it all the way up," the 32-year-old said.
It's not always about delivering goods.
A spa professional with online home services company UrbanClap, Simran's* job is to home deliver a de-stressing spa.
Professionals like her enter into an arrangement with the platform where it offers them job leads in return for 20 per cent of their earnings.
Currently, the platform has more than 20,000 professionals who offer services like beauty and spa at home, home cleaning, plumbing, carpentry, appliance repair, painting and more.
"Given the type of festival Diwali is, cleaning and beauty services are the most used services on our platform. We see approximately 3x growth in demand for grooming and home cleaning services this season," said Rahul Deorah, vice president, Marketing, UrbanClap.
With her house in Ballabhgarh and working area in South Delhi, Simran* has rented a small room in Sarita Vihar, somewhere in the middle, for ₹3,000 per month to store her spa essentials - a spa bed, oils, speakers, and candles.
While she does not have a fixed number of deliveries to do every day like Akshay* or Pankaj*, she said not accepting an order is essentially her loss.
"We do not have a concept of working hours for our professionals. Those who serve in top service segments for Diwali like the cleaning or beauty segment find this season a good source of income for themselves and hence chose taking maximum numbers of bookings in a day," Deorah said.
So, Simran* carries the bed, weighing 12 kg, and other paraphernalia from one corner of south Delhi to another as many times as needed. A spa treatment costs between ₹500 to ₹1,800, lasting up to 90 minutes.
“I have fixed an auto driver who helps me get to from one place to another, and also helps me carry the bed in case I have to climb up too many floors," she told PTI.
She has to pay the auto driver extra, who waits for at least an hour for her to be done, besides the auto fare and all from her own pocket. A single sided trip costs her at least ₹150, she said.
Moreover, she also needs to purchase the bed from the company for ₹25,000, along with other products required for the service.
Simran* admitted UrbanClap is extremely active in case of registering complaints in case of inappropriate behaviour on part of the customers, but it does not cover monetary losses she or her colleagues might incur.
“Sometimes customers won't put the locations correctly and not even be cooperative over calls with directions, and I end up with exorbitant auto fares," she said.
As customers celebrate with gifts, and companies enjoy large turnovers, a polite smile, a glass of water and a little bit of cooperation is all it takes to make Diwali happy for the many Akshays* and Simrans*.
(*Names changed to protect identities).