Would it be an overstatement to call ordering delivery food one of the fundamental experiences of modern life?
It's no exaggeration for the large and growing swath of urbanites who use apps like GrubHub, Seamless and Postmates to get most of their meals. Many among them spend as much money and time on their delivery food as most Americans do on their cars.
But as fun and delicious as ordering delivery can be, it also presents its own trials. Its own heartbreaks. If you find yourself getting vertigo on this emotional roller coaster, though, you should know that you're not alone. Everyone who has ever ordered delivery food has gone through what you're going through. Here are the seven feelings you endure when you order delivery.
So you're sitting on your couch, you open up your delivery app of choice, and then -- the deluge. If you live in a reasonably dense neighborhood, you have more options than you could ever reasonably sift through. And even if you're a delivery pro who's developed a reliable stable of go-to restaurants, you have to figure out what to order. Is it a pad thai night? If so, do you want an appetizer with that? Should it be egg rolls or duck larb? The options are endless. The confusion is terrible. But it will pass.
You finally pick a restaurant and make your food choice. You add it to the cart, you confirm your credit card information and address, and you press order. You feel good. Your food is going to be delicious. You're committed. You're happy about it.
But then, a few minutes later, you begin to second-guess yourself. You worry that you should have gotten jungle curry instead of pad thai. Or that you should have gone with your gut and ordered both the onion rings AND the buffalo wings. Or maybe you spent too much: Wouldn't it have been cheaper, you think, to have cooked that box of pasta that's been staring lonesomely at you from the back of your cupboard for two months? That wouldn't be so hard, would it? Is it too late to cancel your order? You could probably call and pretend you ordered it by accident...
Once you overcome buyer's regret, though, you hear something unpleasant: the sound of your stomach growling. After taking all that time to decide what to order, you realize, you've become ravenously hungry. And your starvation makes you upset. It makes you "hangry." You cast about for targets for your aggression, and because you're home, and possibly alone, you fixate on the one party that's responsible for your lack of food: the restaurant you ordered from. They're taking so much longer than you expected! Or hoped, anyway: the app said it would take 45-60 minutes, but the restaurant is only six blocks away! Shouldn't the food have arrived already? WHERE IS IT?
After you tire yourself out by overturning a few chairs and screaming at the top of your lungs, another, darker tone starts to rise in your psyche: Despair. What if the food never arrives? Maybe GrubHub was wrong, and the restaurant is closed. Or maybe you never actually pressed order. Or maybe your credit card got declined! You open your front door and look outside, despondently, for the deliveryman. He's not there. You start to feel alone in the world. Alone with your hunger. It's horrible.
At this point, something like 25 minutes have likely passed. You've checked your app and confirmed that your order did, in fact, go through. Your food is on its way, and there's nothing to do but wait. So you decide to distract yourself, or at least try. So you play a few rounds of Mario Kart, or call a friend, or start watching an episode of "Gilmore Girls." At first, you can't really get into it, because your hunger is all you can think about, so you scrounge up a couple dusty almonds from your pantry to tide you over. And as the minutes pass, and you become engrossed by your distraction. You start to care less about when your food comes. If you're lucky, you may even to forget that you ever ordered food. You have reached the peaceful zone of oblivion.
Just as the last vestiges of your hanger and despair melted away, you're jolted out of your fugue state by the most miraculous sound: Your doorbell! Hallelujah! You go to answer it and your hunger comes back stronger with each step you take. You open the front door with a smile stretching from ear to ear. You lean in to kiss the deliveryman. He dodges the kiss and hands you the bag of food. You thank him, but the volume of your voice and the tears in your eyes and that attempted kiss make him think you're crazy and he runs away. You don't care. You shut the front door, run toward your silverware drawer for forks and knives that wont break while you're eating, tear open the bag and start gorging yourself. Serotonin floods your brain. You're joyous. All is right in the world. At least until your next delivery order.