Is It Unethical To Order Delivery During Bad Weather?

We've all asked the question: Am I a terrible human being for ordering a pizza delivery during a storm? We spoke to Uber Eats in our quest for an answer.
Jason Snyman
2018-08-24

It’s an ethical conundrum , and one we’ve all pondered at one time or another as we’ve sat warm and cosy in our homes, listening to the storm rage on outside. Maybe you’ve got a nice fireplace on the go, or a cup of hot chocolate warming your hands. Is it morally acceptable to order food delivery during a storm? Is it indecent of us? Does it make us terrible people?

South Africa is not immune to the odd bit of flooding, snow and gale force winds. We wouldn’t want to brave the elements ourselves in those times of dread, so it begs the question; why would we expect some unfortunate delivery guy to do it on our behalf?

On the other hand, delivery service workers might not shy away from the opportunity to supplement their income with a couple of generous tips. And who wouldn’t tip under such circumstances? Only a monster.

Therein lies the quandary. Are we being good people, declining to order food during a storm – or are we depriving honest working people of their livelihood?

We spoke to the folks over at Uber Eats for a bit of insight into their own operation.
 

We Speak To Uber Eats

Uber Eats works a little differently, compared to traditional delivery services. For one, delivery-partners who use the Uber Eats app are independent operators. These drivers choose when and where to work, and if they’re uncomfortable braving the End of Days out there, they have the option of going offline and coming back online when it’s safe to work again.

Drivers from many other delivery services don’t have that option, particularly those who work for the restaurants themselves. In very extreme conditions – such as what Cape Town experienced last year during the fearsome Cape Storm – it’s unlikely that many restaurants in the area will even open their doors. Those that do, though, will play it by ear. There’s no sense in risking the lives of your employees.

According to the Uber Eats spokesperson, the safety of their drivers and delivery-partners is the number one priority, and during bad weather conditions the service will only operate on a limited basis in that specific area. Uber Eats informs all delivery-partners of hazardous weather conditions in their area and will urge them to take extra care when performing deliveries.

Adding to that, the company provides their delivery-partners with useful safety tips and in the event of an accident – in bad weather or not – they offer an impressive injury protection plan for delivery-partners at no cost to them.

According to the company, they do see an increase in demand during times of poor weather, but alert their customers that the time of arrival may be delayed.

So, be patient and expect to wait a little bit. Somebody out there is protecting your pizza with their life.
 

Does It Put Your Soul In Jeopardy?

Though some among us seem to suffer from a lack of integrity when it comes to certain things, most of us can be adult about this. When the weather is awful enough to actually make you question whether or not it’s unethical to give a restaurant your business, it probably is.

Generally speaking, though, your soul is safe. These delivery companies are here to deliver a service and they are more than aware of the risks involved. The drivers are prepared and trained. Delivery services want you to enjoy your meal completely guilt free, and they would never agree to undertake the task if they weren’t up for it.

After all, if things really are that bad, the restaurant would be closed for deliveries for the night. Call and ask, and you’ll get the answer you’re looking for.

Communication is key, patience is obligatory and generosity is the yardstick by which your gratitude will be measured. If the driver does come out, it’s just courteous to up the tip a little bit.