Part of my job is calling people on the phone and telling them they have a delivery. When I worked days, it was usually groceries, now in the evening it’s mostly prepared food. It starts at six, the parade of mostly Hispanic and Asian deliverymen and boys, on bikes, on scooters, on foot.
I noticed that some doormen treated these guys like shit, ordering them around, some making them wait for an empty elevator or just being plain rude. I know it’s a tough job and I try to be as kind and courteous as possible to them. A lot of them don’t speak English well, and some have a hard time differentiating “B” “C” and “D”. I call apartment 16 B and say, “You have a delivery.” “I didn’t order anything.” I ask the guy again, “16 B?” “Oh, no, sorry, 16 C.” Those are the times my patience wears thin.
It was raining again last night, so there were a lot of deliveries. People who often go out to pick something up because they don’t want to tip bite the bullet and order in if the rain is too heavy; and it was pretty heavy last night.
It was worse last Friday night, and there was an almost endless parade of deliverymen coming through the door, in their bike helmets and slickers and ponchos and improvised tied-up plastic garbage bags, one and all soaked to the bone.
There were guys from Haru, Grub Hub, Pappa John’s, Lenny’s Cilantro, and a new one, Seamless.com. You don’t even have to pick up the phone anymore.
So they all came in, dripping wet, streaming water everywhere. Often they have more than one delivery, and they drag in all the other bags with them, if they left them on the bikes someone would probably take them. Here is where problems arise.
One guy came in with four plastic bags of food, an Asian guy, and he promptly puts them all down on the little round wooden table by the elevator, a bit of lobby décor that’s seen better days, mostly due to people putting wet stuff on it. It ruins the finish.
I say, “Please don’t put your bags on the table.” “Oh, sorry,” as he puts them on the floor. But the damage is done. I resist the urge to run over to the table with a paper towel and wipe up the water and show him how he’s inconvenienced me.
Another guy came in that night, a walker, holding a large black garbage bag. He was a young kid, twenty or so, Hispanic, but he spoke good English so he wasn’t an immigrant.
He wore a thin poncho and when he pulled back the hood I could tell he needn’t have bothered, he was soaked through and through. I watched as he ceremoniously unwrapped his big black plastic bag and extracted a small paper shopping bag, which was also soaked. It looked like it was about to fall apart. He rummaged through it until he found the slip.
“14 A,” he said triumphantly.
“Go on up,” I said as I dialed the intercom.
“Can I leave my bag here?”
He went up and was up there a long time. I started to get worried and was about to call the tenant when the elevator went up to 14 and I watched him board the elevator on my monitor. Yes, we have cameras everywhere. He came off the elevator in the lobby brandishing the wet paper shopping bag, now torn and empty.
“Just my luck, it fell apart as I was handing it to the lady!”
Bad luck indeed.
Watching this parade every night, especially on rainy nights like these, especially after some of them show me what they received as a tip (one guy held out his hand to display the 67¢ someone had given him) it makes me feel gratitude instead of resentment at doing the job I’m doing now. I am warm and dry inside the lobby making a pretty good salary while these poor guys are riding bikes out in the pouring rain for peanuts, and I’m sure some of them are glad to have the job.