Curious, and also in the need of some spare cash, I decided to sign up to be a Postmates delivery person and see how it goes. Apparently weekends are good times for earning the most, so I jumped right in on a Friday night. The delivery app has a heat map of sorts that shows you where the most delivery requests are coming from. I live just outside the border of a more pink-ish zone and decided to start here.
— PANTS MODE: ENGAGE. And set my status to “online.”
— I get a delivery request for sushi from Harry & Sons in Virginia Highland. I’ve never heard of this place. And with that name, it sure doesn’t sound like a sushi restaurant but whatever.
— I zip over to Virginia Highland, find a parking spot on St. Charles, grab my bag, start walking down the street when I get another notification: “Order Canceled” by user. Cool. Thanks bro.
— I decide to stand around and wait and see if I’ll get another delivery request. I hear a car door shut in my proximity. I look up and it’s a cop exiting a ParkAtlanta vehicle. I’ve seen APD driving ParkAtlanta cars before, and it’s a sight I find somewhat comical, but I don’t fuck with ParkAtlanta. No one likes ParkAtlanta. So just in case I missed a “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PARKING ON THIS STREET IF YOU DON’T HAVE A RESIDENTIAL PERMIT, ASSFACE” sign, I scurry back to my car and just start driving.
–I get another notification shortly after dodging APD-ParkAtlanta. This person wants food from W.H. Stiles Fish Camp in Ponce City Market. Excellent choice! This restaurant is easily my favorite place in PCM. I mean I’ve only had their catch-of-the-day fish sandwich the two times I’ve been, but lemme tell you it is, mm mm, quality.
–On my way to PCM I suddenly remember something about PCM and its restaurants. “OKAY GOOGLE” I yell into my phone, “WHAT TIME DOES W.H. STYLES FISH CAMP CLOSE.”
–They closed at 9. Great. Just as I remembered. I find a spot along Glen Iris and recall there are parking signs. I read one. “RESIDENTIAL ZONE, DICKHEAD. PERMIT EXEMPT MON – FRI 5PM – 6AM.” Wait. Does that mean you don’t need a permit on those dates? Or you do? You’re exempt from needing a permit? Or if you don’t have a permit, you’re exempt from protection and ParkAtlanta is gonna find yo ass?
–I frantically check the three other cars on the same block that also parked here. One has a permit sticker. The other two don’t. First I fire off a text to the customer, let em know the restaurant is closed, would they like me to try something else? Meanwhile, I’m gonna assume that “parking exempt” on these times means I’m solid. I briskly walk towards PCM because hey, maybe I’m wrong, and Google is wrong, and Fish Camp is still open! Everybody would win!
–Fish Camp is closed. I fuckin’ knew it. Also, as I walked, I looked up what “parking exempt” meant. It’s definitely the other option. Which means, in the previous 5ish minutes I spent hauling ass over to PCM, ParkAtlanta totally could’ve found my car. I don’t fuck with ParkAtlanta.
–As I jog back to my car, I call the customer directly. They answer. I let em know Fish Camp is closed. They say they got my text. AWESOME, WELL I’M SO GLAD YOU ACKNOWLEDGED MY MESSAGE. I didn’t say that, instead it went something like, “ah, well great! Just letting you know. Have a good night!” :customer service voice:
–I near my vehicle. I don’t see ParkAtlanta. My windshield is ticket-free. Hell yes. NOT TONIGHT, SATAN.
–Wait, so the business was closed. The customer didn’t get their order. So…does the customer cancel their order? Do I have to cancel the order? In-app support isn’t very helpful and doesn’t have the specific issue I have which is HEY POSTMATES, MAYBE FUCKING CHECK AND ENSURE THE AVAILABLE BUSINESSES AT ANY GIVEN TIME ARE ACTUALLY FUCKING OPEN.
–I decide to choose “Unable to deliver product” which is…well it’s the closest option I could find. “You have canceled the order!” Wait what. “We’ve alerted the customer that you’re unable to deliver the product!” Uhhhhh, hang on – “also, canceling too many orders may result in a suspension!” As I’m reading this notification, they play the game-over jingle from Super Mario Bros. which blares from my phone, I shit you not. Yo. What. The. Fuck. How is this even my fault.
–Whatever. I’m gonna get at least one successful delivery tonight, I swear. I drive around the block waiting for another delivery request, and this time, it’s a pickup from Fritti, in Inman Park. Close to my neighborhood!
–Inman Park is lit, unsurprisingly. I find a street parking spot close to Fritti, surprisingly.
–I’ve actually never been to Fritti. I’m picking up for Postmates, I tell the host. They direct me to the bar. Among the people sitting at the bar is one dude by himself, drinking red wine, and having a whole margherita pizza. That’s the goddamn dream right there.
–I finally get to use the Postmates provided credit card. No problems. I have the customer’s pizza in hand. It smells awesome. Things are going great!
–Things are not going great. The app on my phone is freezing up and stalling. How the hell am I supposed to get to the next step if the app malfunctions? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET PAID FOR THIS SHIT?
–Luckily each delivery request detail already comes with the customer’s address. So I decide to skip the receipt step in the app, plug the address into my GPS, and get the fuck over there. Customer satisfaction first. App troubleshooting afterwards.
–This customer lives in a townhome block which is…literally behind the Fellini’s on Ponce. Uhhhh yo, why spend all this money and time waiting for a pizza when you could probably get a BIGGER pizza for the same or less money and literally just walk down your street to get it? How good is Fritti’s pizza anyway?
–I ring the doorbell. A moderately handsome dude in pajamas and a bathrobe answers the door with a smile. You don’t look like an Emma, which is the name of the customer I got from the delivery request. I don’t say this aloud, but he looks trustworthy, I guess, so I hand it over and we wish each other a good night. After the door closes, I can hear him yell “PIZZA IS HERE.” You’re goddamn right it is.
–I get back into my car. I Google for additional Postmates app support because the actual in-app delivery support is a load of bollocks; it’s basically a super limited tree of “issues” and on the ones that seem even remotely applicable to my earlier predicaments, they all to point to, “Are you experiencing complications with your pickup and/or delivery? YOU BETTER CANCEL THIS SHIT THEN AND WE’LL BLAME IT ALL ON YOU.” Great, thanks.
–I scroll down until I see “App Freezing.” Solution: restart your device!
–Oh look. Restarting my phone made the app work. Yay. I enter the receipt info. I mark the delivery as complete. I made $4.10. Cool?
–I chill out in the townhome block parking lot for a little and I get another delivery request. CookOut. Of-fucking-course! What other cheap options are open later on during the night?
–I head over to the CookOut on Moreland. I remember going here sometime the first week when it opened. Place was a madhouse. Now, it’s about as calm as most fast food joints are around 10:30pm on a Friday night near a popular bar scene. Which is…not chaotic. YET. That’ll come later around 1 or 2am, probs.
–I put in the order. Double Burger, 2 orders of fries, Coke. Simple enough. I get the food. I get back to my car. I enter the receipt SUCCESSFULLY THIS TIME, HIGH FIVE.
–The delivery address is a converted factory lofts building. I’ve driven past this place. It looks cool as fuck. The customer provided the access code and his unit number so I could deliver the food straight to his condo door.
–I climb the stairs to the third floor. Fucking hell, this place just feels cool. I dream of living in a converted loft-type apartment like this someday. I get to his door. I deliver the food. The end.
–Once again I made another $4.10. Cool. [ post – Found out that this guy tipped though! I bet he’s worked a service job before. ]
–Also it’s Friday night which means Blues Classics with H. Johnson is playing on WABE, and Nine-Below Zero, by Sonny Boy Williamson, is the current song. I love this song so much. Driving around Atlanta at night, listening to blues music, windows down, feeling the chilly night air, earning a little scratch money…not so bad.
–But first I gotta stop by home to shit.
–Smelling the food I had to deliver made me hungry. I eat a snack and set my status back to online, now that I’m off the toilet. Another Cookout request. This is what I get for being in relatively close proximity to Cookout and taking deliveries on a weekend night. At least they have a parking lot.
–I arrive at Cookout and start to order. The cashier seems a little confused when I try to describe the burger order. The total seems a bit high for two dogs, a shake, and a burger. I ask them to repeat the order. It sounds right. But it still seems like it’s a bit too high…whatever. I hand them the card, I get the receipt.
–Fucking hell, there’s an extra burger listed instead of just one. I get back in line to explain what I need. They call over the manager who gives me a cash refund. At the same time, the food comes out. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Okay, so I didn’t want this extra large burger, but I did want the other, special burger to be large instead of regular. The manager just said I can keep it.
–…o-okay I guess. What the fuck do I do? Once again, in-app support is useless. In other news, water is wet. The receipt process involves taking a picture of the receipt in addition to typing the total price of the order, before embarking on the delivery to the customer. Should I subtract the cash refund from the original total dollar amount? But they still have the receipt picture. I decide to keep the total as it is on the receipt and,I’ll just hand over the cash refund to the customer after explaining what happened.
–This delivery takes me to an area in Atlanta I haven’t been to before. Adventure time! I arrive at the house, and this dude comes out and meet me. I explain the mixup at Cookout, how they said to keep the extra burger, and I handed him the cash refund because I assumed the user basically pays the cost of whatever gets charged by the Postmate picking up the order. The dude seems nonplussed, accepts the cash, and bids me good night. Aight then. I finish up the app process and I made $7.02 from this delivery. Cool. [Post: this guy did not tip. ]
— It’s almost midnight by the time I get back to my neighborhood. I’m not thrilled at potentially getting another CookOut order. Maybe I’ll hang around a different neighborhood next time for deliveries.
I shudder at the thought of trying to make delivery runs in the thick of Atlanta traffic. I’m toying with the idea of biking but that would also limit the area I could cover and from what I can tell, when you receive a delivery request, you can’t see the customer’s location until after you accept the request. I wouldn’t be able to tell how far I’d need to get on a bike. Maybe I’ll set my delivery method to bicycle while still using my car to see if anything changes.
In the middle of writing this post, I decided it’d be beneficial to use Postmates from the consumer side. I ordered a slice of pizza from Fellini’s. It works a lot likes UberEats to be honest. The app shows you where the delivery person is in real-time. I got a notification to rate and tip the delivery person after receiving my order.
There isn’t a way to see my delivery rating, if I have one anyways, having only completed 3 orders so far. Maybe I suck.
I’ll likely try this again.