#FastestDeliveryEver #ComputersAndConsumers

OMG! In keeping with my promise to report on Consumer Advocate Affairs, I am here to tell you about the FASTEST DELIVERY SERVICE EVER.  Today, I decided my dad needed a break from his frozen dinners that he finally learned how to heat up in the microwave. (For a former engineer, microwaves, cell phones and iPads are still challenging. My brother says give the man gears and he’s fine, but anything digital is beyond him).

Anyway, dad had already eaten all the dinners that his gal Friday cooks and leaves for him a few times a week. So, I decided to send him Chinese food from Golden Hunan in Northridge. I thought he’d enjoy the change of pace.  A few days ago, I ordered a salmon dinner for his birthday from Outback Steakhouse. He is an enthusiastic salmon eater, but unfortunately cooking is also not his forte. Thank God for Outback. It was a good week for my dad gastronomically speaking.

Wowsa! I tried ordering the Golden Hunan eggrolls and chicken with vegetables online at first, but it looked like there might be a problem explaining to the computer app that the delivery address was different from the billing address/ zip code. I called the restaurant to ask if that was okay to type in both, before I entered the website of no return, since Door Dash had just deactivated my account for the same issue. (Now I am skittish).  Stephanie, of Golden Hunan, told me she would just take the order since I was already on the phone and that she could deliver it within 15 minutes. I was stunned. She took my payment and seriously about 8 minutes later, I got a call from her. She was watching from her car to ensure my dad picked up his food off the porch and brought it in. What a doll! He doesn’t hear so well so I don’t give out his cell number to restaurants.  I want them to check in with me if there’s a problem anyway.


 After Door Dash infuriated me two days ago regarding another order and I battled them for over an hour, I suddenly remembered what attentive Customer Service actually meant thanks to Stephanie!!! So, Door Dash was on my naughty list, but Hunan was as great as Outback had been earlier in the week. When I ordered his meal from Outback’s curbside delivery, I mentioned that he was celebrating a milestone birthday. When I went inside dad’s house and plated his dinner, I saw that Outback had added a complimentary piece of cheesecake with a birthday greeting. That was so sweet!!!! Northridge has got it going on with Outback Steakhouse and Golden Hunan! Good work guys!!!

Now Door Dash…Ahem. On the same day that I picked up dinner for my dad’s birthday, I tried to send a nice lunch to my daughter to celebrate her birthday too. (Yes, it’s the same day ). Door Dash got confused apparently because I had been sending out food and groceries to a few different relatives and friends at about four different locations and my daughter had just moved within the same zip code. Then I had the “audacity” to use different credit cards albeit they are all in my name. I guess the Door Dash computer app didn’t understand that I sent hearing aid batteries to my dad one night at one address with one credit card, and that I tried to send a fancy birthday lunch to my daughter at a new address. I blew up the app!! The computer decided I was engaging in fraud and then my account was terminated. I called the bank who said my credit card account was fine and there was nothing wrong with the charge…. except it turned out that it didn’t go through on Door Dash’s end.

When I called Door Dash I got a couple of really rude “customer reps” one after another, who basically told me that I was being fraudulent and that the “computer made the decision to delete me.” That’s just great. As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, 2021 was off to an ominous start as I was now determined to be disposable by a computer. The implications were freaking me out. What if this computer had other computer friends at an ambulance dispatch company or the bank that gets the mortgage payment or worse- with one of the vitals monitoring machines at the hospital? (We’re in a pandemic after all). I mean they could all talk to each other. It wasn’t entirely implausible.

I tried one more rep and he also said I was engaging in fraudulent activity although he stressed that he didn’t call me a liar, when basically he was calling me a liar.  I kind of wondered if my laptop was in on it all because I admitted before in a previous essay that I do yell at it a lot-especially after I watch the news. (I don’t take out my fury on people. I just yell at inanimate objects).

Well, the short version of this is that I gave the customer service guy a soliloquy on the merits of real customer service which fell on deaf computer parts, whatever they are these day- not vacuum tubes or integrated circuits-whatever their guts are. And then I wrote three emails to Door Dash customer service about how they better be careful who they call a liar and a fraud because some people sue over that. I was mad. In the meantime, I found other services that could deliver from the stores near my dad because I figured that I was not using Door Dash again even if they made up with me.

This morning I awoke to an email from a Door Dash supervisor who apologized for the error. He didn’t explain it, but he said I could use my account again. Ha! It’ll be a cold day in Outback country before I use Door Dash again.

This evening, I’ve been walking around with dread about how easy it was for a computer to just decide on its own that I wasn’t a good “community member” and then it terminated my account and PEOPLE defended the computer. Jeez!! All those creepy sci fi stories are going to come true because people are just passive followers. Only now they’re following a computer.

I fear what could happen next. I tried to talk myself into calming down as my pulse increased remembering the ramifications of Asimov’s I,Robot. Come on, I thought, dad got a couple of nice dinners, Hunan was great, and Outback understands customer service too. So, two out of three companies understand customer service. Right?

And then just before I went to bed tonight, I turned out the lights and I could swear I heard my laptop laughing at me. If I see in the morning that it left me a fortune, I’m donating it to Goodwill…

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