Opinion: Skip the safety – Burnaby food app drivers are a menace

Chris Campbell

Hating on food app companies and drivers in Burnaby is pretty easy to do.

They do provide a valuable service, especially to people with disabilities, but how they operate is pretty damaging.

Many of these companies take giant cuts from struggling restaurants, while their drivers are often reckless in following the rules of the road due to their need to complete as many runs as possible to make a living.

Now we can add a reckless disregard for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, drivers with Skip the Dishes.

In the past week, I’ve gone into two Burnaby restaurants to order takeout. I do this in person and not through an app because then the restaurants get the entire fee I pay and not the 30% charged by some companies, which seems outrageous – especially during a pandemic. (That’s a subject for another column.)

Each time, I ended up waiting for about 30 minutes because the restaurants were swamped. So, I chose a corner in the restaurant lobby and kept my distance from everyone else.

Too bad the Skip the Dishes drivers didn’t follow the same advice. I witnessed dozens of these drivers not even bothering to follow any kind of good sense despite ample warnings from health officials about how to keep your distance.

I know they drive for Skip the Dishes because they carry the branded bag. It was weird because I didn’t hear any other food app names mentioned and didn’t see any other branding. Skip the Dishes must be dominating based on what I saw.

None of the drivers (they were almost exclusively male) were wearing masks. Nearly all of them touched their face multiple times – usually to wipe their noses or the sweat on their foreheads - before grabbing the food bags and putting them into their pouches. Some coughed without covering up. And none of them kept their distance. They would stand next to other customers waiting and those folks looked annoyed as they moved away.

Two even tried sitting next to me before I set them straight.

It was ridiculous and frustrating and maddening and I’m running out of angry words to describe what I saw. If it was just or two, fine, but it was all of them with just appaling behaviour during a health crisis. By contrast, the staff at the two restaurants were all wearing masks, gloves and being extremely careful.

I know that the parent company can’t control what their contractors do while out and about. It’s just young folks (sorry, they were all in the 20s) not taking the pandemic seriously.

I’m just letting you know that if you order from Skip the Dishes, or from other food apps, you’ll want to sterilize the food bags and your hands after touching anything that comes from them if you already aren't doing it.

Just disgusting behaviour from people who should know better.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.


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