Furore over delivery man video

Furore over delivery man video

He opened a takeaway, snacked on it, and packed it again unaware that someone was recording a video

A video of a delivery executive who was seen eating out of delivery packets and repacking them, has received mixed responses on social media.

Last week, a delivery man from Zomato was caught on video eating out of delivery packets and repacking them. The platform sacked him.

The incident has sparked a debate on social media, as also among customers, restaurateurs, and delivery people.

Many are sympathetic to the delivery man, while saying it is improper and unhygienic to palm off food packets from which one has already eaten (No details are available, however, of whether the man delivered the opened packets to customers.)

“He must have been hungry and it is not a crime to eat when so,” says M Sreedhara Murthy, psychologist and former professor of psychology.

“The Ten Commandments is a list of don’ts. The eleventh unwritten commandment is that when survival is at stake, the Ten Commandments remain silent.”

Sreedhara Murthy own a farm with many fruit-bearing trees. “Someone is building a house nearby, and I have not been able to bring home any fruits. Workers at the site go and eat the fruits when they are hungry. I don’t consider this wrong,” he explains.

Most food delivery executives are underpaid and work under tight deadlines. They ride too fast and risk their lives. The company should have first looked into what prompted him to do what he did,” he says.

Dr G Ramakrishna, retired professor and activist, says Zomato can’t be faulted on what it did.

“One cannot expect an organisation to be partial to a delivery man who takes the liberty of consuming food meant to be delivered,” he says, but calls for a “more realistic view of the socio-economic system.”

He does not believe compassion is the answer to all such dilemmas. “A more realistic approach is to provide good training and enhancement of skills so that a delivery man can make ends meet. A proper monitoring of labour laws is also important,” he says.

The app’s decision to fire the executive was harsh, say many. Mathews Philip, human rights activist and executive director for South India Cell for Human Right Education and Monitoring, says, “Every individual deserves natural justice. An analysis of what happened and corrective measures were called for.

Punishment should be proportionate to the offence, he believes.

“Earlier, in England pickpockets were hanged but it is not the case now. Instead of dismissing the executive, placing him in another department would have been a humane way to go,” he says.

Many who order takeaways are worried about hygiene. Techie Reshma S R says inadequate portions, leaking or messy packets, and cold food were concerns, but she had never imagined someone would be biting into her parcel.

“It is a bit scary someone might have already had a share of your food and used the cutlery sent to you,” she says.

Safer food
Zomato has announced it will soon introduce tamper-free tapes for its food parcels.

Internet memes
This has been doing the rounds on the internet with memes and trolls about the incident.

‘This incident is not common’
A restaurateur from Jayanagar, who does business with Foodpanda, Swiggy, UberEats and Zomato, says delivery executives work under intense pressure.

“They expect us to pack and hand over the food in minutes so that they can rush the order and deliver more. They have tough targets and the numbers keep increasing,” he says.

Items being reported missing by customers and “unpaid cash-on-delivery orders” are common. “There are times when a restaurant is flooded with orders and forgets to pack all items. But I have heard about customers complaining of missing items even after a restaurant has checked and packed them carefully. It is possible, in such cases, that the delivery executive ate the food,” he details.

Sometimes, delivery executives order food for themselves and eat it on the street, since the apps offer attractive deals. All said and done, incidents like the one that caused a furore are not common, he says.