What to do about ordering food delivery during a snowstorm

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*Stretches widely*

*Inhales deeply and peacefully*

Aaahhh! A snowstorm!

Time to bundle up with all your blankets. Time to sip hot chocolate while staring wistfully at the accumulating snow. Time to ask yourself the age old question: “If I order delivery during this storm, does that make me a trash-ass human?”

The politics of ordering food during a snowstorm, or any storm for that matter, is an moral, ethical, and human decency quagmire. On the one hand, during snowstorms, weather warnings frequently advise citizens to stay off the road, unless for emergency purposes. So skipping out on ordering food seems like the logical and ethical thing to do.

But on the other hand, food delivery people augment their hourly income with tips from making deliveries. If a food delivery person has to show up to work, and nobody orders because customers think that ordering food during a storm is rude, are we depriving delivery people of their livelihood?

What’s a hungry person to do!?

Popular wisdom is to order and tip extra:

But is that popular wisdom even recommended by the restaurant industry, especially when a storm like today’s East Coast nor’easter brings snowfall at a rate of 2 to 4 inches an hour and thundersnow? To check, we called several New York eateries. 

One Brooklyn restaurant explained, “We’re open 24 hours. As long as we’re open, we can deliver. If we’re closed, we’ll put up a notice.” Another Manhattan diner echoed the sentiment. “It’s completely okay provided the place is open. I don’t think it’s wrong to order,” a customer representative advised. “But be very patient and expect to wait.”

Be very patient and expect to wait.

But at the end of the day, the golden rule seems to be: communicate.

When it comes to ordering during a storm, the rule of thumb is to play it by ear, explained another Brooklyn restaurant. “It depends on the severity of the storm. I’d rather people hold off, but you can always call.”

Seamless also recommends checking with the restaurant on a case-by-case basis.

“In that type of situation, I would suggest you place your order a little bit earlier,” a Seamless customer care representative advised. “We do allow our customers to place their order 24 hours prior. So you can send in your order and give the restaurant a big heads up. And hopefully you can agree on a early enough time when the storm has not hit so hard.”

So is there a definitive answer on whether you should order during a snowstorm? Nope! That mystery lives on. But when in doubt, just double check with the restaurant first, and you should be able to enjoy your takeout free of guilt.

And if your delivery person arrives caked in snow, the universal way to say “thank you for braving the storm” is by giving an extra generous tip.

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