The Great Delivery Platform Brouhaha-Zepto, Swiggy, and Zomato: Are They Essential, Convenient Shopping Services or Simply Overpriced?

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In today’s fast life, where we have gotten addicted to convenience and luxury, is the dependency on online delivery platforms such as Zomato, Zepto, Swiggy and etc justifiable in the name of speed and ease? 

Well, if you ask me I am not in favour of this luxurious lifestyle as it is more harmful than beneficial to society, more of a farce if truth be told. And I have been compelled to think in this direction, thanks to an incident that took place yesterday. A basic sandwich which I ordered via Swiggy, costing INR 99/- was delivered to me with a total bill amounting to INR 217/- including delivery, service and packing charges. What’s worse is that in spite of my paying so dearly, the sandwich was completely unappetizing, stale and practically unfit for consumption. Not only these but many such incidents have compelled me to recall and think if resorting to the older habits of ordering directly or stepping down ourselves is a more worthy option for both our health as well as wealth.

Upon analysis, we shall find the scales tipped against the use of these online delivery platforms for sure.

A Fast Life: Too Many Needs?

Nowadays, we all whilst being the true-blue slaves of a fast and demanding life, thanks to our hectic work schedules have started what I address as the “pay and smile theory”. Coming back home after a hard, long and tiring day at work, naturally makes one less inclined towards cooking food. Result? More and more of us resort to ordering food at home. In this case scenario too, somehow we seem to have gotten into a routine of sorts, doing so either via Swiggy or Zomato or any such third-party online delivery app. In fact, I strongly feel that we somehow seem to have completely forgotten how we used to earlier call the restaurant or the café straight away and order our favourite food/beverage and even better, used to possibly step down in our Pjs itself to fetch it directly from the restaurant. Albeit, in the present times when we do so, we usually get a negative response from the hoteliers saying that owing to X or Y reasons we have downsized the delivery staff owing to which anyone wanting to get food delivered home will have to do so either through Zomato or Swiggy or such third-party delivery platforms only. We are compelled to do so, there is simply no escape from this challenge.

The Great Delivery Platform Brouhaha-Zepto, Swiggy, and Zomato: Are They Essential, Convenient Shopping Services or Simply Overpriced?

Well, I am going, to be honest here. The other day when I came back home after a gruelling day, I thought let me try and whip up a 2-minute sort of a one pot “Khichdi” or something like that and just tries and sail it through. And as I entered the kitchen, I realized that it was not going to be that quick and 2-minute sort owing to the fact that two of my crucial condiments and some essential veggies required for this “khichdi comfort pot” were visibly missing. Not wanting to even step down again to fetch those essentialities I just immediately ordered them, again this time from Zepto, from a nearby dealer who charged me twice the amount, not to mention the extra delivery charges I had to uncomplainingly bear to be able to get it delivered in the twinkling of an eye. See? How silly of me. I could have easily stepped back down and gotten them to cook up the dish and saved some money. But no, I didn’t do it and ended up paying three times more than what was possibly the “restaurant “cost of the product. That too at home?

Shall I tell you the funniest part? The grocery shop is barely at a distance of 2 minutes from my place. I just need to step down and he is located right outside my society complex. Still, I got the essential groceries “Zeptoed” to me. This hard-earned money which I squandered was unnecessary and uncalled for and I could have easily saved up, simply by going down for 5 minutes. 

My hard-earned money was spent like this. Have we ever paused to think how each and every day and in every such scenario, we waste so much money? I mean come on guys, we are definitely not Mukesh Ambani, right? (hey, no offence but he surely can afford such habits but we should definitely be toning them down, right?) 

Convenience or Costlier?

My point here is, to take the above case scenario where I overspent almost 70 to 80 Rs simply on one purchase. Have you given a thought to the fact that the housemaid who comes to your house to do the dishes, sweeping, swabbing etc, for her these 80 Rs might mean a huge deal? It could probably mean a day’s worth of salary for her. But hey, how unruly are we being, mistreating this money which we have earned after toiling as well?

In case you are wondering what has compelled me to pen down these thoughts and address these things, well, nowadays whenever I tend to order stuff from these online delivery platforms, I feel extremely guilty as I realize where I am wasting this money. Yes, it is being spent in the wrong way as they are surely not profiting someone and also, they are actually being detrimental to the well-being of society at large. 

Confused? Well, let me explain a bit more in detail. I strongly do not support this practice which seems to have gotten into vogue for us for some time now. 

Yes, I have worked hard to achieve what I have today, I toil day in and out to earn the money, even converting the 9 to 5 into an almost 12- hour shift to a 9 to 9 working hour pattern, sacrificing my health, my personal life and a host of other things in the bargain. Especially, when you consider a metropolitan like Mumbai where everything like rent, utility and maintenance charges tend to skyrocket every other month, earning as well as holding onto that earning is becoming a subject matter of survival, I’d say. But, then at the end of the day, wasting this money on unnecessary charges which I pay for when I use these services, is just all that hard work going down the drain.

So, are Swiggy, Zomato and etc, helping the labour in India? Overcoming any employment bottlenecks faced by the country?

No, certainly not. Because, when these guys employ delivery personnel, they only hire a working force of around 20 to 30% of what is actually the percentage of the workforce that is fired or compelled to quit from those restaurants, hotels or grocery/convenience shops, which seems to have become the practice recently. So, technically speaking, there is no displacement of labour from one to another place, rather there is a downfall, a massive layoff thanks to the advent and over-in-vogue of these platforms, especially since 2020 aka the times of the pandemic.

The previous scenario

Earlier, there used to be around at least 25 to 30 additional staff at these restaurants/hotels, wheeling around the parcels, and delivering them away to people. Even if I consider every area to be having a conservative 25 such hotels then the number of such employees comes to 625 people per area. Now, you guys are smart enough to calculate the rest and do the math and see how much labour displacement has been brought about. Vis a vis the employment rate and induction done by such platforms for delivery is barely 25%. So, end result? Well, more than 70 % of the workforce losing out their jobs. Moreover, it does not end here. there is more to the story yet. I haven’t even begun listing the reckless manner and ways these guys rash drive to reach their destination to deliver goods on time. Delivering sub-standard, semi-cooked food, haphazardly delivering products whilst not adhering to all safety, quality and standard norms, these guys actually are subjecting themselves as well as their customers to trouble. 

The hypocritic rift creation

Do we realize these workers who lose out on their jobs are not alone? They have families to look after, mouths to feed and so much else to take care of. Well, no wonder the situation worsened during the pandemic, when realizing this, the workers who migrated back did so fearing the labour displacement which was already underway. We saw a huge migration when even the unskilled labour force, say the boys who used to be working at our local vegetable vendors went back to their villages fearing uncertainty over the future.

Whilst we continue to call even our basic groceries and fruits and vegetables via such platforms as Zepto or Blinkit, we end up paying more in terms of service and delivery charges, thereby again creating the vicious cycle of inflation. Why? Because they are overcharging and adding on to the already inflated price by way of multiple delivery and service charges. India, even though, well on its way to becoming a superpower (yes, our GDP crossed that of the UK, IKR) still we gotta keep ourselves on track and in check as we cannot afford to go on squandering money in this manner, over-inflating prices of products and services, thereby adding on superficially to the cost of these as well.

In the end

Well, to be honest, we surely need convenience, I don’t deny that. Except that, instead of adopting these so-called overzealous methods, we could very well stick to the previous ones which were more contemporary and yet modern enough to be able to incorporate the greater good for all strata. Meaning, in the previous pattern, where restaurants and such places themselves used to have their delivery force in place was a much better option vis-a-vis these platforms which are creating more nuisance than giving convenience. Modern methods must be incorporated in life only when they are beneficial to us in the long run and are not detrimental to the overall well-being of society in the long run.

Hope you guys resonate with these thoughts of mine and give this a serious bit of mulling over. Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the field of entertainment, travel, fun, finance, fashion, lifestyle, tech and gadgets as well as all things bookish.

Adios Amigos!

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