Hello for Friday April 15th. Last week, courtesy of Sixth Tone, we posted a link to a short video relating to the lockdown of Shanghai that proved popular. Today, let’s try the same magic with another short movie looking at Shanghai’s online food delivery workers. We’ve also included links to more detailed background.
From decades past and the landline to call the local Pizza Hut to today’s myriad of hi tech on line mobile, delivery APPs, there can not be too many of us who, at some point or other, have not placed an order for delivery food.
Today the range is seemingly endless. No longer just the local takeaway joint, even some of the classy fine dining restaurants have jumped onto the home delivery motorbike~ From the corner store to the mega marts, food, either precooked, ready to eat, or the raw makings can be at your door within 30 minutes or so of your call. The only time you need to get off the sofa (or out of bed) is to answer the door!
If, like us, you are a business working long hours, then our once weekly trek to the supermarket is reduced to the ease and convenience of a 5 or 6 minute scroll with an online shopping App.
Instead, a ding dong and the door monitor shows us a masked, helmeted stranger. A few moments later he or she – hard top tell – is at our door, laden down with shopping bags, smiling, pleasantly greeting us, and wishing us an enjoyable night.
No more negotiating a shopping cart with a mind of its own that will go in any direction save the one you want. No more standing in line at checkout whilst someone half a dozen up argues about the price with the till operator. Or can’t recall his credit card password! Or coming out to find a wayward cart has carved a metre long gouge in the drivers door of your brand new, bright red Toyota Corolla.
Blissfully we forget she is one of the globes many gig workers, little job security, on a miserable salary. Employed by a bot that demands a punishing schedule determined by some logarithm that fails to take account of the difference between dry, wet and icy roads in calculating the distance and time needed for delivery. Then deducts a portion of her earnings for every few minutes she fails to make the time.
For many of these people, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen is not their home town. Often they are from small provinces, working a punishing schedule to help out families back home.
Yet, when a city like Shanghai (or Beijing or any other) goes into emergency lock down and life becomes difficult for the average apartment dweller, these delivery people are our lifeline. Of course, we could be cynical and say they see an opportunity to earn more money. Which might be true. But when Covid has cost some of them their regular office day jobs, we prefer to err on the side of compassion.
So today we present, again courtesy of Six Tone, a salute to the food delivery people. Not just in Shanghai, not just in China, but all around the world.
Unsung Heroes: Shanghai’s Delivery Workers
Some slept in cars to evade community lockdowns, others bedded down at workplaces just so they could continue to work.
As Shanghai prepared to shut down to contain its worst COVID-19 outbreak, the city’s delivery workers struggled to keep up with demand. They zipped across the city on scooters day and night, going from one door to another, delivering supplies to people who couldn’t go out to shop.
Facing high work loads and poor working conditions at the best of times, many delivery workers speak about a responsibility to help the community at a time of crisis. Many of them say they’re finding their work to be more meaningful than ever.
CAUTION: Sound is ON by default. Audio is Chinese, English subtitles. You may find it less distracting to mute sound and switch to full screen.
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She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.
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