Restaurant Delivery: Begone, evil temptress!

imageAt no point in my life do I remember not being able to order pizza in for delivery. In fact, as a child living in the suburbs of Montreal, I remember there were always two types of food that would always deliver: pizza and Chinese food. I remember Pendelli’s Pizza on Cote St. Luc Road was our first go-to pizza delivery joint (which happened to be three doors down from my elementary school); I cannot remember if it was House of Wong or Hong Kong House (they were owned by the same people and had the same menu) that was on Queen Mary Road above Decarie Boulevard that was our original Chinese food source, but it was one of the two.

Somewhere along the way, the availability of food delivery exploded, and at a certain point, my mother had a drawer full of take-out and delivery menus in the kitchen that we could dig through whenever we were hungry. We had long since abandoned Pendelli’s for something else, and the Chinese food was changed from the Cantonese to Szechuan… but now our options included Cote-St-Luc Barbecue (the best rotisserie chicken), Buffalo Bill’s (the best wings in town), as well as Greek, Lebanese, Indian, Persian, and I’m sure many other regional cuisines, on top of the pedestrian burgers and Montreal smoked meat (deli) sandwiches… and whatever else you might want. The restaurant industry wanted our money, whether it was the mom-and-pop joint or the large American pizza chain that had recently come to Canada… they wanted to make it as easy as possible for us to buy their product.

Sometime after I moved back to Canada in 1997, I heard about a service that would pick up your food from any restaurant or even multiple restaurants and would deliver them for a fee. For too many years I was used to the free delivery offered by so many restaurants and wondered how they would ever survive. I do not know what happened to them, but they were certainly still around when I moved away from Montreal in 2007… and for my frequent return visits to see my parents and friends.

An hour ago, I was so pleased with my progress, and that I had done so well resisting every temptation since last Sunday’s nacho chips and salsa incident. I was ensconced in my apartment, not quite ready to prepare my second meal replacement of the day, when an alert popped onto my phone. Enjoy $$20 off tonight! Order and save with Uber Eats! Terms and Conditions apply.

Are you %*@$ing kidding me?

It is not bad enough that you can get any sort of food by driving less than a mile in any direction; a lot of these restaurants will bring the food right to your door if you simply pick up a phone… and if you watch television, listen to radio, or ever see a billboard then you are going to be bombarded with mouth-watering advertisements for it all; if you are smart, or strategic, or just lucky enough to avoid all of that temptation, they are now sending it right to your damned phone… with coupons no less!

I know that I got fat because of me, and that my post-Army constant obesity is nobody’s fault but my own; I have written about that so many times over the last four hundred days or so. Nonetheless, it would be ignorant if not irresponsible to deny that all of the easily accessible and oh-so-tasty food what made my mother’s and then my own life so much more convenient by eliminating the need to go grocery shopping and then actually prepare the meals was a huge contributing factor.

I am not going to say that these services are evil, because they are not. For someone who is not a food addict struggling with obesity they provide a service that, while by no means necessary, is nevertheless convenient for the rest of the population. I can imagine that when the only three options were pizza, Chinese food, or rotisserie chicken that my parents would have welcomed the variety offered by these services. They were never morbidly obese and struggling to lose hundreds of pounds.

I cannot remove the Uber app from my phone because I do use it every time I have to go to the airport… which is frequent. I cannot even block the notifications for much the same reason. I can, however, curse them every time one of these ads comes up, and declare victory for deleting them as soon as I see them.

As for the other delivery services, I have done my best to eliminate them as well. The last time I used one, I was sitting on the patio at my cigar lounge in Glendale, California… and it took a year of deleting their emails before they finally took me off their list. If I was still living in Glendale then it was pre-pandemic, and I have not used one since. If I get a notification from one then I will immediately delete it, and if they persist then I will make sure that I block them in every possible way.

It is hard enough that when I drive to the grocery store, I pass restaurants that serve Lebanese food, Chinese food, pizza, sushi, and wings. I avoid those by staying in my car. Why do these restaurants feel the need to invade the privacy of my own home, coming into my quiet sanctuary, trying to lure me out into the cold, fat world? Begone!

Of course, on Valentines Day it was nice that I could order dinner for Leslie from another country. As well, I seem to recall that there might have been one meal that she ordered in for us when I was there last. I cannot recall for sure, but I remember we discussed it. Whether or not it happened, I am not sure. Not only is Leslie not morbidly obese, but she also does a wonderful job of supporting me, letting me know when I have had my fill. She does not tell me this based on her own judgement, rather based on what I tell her I should be eating before we begin. ‘Mitch, you said you were going to have half the portion, and then save the rest for tomorrow.’ That is support. The restaurants deciding that portion sizes should be able to feed a small village is not supportive at all.

There are those who would try to make these ads illegal, because it should be against the law to advertise any unhealthy option. I am not in that camp. I do not want to ban them… I just want to find a way to avoid them.

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