Etiquette For Ordering Delivery In Bad Weather

If you’re on the East Coast, by this time, you’ve probably heard about an adorable little storm that’s headed your way. The Blizzard of 2015, aka, Winter Storm Juno is all up in your grills. Sorry, home skillets. But you're ready(ish): You’ve made all of the necessary preparations for a few days of hibernation. You’ve got candles and flashlights and water and canned goods, and now you’re finally ready to put on your sweats and burrow into the couch for the foreseeable future. But wait! How are you going to feed yourself? You think, “I just spent two hours in line at the grocery store buying flashlights. How can I possibly be expected to cook now??” You begin to wonder, sheepishly, “Can I do take out? Just really quickly, so that nobody notices? Is that evil? If I tip really well, am I still Satan?”

We could debate endlessly about the morality of making people deliver food during terrible weather, but the fact is that a lot of people do order takeout when it’s awful outside—so much so that some food companies actually report seeing a surge in delivery orders when the weather is trying to kill everyone. So if you are going to call out for delivery during the storm, you might as well do it in a way that makes you a decent person. lease keep in mind that a lot of restaurants are small businesses that take a huge hit if they have to close for the night, just like delivery people need the money too much to take even the roughest nights off. They're still humans, out there trying to navigate harsh circumstances—make it as easy on them as possible, and as worth their effort as possible.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your humanity when trying to order food during a storm. Keep reading for specifics, but my advice boils down to two maxims: Be generous and be considerate. (Shouldn’t you be living by those laws anyway?)

1. Tip more. Just do it.

You’re already a decent tipper (ahem, right?), but someone who braves the apocalypse to bring you a pizza is going above and beyond the call of duty. You owe 20%, at a minimum. Add an extra few dollars for every time during your wait that you found yourself thinking, “Thank God I’m not out there.”

2. Choose your moment carefully

Keep an eye on the weather, and try to time your order so that your poor delivery person doesn’t have to be outside for the worst of it. If the weather report says that it’s going to be insanely dangerous outside at 8 o’clock, spring for an early dinner and order at 6. If it’s completely terrible right now, and you’re starving, too bad. You’ll just have to wait until the weather gets marginally better.

3. Expect delays

Your favorite Chinese delivery might usually promise delivery within 15 minutes, but tonight you’re just going to have to be flexible. Understand that your delivery person is dealing with two challenges: weather that’s working very hard against him or her, and an unusually high number of orders. (What, you didn’t think you were the only one who decided to outsource their food tonight, did you?)

4. Order from places nearby

If you order from a place in your neighborhood, you'll have a better shot at them actually saying “yes” to going out. And you get to be smug about “living locally”, even if it is in the middle of a blizzard.

5. Be willing to take “No” for an answer

Respect that people shouldn’t have to risk their lives to bring you food. No restaurant gives up potential orders lightly; if the place isn’t delivering, it’s because it really is too dangerous. If your favorite takeout place says their not delivering today, just say “thanks” and wish them luck. You are, after all, trying to be a decent human being. Being able to hear "no" gracefully is part of that. (Not lecturing; talking to myself more than anyone here.)

6. Try cooking something. You can do it.

I know that what you really want to do is curl up in your pjs and watch Netflix until the power goes out, but you’re an adult human! You can cook! Throw a frozen pizza in the oven or whip up some eggs. Easy peasy. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make your dinner into a Top Chef-style cooking challenge: How much stuff can you use from your refrigerator before your power goes out? Your time starts... now!

Images: Getty Images; Giphy (3)