In such turbulent times, it can be difficult to know whether you're being understandably cautious or whether your behavior is going too far.
Reddit user coricav, for example, has been using the "no contact delivery" option offered by many restaurants. When one delivery person insisted on making contact so he could scold her over her building's parking situation, she responded by giving him a low rating.
Now, she's having some second thoughts. She visited the popular subreddit "Am I The A**hole?" to see whether she had done the right thing.
She titled her story "AITA for giving a DoorDash driver 2 stars because he didn't follow my instructions?"
"I live on a busy street in Los Angeles and there's no place to stop a car in front of my apartment building. It's also on a hill, which reduces visibility for oncoming cars. There are two small side streets where drivers can pull off, both about equal distance from my building. I've been using DoorDash's no-contract delivery option."
"My current instructions read, "You shouldn't stop your car on (Street Name). If the building's front door is locked, you can leave the food outside. If it's unlocked (directions to my apartment, which is ~50 feet from the front door)." I don't specify which side street they should pull onto because they're equal distance and I figure they can choose based on the direction they're coming from."
"Since I started using the no-contact option, I've been texting the drivers the last 2 sentences of my instructions. I leave out the part about the street because: 1) it's the first part of the instructions, so I figure it'll catch their eye when they see that, and 2) this street is obviously busy and stopping in front of my building is clearly a bad idea. If you're familiar with LA, think Wilshire or Sunset but with no parking lanes and a hill blocking visibility."
"A few days ago, I ordered DoorDash and did everything I've described above. I got the message that the driver was approaching, and about 30 seconds later I heard someone banging on the building front door. I really didn't want to go outside because I'd gotten over being sick (small fever and cough you get the picture) just a day before, so I copy pasted the entire instructions and texted it to him."
"The banging kept up. I felt that maybe he hadn't seen my texts and the noise was probably disturbing my neighbors, so I went out, got the food, thanked him, and turned to leave quickly."
"He said, 'look out there,' pointing to the street. I looked out and saw a car parked in the turning lane in the middle of my street. He said, 'That's my car. You can't have people stopping there, it's very dangerous'."
"I told him that I knew it was dangerous and that's why I said in my instructions not to stop his car on this street. He continued to say how dangerous it was, how people can't stop there, etc. and I repeated that the instructions said not to stop there. Then, he said, "okay, okay" like he was annoyed, and we went our separate ways."
"I gave him two stars instead of five because he didn't follow my instructions at all. I was very annoyed that he seemed to think it was my fault he parked his car in the middle of a busy street, and that I didn't get a no contact delivery. My boyfriend says I'm an asshole because if DoorDash drivers get below a certain (high) rating, they get fired, and times are tough right now."
"That got me feeling a little bad. I don't want him to get fired for this one thing, but I don't regret my rating because it will be one of many, many ratings and if he's usually a great driver, my low rating won't matter. AITA?"
Reddit was quick to defend coricav's low rating.
"[Not The A**hole] (NTA). The rating system is there for a reason. If the driver seemed a little snappy and rude and failed to follow instructions, that is pretty much the entirety of their job....it is a customer service job, and as someone who has worked in customer service for years, I don't really think that there is an excuse for acting like that towards a customer."
"Reading the instructions should be step one for doordash workers, regardless of if you personally texted them or not. and with that being said, if you want a good rating, you might want to keep on a happy face regardless of how you feel."
"Edit: one more thing, your boyfriend is being overdramatic. One rating should not make or break someone. It is getting consistently low ratings that will get someone fired." -LadyCreepsPasta
Though a few people tried to defend the driver, it was hard to ignore his many offenses.
"The driver followed none of OP's instructions (which were there for an actual reason, rather than just OP being fussy); what part of that makes it sound as though he was doing his best? And speaking of that pandemic, if a deliverybloke who evidently isn't willing to do no contact deliveries picked up the virus, that not only endangers him, but all of his prospective customers, as well." -DeliSoupItExplodes
Most of this situation could have been avoided if the driver had just used his basic common sense.
"It should be common sense. OP shouldn't even have to spell it out, but they're nice enough to in the instructions. Yeah it's dangerous to park there, so why did he do it?"
"I feel like most people would turn onto a side street to find parking if there wasn't safe parking on the main street, without needing to be instructed to do so. He was instructed though, so he shouldn't be complaining since it's his fault for not reading." -kittylover1075
Even Reddit's delivery people gave OP the thumbs-up.
"My wife does Door Dash and I go with her a lot, so I know what it's like from the drivers perspective. Having said that, NTA at all. We read the instructions on every order before even getting to the restaurant, and reread the drop off instructions when we get to the house, in addition to having the phone's ringer on in case of a text like that."
"You did everything right, and even maintained your cool after being repeatedly blamed by him for something that was his fault." -Meaty_LightingBolt
After reading her lengthy, slightly complicated instructions, several people actually thought coricav was in the wrong.
"Keep it simple and be flexible. The more information you include, the less clear it will be. Especially considering Doordash folks are driving. They have to either memorize the info before they hit the road or else figure it out upon arrival."
"This isn't the suburbs where they can just pull over and reread a whole paragraph. I live in the area. There aren't many places where it's ideal to pause and look at your phone."
"I know you mean well, but I'm afraid YTA. In the future, simplify your message and don't be mad when people don't get it right. Edit: As for all the comments saying you're not TA...consider whether they truly understand this particular traffic situation." -JesusListensToSlayer
It was worth noting that the delivery person was driving while OP texted her instructions.
"Co-signing with what the above person said, as someone who lives in LA and spent years delivering food there. I couldn't understand what your directions were trying to convey, and you need to keep in mind that a delivery driver has to remember whatever directions you give them and can't really double check what you've said until they're at the location, a location that they they likely aren't familiar with and may not have even ever seen until they actually get there."
"Just saying 'don't stop on the street' isn't very helpful directing if they don't know where to stop, and if you're actually on a road like Sunset or Wilshire in a spot where there is a hill blocking visibility and no place to even stop, and these are the directions that you're giving, I'm sorry but you really are TA."
"Honestly, delivering food in a high traffic city is an extremely stressful job, and you're far from the only person who doesn't know the difference between helpful directions and unhelpful ones."
"A general rule of thumb is that giving directions on what you should do instead of what you shouldn't do is far more helpful, and basic visual directions are easier to remember and follow than anything Google Maps-ish, i.e. saying 'park in front of the big white building on La Brea' is much easier to remember and do than 'park in front of 4203 La Brea.'"
"And not only are overly specific and complex directions difficult to remember in the moment, but they're far more likely to get cut off in any receipt that the driver actually gets, so even if you write it that doesn't necessarily mean that the driver is seeing it." -TheJujyfruiter
But, ultimately, it seemed like most people were on coricav's side.
"Giving instructions is generally more effective when phrased in yesses rather than noes. Tell the driver what to do ('park in either of the side roads") instead of what not to do ("don't park on main road'). Second part was already phrased like that."
"However, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink... If a driver decides not to read instructions or to ignore them, that's on them. In this case I think you're NTA. Even if you hadn't left any instructions, him breaking the no contact request is putting you, himself and all of his future customers at risk. For crying out loud, you might even still be contagious! This guy put his ego before public welfare, and I think he got off lightly with a two-star rating." -MissRbvK
Though there's always some room for give and take, insisting upon making face-to-face contact during a pandemic is almost always the wrong move. Stay safe, coricav!
The book Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service is available here.