Service of Knowing When You’re Not Considered or Wanted

February 10th, 2022

Categories: Appointments, Delivery, Doctors, Pandemic, Restaurant, Takeout, Technology


Image by Sozavisimost from Pixabay

What will seniors do if they aren’t computer literate, don’t own or know how to use a smartphone other than to speak on it or a tablet other than to read a book and have nobody to help them? The third reminder confirming an eye doctor appointment asked me to sign in to a website to fill out a bunch of Covid information. And if I couldn’t?

I will only order food from businesses that take my request over the phone or have easy-to-navigate websites and I usually pick it up. I avoid Grubhub, Uber eats, Doordash and the other delivery services and I use restaurants that have their own delivery crew on the rare instance that I require it. The additional cost appears to be prohibitive although you’d never know it by all the bicyclists whizzing around the city toting packages big and small.

Here’s one example. There’s no flat charge for a Grubhub delivery. In addition to the recommended $5 tip to the delivery person, Brett Helling explained on ridester.com “Grubhub’s pricing is based on delivery and service fees, which make up 70% of the meal price.” He wrote:

  • “Grubhub’s delivery fee is the fee charged by the restaurants to deliver food to the customers’ locations.
  • “The service fee is the amount Grubhub charges the restaurants for facilitating the order.”

In addition to the expense, and confusing pricing, arranging for delivery is done online. Older citizens on fixed incomes who may depend on such service will feel the impact most or do without.

Some restaurants are making a drastic change–the ones that Victoria Petersen wrote about in her New York Times article “Restaurants to Customers: Don’t Call Us, We Won’t Call You.” She reported: “Channeling all communication through emails, direct messages on social media and reservations apps might frustrate diners and deter those who are technology averse, but restaurants are finding that communicating this way frees up time for front-of-house employees, is more efficient for restaurant administrators and gives flexibility to restaurants operating with a small team or through Covid-related staffing shortages.”

Nice for the business, but what about customers? At the same time I read about the difficulties that restaurants are still having because of the Pandemic. I’m not sure that this is the best time for them to eliminate a form of communication that some depend on–that is, unless they don’t want taking up space, and ruining the hip vibe, older folks who would probably prefer the traditional way to reserve a table.

These marketing decisions have most impact on older citizens. Have you noticed systems and setups that convenience vendors and service providers and ignore or discount some of their patients and customers?



Image by Concord90 from Pixabay

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10 Responses to “Service of Knowing When You’re Not Considered or Wanted”

  1. B.C. Said:

    So far, do not have this issue where we live in Fl. Seems like a deterrent to business to have the public make a reservation by email.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    B.C.,

    Email is technology-light. Many seniors use this form of communications. It’s the more complicated apps that concern me. But I feel that the marketers aren’t interested in the older demographic which is one of the points I tried to make in the post. Things haven’t changed: we were often treated poorly in restaurants to which we took my mother when she was well into her 80’s. They were immediately crossed off my list and at that time, we ate out frequently.

  3. ASK Said:

    Having to make an appointment via the internet for a Covid vaccination or test through the websites of such establishments at Walgreen’s and CVS is a pain. A booster appointment I had with the pharmacy inside my local supermarket was cancelled by the pharmacist. She called to let me kmow the store had not received its shipment of the vaccine I had had previously and I would have to reschedule through the website. She also told me the delivery date, but when I went online to set up another time, I was unable to do so! The calendar refused to respond.I finally went elsewhere…

    In some cases, when the website has been unwieldy, I have called companies to complain. A few had staff members that were willing to take me step-by-step through the online process. That was astonishing.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    I felt my blood pressure rise reading what you had to do to get a booster. How inefficient! These vaccines are a windfall for pharmaceutical companies and drugstores and other places that give vaccines. A mega drugstore should provide pharmacists with a way to get appointments for customers and notify them-as they do when an Rx is ready–that the vaccine is in-house.

    Like most nightmares I choose to forget, you reminded me of what it was like to get a vaccine when they were first available. I was SO LUCKY because for some reason I got my booster at the drugstore at which I received the first two shots–pneumonia and flu as well. In this small time window customers dropped in–no reservation necessary. Waiting with me were other candidates for boosters and for a range of other vaccines as well.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Being old doesn’t mean one isn’t wanted. It’s mostly a matter of finding the businesses who understand their purpose is to serve everyone. Those whose attitudes differ stand a good chance of not being around for long.

    Attitude also plays a part in whether one gets desired attention. I have found that polite, but accurate complaints have resulted in unexpected discounts and even freebies so as to make up for the “inconvenience.”

    It’s important to realize that there’s no such thing as perfection on this planet – so when faced with adversity, one must, in the words of a wise friend, “roll with the punches.”

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Sad to be part of a demographic that isn’t considered to be important enough to be, well, considered.

  7. Deborah Wright Said:

    Yes!! Two examples: I have tried, without success to correct my phone number and email on my “Login” cart which is the only way I can reach my doctor. To his credit, these charts are checked daily. However, no matter what directions I follow, I cannot erase a very old phone number and I cannot verify my email. I called the help line; after waiting fifteen minutes. I left a message for them to call back. Nothing. Finally, I logged into MYChart and in the medical questions, I asked them to fix it! They did, but the time I lost, I will never get back!

    Second example with billing: I never signed up for paperless billing with either the doctor or dentist. I want paper bills, write a check and mail it. When I went to the dentist, the receptionist told me I never paid a bill for my cleaning. I said I never got one; my dentist, who just retired, always billed me by mail. She looked like I had just spoken in Martian. So, I paid with a credit card. One more. I want to do my taxes. The bank that I have had for fifty years never sent me my mortgage statement. It is online and I assume you have to print it out if you take your taxes to an accountant. What if I did not have a printer or even a computer? As it is, I will have to make a trip to the bank and request them to print it out.

    Your choice of topic is so relevant. I find it increasingly difficult to navigate ordinary financial tasks without being notified. I do have automatic payments, but I control those.

  8. Lucille Grippo Said:

    Love this post. I went for a slice of pizza at a favorite place and a big sign says if you place your order online instead of over the phone they will give you a 10% discount.

    And if you pay with cash when you pick the order up they will get you another 5 %. Well they obviously hacked up their prices. One slice with eggplant on it and no drink cost me $6..00 That was with the cash payment discount. I won’t be going to that pizzeria anymore!

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucille,

    You are miles from being a senior but in addition to sharing a perfect example of discouraging calling in a food order you underscore anotherimportant development that smacks those on fixed incomes in the wallet: inflation.

    NYC encourages MTA passengers to pay by smartphone “so you don’t ever have to worry about filling your MetroCard.” Good idea, right? Wrong for those 65+ because it takes out from e-wallets the cost of a full fare. It does NOT recognize or credit the senior half fare benefit. There’s a promotion going on to encourage citizens to use this payment method. If you take a certain number of rides in a week the rest, that week, are free. But not for seniors.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Deb,

    My accountant wants all 1099s and other tax statements and info scanned and emailed. We used to submit stacks of paper backup. I imagine if the client is wealthy enough and unable to scan he’d accommodate.

    There are websites that publish information about upcoming events that I’ve dealt with for years to promote client shows and expos. Each submission form is different, some downright persnickety. What should take 5 minutes can take half an hour if the site refuses to recognize information which too often happens [such as accepting the correct time an event ends]. When I began working with one site someone who moderated my first event input an incorrect email address which was no problem until this year because I made a note of the wrong one and used it to access the site. This year the company sent a code to your email address which, of course, I’d never get so I couldn’t enter. It took a few days to get staff to do what was necessary to correct this. Technology trips up more than seniors.

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