A few weeks ago I got a frantic call from a friend of mine sobbing that she’d tried a meal delivery service and that they decided to deliver her package at 2PM on a 96 degree day that she’s working until 9pm.
This was, I was told, $50 or so worth of meat sitting rotting on her doorstep. This was my introduction to meal delivery services as I ran to her house and picked up a soaking wet box of food at 7pm.
It was soaking wet from condensation and the box at this point was in danger of structural collapse.
I brought the package home, opened it and threw the still cold contents into the fridge. We were a bit surprised but everything was a low enough temperature that the meat eater of the family said there was no risk of death.
Our friend explained to us the idea was mostly to try something new that she wouldn’t otherwise have tried. That sounded interesting. Spice things up. Even with the near structural collapse of the box, things were still cold and looked interesting.
Kim set about trying a couple of services. They’re relatively inexpensive for the first box or if you can get a deal.
Our first up was Hello Fresh. The box showed, we put the contents into the fridge. Of the three meals one was outstanding and the other two were teaching moments. Not bad mind you, just “oh, that’s something interesting to do I bet it would be good over here.”
They forgot one ingredient, we had to scramble to get a substitute but it was locally available. Received a voucher for some amount off of a future order and an apology.
Kim recreated the incredible meal using store-purchased ingredients later on. New thing in the arsenal.
The second service we tried was Blue Apron. The box showed, I decided to take a picture of everything in the box as after last minute scrambling with the previous meal delivery service I was going to make sure Kim had a photo record of what we received.
Sure enough, prep time comes and they forgot an ingredient that you don’t just run out to Kroger and pick up. As I can’t recall what the thing was called at this writing we’ll just call it unicorn meat. It does not exist in the halls of Kroger, and I’d never really run across it before.
I get accused of misplacing it, pull the photo up of everything that was in the box, sure enough there’s no unicorn meat on meal #1. Great.
A substitute is decided on. It’s not the right thing but it is what we have in the fridge and don’t have to drive three miles to get something slightly closer to unicorn meat than what we have in the fridge.
Meal one was eaten with annoyance at the lack of the unicorn meat, dislike of the garnishing vegetable they chose. Perhaps it was to compliment the unicorn meat that didn’t make it.
Meal two was amazing, everything about it was good and quite a teaching experience. I’d never thought to put lemon and garlic and butter with potatoes and now I think that’ll be what I do every time. Meal three we’ll see.
Blue Apron was contacted, they sent a discount for the next order.
In each company’s case an item was overlooked. Hello Fresh the item was replaceable, Blue Apron it was not without I’m guessing running to Whole Foods. It really wasn’t the standard grocery store fare.
Both showed a lack of basic inventory checklisting. I mean seriously, piece of paper, check marks, that’s all that would have been required.
Both companies gave credits for future orders as opposed to refunds. Both services delivered 66% of expectation. Both could have ruined one meal.
Overall, got some interesting tips for foods from both. Surprised by the lack of a basic checklist.
Oh, were you expecting me to try and sell you on one? Nope. Just telling you to do an inventory when you get it, not at time of meal. Also telling you when you’re cooking potatoes, try a little lemon and butter and garlic. Daaaaaamn.
Yeah, seriously inventory your item before it gets put up or plan on meals missing pieces.