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New York Minute

 bike-delivery-man

There are a few compelling stories in the New Yorker’s food issue this week. Only one of them, this short essay by Zadie Smith, is available online for free:

The first time I ordered takeout in New York, two things confounded me: the terrific speed with which the food arrived, and the fact that, after I’d paid for it, the man from the Chinese restaurant and I stood on either side of the threshold staring at each other, though only one of us understood why. After a minute of this, I closed the door. An American friend sat on the sofa, openmouthed:

“Wait—did you just close the door?”

In London, you don’t tip for delivery. A man on a motorbike arrives and hands over an oil-soaked bag, or a box. You give him the exact amount of money it costs or wait and look at your shoes while he hunts for change. Then you close the door. Sometimes all this is achieved without even the removal of his motorcycle helmet. The dream (an especially British dream) is that the whole awkward exchange pass wordlessly.

[Photo Via: Todd Heisler/The New York Times;  My Upper West]

2 comments

1 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 1, 2013 8:42 am

I brought a friend to a buffet restaurant at Co-Op City a few weeks ago; they had relatively decent food, but their service was very suspect. The waitresses, and there were a few of them, all hovered nearby and talked loudly in their language while we tried to enjoy our meal. We got up twice to sit at different tables and they still followed us and hovered. When we finished, my friend paid cash for the both of us and waited for his change; one of the waitresses asked if they could keep the change as a tip. Oh boy, he flew into a rage and cussed everyone in sight out. I ducked for cover and went out the front to wait for him.

I'd have sympathized with his reaction were it not for the fact that I had warned him before about the tendencies of the waitstaff and had stopped going there long ago as a result, but he was hungry (read: greedy) and insisted on going there. Oh well.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 1, 2013 3:47 pm

Cra-zee.

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