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Delivery, man: How to-your-door services are ruining your life

Since when did ‘delivery’ become the dominant business model? There seems to be a whole industry developing around supplying things – anything, all the things – to shut-ins around the country.

The meek truly shall inherit the earth.

Urbansherpa is the latest – tell them what you want delivered and they’ll schlep it, by bicycle, straight to your door – and they’re just the latest. Every week heralds the arrival of another start-up that adds delivery to a previously available consumable to produce a whole new business. Like liquor but they don’t deliver? Quenched. Want to shave but not to shop? Shave Union. Got a baby? The Baby Bag.  There’s more too.  

Delivery. It’s the new takeaway.

There’s money in the model too, if the US is anything to go by. Starting with nothing but a bicycle, US entrepreneur, Phil Dumontet founded Dashed – a restaurant delivery service for when the restaurant doesn’t deliver – in 2009 and has turned it into a US$4.6m business.

Convenience is king.

Amazon’s on board too, recently announcing that it will be delivering to US homes via drone by next year. No word on when US drone payloads will be coming to our shores, but please insert your own joke about Pakistan here. 

There’s nothing really wrong with to-your-door services, of course. People are busy and getting busier by the day, so if a consumables-delivery service makes life easier for the chronically busy, so be it. Just because we’re busy, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to have our things, right?

But it’s hard not to get the feeling that we’re treating the symptom and not the disease here. Modern life is face paced, true, but how fast is too fast?

“Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses”. That’s something my mother used to say, not the tagline for an instant flower delivery service aimed at scent-deprived urban professionals.

And it’s good advice too, as long as you remember that it’s more about the stopping than about the roses.  

Jonathan has been a writer longer than he cares to remember. Specialising in technology, the arts, and the grand meaning of it all, in his spare time he enjoys reading, playing guitars, and adding to an already wildly overstocked t-shirt collection.

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