postmates + caviar

One of the perks I like to offer as a manager is to make sure each member of my team has a fun and unique birthday treat. With thirteen of us, I have to do my legwork – figuratively and literally – to find new ideas. When someone mentions a dessert they really like, the mission is to make it happen.

The latest birthday desire was for a Carvel ice cream cake. Because the Carvel store is all of the way downtown around Bowling Green, a delivery service was my choice because they are set up to keep the cake frozen on its two and one-half mile trek. I tend to use Caviar, but since they didn’t offer Carvel, I went with Postmates. We had ordered Cafe China from Postmates a little over a year ago, and it went relatively well – I think we were missing the pea shoots, but they were removed from the bill, so no big deal.

I placed the order on Tuesday, excited to be able to surprise my youngest and most enthusiastic associate on Friday, the day before his 29th birthday (yes, his actual 29th). On Wednesday, it became apparent that more of the team would be available on Thursday, so I tried to change the delivery date. Surprisingly, with the technological advances we have made (it is 2018, right?), Postmates does not allow any changes to be made to the order – not the items, the address, nor the date/time of delivery. You can cancel the order, but you “might” still be charged the service fees. My fear with cancelling my order and changing it to a Thursday delivery was that I would be under the window of time to place the order and miss the cake opportunity entirely. Not the end of the world – we just went on with the plan for Fudgie the Whale (I don’t know who came up with the idea of a whale-shaped ice cream cake, half-chocolate, half-vanilla, slathered in fudge and covered in chocolate crunchies – but they deserve a prize.) to be delivered on Friday between 11:30 am and noon.

Fast-forward to 11:21 am on Friday. An email with the subject “Your delivery from Carvel has been cancelled” arrives in my inbox.  The body states “Delivery Cancelled. Looks like this merchant is not open right now. Your account has not been charged and we apologize for the inconvenience. For more details see our Help Center.” I go to the Help Center to look for a contact number or email. Neither is available. Not willing to concede defeat, I call the Carvel store. Strangely enough, “this merchant that is not open right now”, is open. I explain the situation to the person who answers the phone. It seems that the tablet they use for Postmates orders is having issues. It’s unclear whether or not they ever received the order from Postmates, but Postmates should have known this well before the delivery time. They could have also got on the phone with Carvel to try and fix the situation. Instead, I have to be my own hero in this episode. Turns out, there is a Fudgie the Whale available at the store, so I ask them to hold it for me, jump on the subway, and go pick it up. Kudos to Carvel, because the dessert survived the steamy, twenty-minute cab ride back to the office without a scratch.

Postmates’ inattention to the order cost me about an hour out of my day, so I contacted them the only way I could find after a bit of searching, via an online form (my least favorite form of communication) to express my dissatisfaction. Basically, my message to them was that I was frustrated and would not be ordering from them again because the service was not reliable.  Postmates response was as follows:

Hi Wanda, 
Thank you for reaching out!
Wanda, I just want to deeply apologize that you’ve experienced issues with our service. It makes us feel extremely regretful that you would no longer like to use our service anymore. It is never our intentions to have you feel as frustrated and angry with us. We work extremely hard to make sure every experience you have with us is a very positive and pleasant one so I’m so sorry that this has not been the case. We believe in second chances, I hope you do as well.
Have a great day, Wanda! 

The response is enthusiastic enough, and they used my name several times, but their deepest regret seems to be that they lost a customer, not the fact they did absolutely nothing to try and delight or even satisfy a customer. When they contacted me to find out how satisfied I was with their customer service, I expressed my surprise that they sent such a generic response and did not offer any way to entice me to give them the second chance in which they believe.

Caviar is not perfect by any means. They are sometimes late. They sometimes leave something behind. They make mistakes. The differences are their flexibility and customer service. I can easily contact them to make changes to the order or ask for a status update. Response time is immediate and focused on getting me what I need. Once, I accidentally sent the order for my team lunch to my home, and the delivery person brought it the mile to my office (and he made the offer to do so before my husband gave him the additional tip).

I’m done with the soapbox but hope this information keeps someone from having a bad experience like mine. BTW – definitely try a Fudgie the Whale – it’s delicious!


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