Say it with me now: we shall not place orders we can't pay for, ignore app riders when he calls us, nor ask them to deliver illegal packages to our door. Do we still need a hashtag to be decent human beings?

/ 15 September 2020

Way before quarantine was implemented across the country, the delivery service business has been booming with the rising wave of E-Commerce, digital payments, and restaurant deliveries. As Filipinos were required to stay indoors except for essential businesses, this new mode of retail and food shopping has blown up into a core dependency for life in quarantine. These days, brands of delivery services have rooted themselves in casual conversations, and even formal business transactions, as it became the prime mode of transportation for packages, food, and other necessities.

As the country and the local economy stays upright by leaning onto the delivery industry for support throughout the continuing community quarantine, riders and drivers are pushed in the front lines of customer relations and client services with rapid intensity. With so many people ordering online and employing their services, “kuya” and “ate” riders are bound to come across a whole range of personalities in their rounds. These are thousands of transactions made within a day, with an army of riders going in virtually blind to process some strangers’ orders.

By “virtually blind” we mean that no matter how much apps try to strengthen their security regulations against bogus customers and scam orders, riders still don’t really know what they’re signing up for with each confirmed delivery. The same goes for us who are at the other end of the screen; We never truly know who’s going to ring up our doorbell and tell us our order has arrived. That’s just the trust game we have to play in a digitally-dependent society, especially now with an invisible virus going around.

However, the risk that riders face is a whole other level as they encounter different people every day. In fact, there have already been several incidents where customers cancel their orders midway, or fail to meet with the riders to accept their package. As an unfair consequence, delivery workers are forced to spend money for things they don’t need, and waste gas on useless trips that don’t improve their financial situation.


In an extreme case, just this Sunday, September 5, a delivery rider was arrested for picking up a package from NAIA that turned out to be P800K worth of marijuana from Canada. Many concerned netizens questioned why the rider was the one arrested when he had no idea what the packaged contained, and why he was detained instead of the person who made the order. The last update from the report was that the police was already planning a follow-up operation to investigate who was supposed to claim the package from the rider, but no further information has been disclosed since then regarding the rider’s jail time or any other details.


These are just a few instances where delivery workers put their safety, health, and money on the line for the promise of a somewhat stable source of income in the middle of a pandemic. The good news, however, is that major delivery services have taken note of their employees’ predicaments when it comes to these situations.

In an effort to protect the riders from cancelled, companies like GrabFood and foodpanda automatically disables the “cancel” button once the order has been placed. For no-shows or unclaimed orders, the company has also put an easy reimbursement policy in place, while promising that the customers in question will face corresponding penalties.

As scary as these times are, unfortunately not everyone has the privilege to stay in the safety of their homes and ride this one out. So many front liners like delivery workers, medical personnel, security guards, waste collectors and more go out every day to face these turbulent times with nothing but a mask on their faces and the fragile hope of the universe treating them well that day. As non-essential workers usually on the receiving end of the service of front liners, it’s our duty to be decent human beings and be respectful of their work. The least we can do is pick up our orders accordingly, and be responsible customers.