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The first wave of gig economy marketplaces came bearing hefty promises: get autonomy, make a good living, set your own schedule. In the shadow of the 2008 financial crisis, these promises incited thousands of people to take a chance on a new way to work. As on-demand became the rallying cry guaranteeing consumers better living through technology, these workers quickly became the primary engine making the flywheels move in gig marketplaces that wanted to drive for you, shop for you, and bring your dinner at the push of a button. …


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One of the best parts about working with business owners across the country is the front row seat we have to witness how many of them use their grocery delivery businesses to do amazing things in their communities.

This one in particular had us all a little choked up…

Frank Rodriguez is the owner of Speedy 🛒 Shopper, a local grocery delivery business serving the greater Orange County area.

Frank learned about a member of his community, Anita, who was struggling with her normal grocery delivery routine. Anita uses a wheel chair, and as part of her routine during the COVID-19 pandemic, would request shoppers to leave her order by the front door. …


These past few weeks are shining a bright light on the inherent inequities in the Instacart model. While Instacart’s business may be booming, the backbone of their business — the hundreds of thousands of personal shoppers employed as independent contractors — are being exploited more than ever.

The truth is, this exploitation isn’t anything new. It’s been this way for a long time and has been well documented. …


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed with stories about local shoppers going out of their way to help and deliver groceries for the vulnerable populations in their communities (elderly, immuno-suppressed, pregnant, etc).

At a time when we’re all being asked to stay at home and avoid contact with others, these shoppers are putting their own health and safety on the line to brave crowded and hectic stores to get the food and supplies that people need.

As local business owners, some are even reducing or waving their service fees to further help these at-risk individuals, acting solely out of service to their community, even when being impacted financially themselves. …


Shelves are empty.
Delivery wait times are days long.
Who’s handling your groceries? You don’t know.

The reality is that grocery delivery apps that have built their business on algorithms, not people, are failing. Sky rocketing demand for grocery delivery has all but shut down algorithm and rule-based apps that can’t deal with today’s COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.

Local shoppers that run their own grocery delivery businesses are becoming heroes to the people they serve.

These individuals are using their brains, local knowledge and connections, and a strong commitment to find solutions for their clients and community — proving yet again that humans, not technology, are best equipped to solve problems and deliver kindness (and groceries!). …

About

Joel Shapiro

Co-founder at Dumpling

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