How We Got Lord Of The Fries To Deliver

It's a familiar scenario: you're in the office and craving potentially unhealthy food from a takeaway joint, but the nearest branch is too far away to get to during the lunch hour and it isn't a fancy enough place to offer delivery. Fortunately, there is a way to get around this.

We has this exact problem at Lifehacker HQ during the week. Everyone has been craving Lord Of The Fries since Chris Jager reviewed it last week (yes, even though he happened to lose a tooth at the time). However, Lord Of The Fries has just one Sydney outlet right now, and it's far enough from the Allure Media offices that we couldn't casually stroll there to grab some fries or mysteriously meat-free burgers.

Walking there and back would undoubtedly offset some of the kilojoule count, but in the high-pressure business of life hacking, there just didn't seem to be time. Fortunately, I had a brainwave : we could hire someone to do it via Airtasker.

We've written about Airtasker, which lets you advertise for someone to perform casual one-off tasks for an agreed rate, quite a few times. Find someone willing to queue up and buy our food and bring it to the office and we'd be sorted.

I don't want to pretend the enthusiasm was unanimous. Words can't describe the contempt with which one of my colleagues uttered the phrase "vegan cheese", and the team at POPSUGAR Fitness are far too committed to healthy eating to be swayed. However, after an office email, we had half-a-dozen takers.

The good bits

I didn't log onto Airtasker until the night before we needed the delivery, so I was unsure whether anyone would be willing to volunteer themselves for the job. Not that any of it was particularly challenging, but since the person we were paying would have to pay for the food up-front and then get reimbursed, I could imagine there might be trust issues.

That suspicion wasn't entirely misplaced. The first potential volunteer suggested we should phone in the order and pay for it by credit card. Not that kind of place, I explained. Nonetheless, within a couple of hours there were two 'bids' for the job. I checked out the reviews (always a wise move with any service), and then chose the lowest bidder.

From that point on, it was easy: I emailed our list, collected the money from my colleagues, and sat around eagerly waiting for the food to arrive. Promptly at 1230, Jose appeared, carrying two shopping bags filled with burgers, fries and drinks. LOTF had even put the sauces in plastic containers so stuff didn't spill. The food wasn't piping hot, but that's hard to avoid with delivery, and it certainly wasn't so cold as to be inedible.

The bad bits

Doing it this way isn't cheap. The suggested Airtasker rate for a delivery person is around $25, which I could accept (the Australian minimum wage is just under $17 an hour, but that presumes a full-time role). I decided to specify $30 as the delivery rate, and that worked out to fine. Over six people, that's quite expensive; for a dozen or more, it would be less of an issue.

If your restaurant of choice does offer delivery services, you'll rarely pay that much of a premium. That said, it seems highly unlikely that a hole-in-the-wall joint like Lord Of The Fries, which doesn't even offer seating, is going to offer deliveries any time soon. Given that, we're happy with the solution.

See also: Taste-Test: Lord Of The Fries Sydney | Airtasker Lets You Outsource Your Entire Life | So Just How Unhealthy Is Lord Of The Fries?


Comments

    Actually many places will let you pay over the phone, its generally a matter of whether or not the person you speak to has pressed the one button required for a manual payment before or not lol.

    Airtasker is quite good though, but the response times leave a lot to be desired in instances like this.. A few hours is a crazy amount of time to wait for a simple delivery job to be accepted.

      not exactly. They can put through a credit card manually, but its when the card swipe/chip is not working, however they need a signature....ie...credit card needs to be sighted, and verified. What your referring to is an over the phone & mail order functionality which you need specifically request....but you need to be assessed for this. The chance for fraud goes up a bit when you dont see the card.

        You don't NEED a signature at all, there is no legal requirement to do so as far as I am aware (and if i'm wrong i'd be quite interested to be linked to legislation to the contrary), though it is generally considered a best practice measure, in reality it offers essentially no security.

        Consider how this requirement would even function in most applications, such as buying goods direct to your door online (not by courier) - do you need to sign for those? Of course you don't. If you had a courier, they may ask you to sign, but that is purely as proof it was received by someone - hopefully you. They will perform no checks on this signature against the card.

          I'm no lawyer, but I'm guessing any legal requirement would probably come from a regulation made under either the Banking Act 1959 or the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, and would itself be prefaced under what is laid out in the Electronic Transactions Act 1999. I think there is a regulation somewhere, but it's been a while since I would've needed to know it.

          From my time in banking and credit, I'm pretty sure the need for a signature is to assist a business indemnify themselves, by demonstrating that the person whose credit card was used was either the cardholder or someone authorised by them. Of course, the law around banking and credit is nearly as crazy big as the law around taxation - so there's probably regulations and legislative sections that contradict each other many times over.

          In this case, a shop is probably perfectly welcome to take the card details over the phone and bang them into the POS device, but in doing so they wear the risk if the transaction is disputed. If you were particularly mean, you could make the purchase then lodge a dispute, and see if with a little bit of effort, you can get a free meal.

            "I'm no lawyer, but here's a bunch of pieces of legislation that souuuunddd related"

            I would similarly without reference direct you to many cases made against companies like Target, who were sued for actively refusing to take payment from people without photo ID, who were proven to be operating both outside official handling requirements of the credit card companies, and the financial regulations within USA.

            Oh and then there's always:
            http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/04/ask-lh-do-i-have-to-sign-for-credit-card-payments/

            Probably lucky you got out of the finance industry by the sounds!

              Your churlish response and childishly, unnecessary and snide insults seem to imply that I misinterpreted snarky self-righteousness for a genuine desire for to learn and discuss - I apologise for the confusion. Hopefully - for both yours and your industry's sake - your unwillingness to engage beyond petty nastiness or provide any constructive (or even useful) commentary doesn't mean that you're as incompetent in your profession as you imply I was in mine.

              The reason the law is so complex in this area is that there are literally libraries of material relating to banking and credit law in Australia. Between the array of state and federal legislation, regulation, recommendation, codes of practice, inter-bank agreements, and case law built up during the approx 196 years of banks operating in Australia, you can find a legal argument for everything, and an equally compelling argument against it. One of the major reasons I left it behind was that there are too many lawyers, and I found that with availability of tech blogs, there were just too many douchebags to deal with in any given day. The complexity increases all the time, and I know there are still laws on the books from the early 19th century that while enforceable, are no longer enforced.

              Again, not a lawyer, but a supposed series of cases from a different country with a different series of legislation about a different process whose only similarity to the original scenario is they have the words "credit card" in them isn't a compelling argument - or any argument, really.

              On your specific, point, from the article you cited, according to "one of Australia’s leading banks":

              Merchants might often ask for a signature to verify the cardholder and the online transaction they have just made – such as the delivery of the pizza. Our approach to credit card purchases online is to encourage merchants to authenticate who is undertaking the online credit card transaction.

              Basically, as I said above, the less effort (and particularly, effort that leaves a trail of evidence should things go south) a merchant makes, the more risk they take in being liable should the transaction be fraudulent.

              In terms of references, the Queensland Police (http://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/cscp/fraud/creditCards.htm) recommend that businesses:

              For credit card transactions, always ensure the signature on the receipt matches the one on the card.

              According to the ePayments code (http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/ePayments-Code?openDocument), your transaction can only be considered electronic (and so a merchant is only covered) if the transaction is:

              not intended to be authenticated by comparing a manual signature with a specimen signature.

              You can find similar statements from the ACT police (http://www.police.act.gov.au/crime-and-safety/for-act-businesses/fraud.aspx), the NSW police (http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/fraud_prevention/business_fraud_prevention), and the AFP (http://www.afp.gov.au/~/media/afp/pdf/m/mouse.ashx), and I'm sure most others (although I haven't seen anything on the topic in Victoria in regards to the risks to merchants).

              The requirement for signatures on credit cards - as with most credit card related law and regulation - is entwined with the history surrounding Australia's first credit card service - Bankcard. As Bankcard never moved to electronic transactions beyond the swipe (though a PIN could be encoded onto some banks Bankcards, as far as I know that was to access linked accounts on the same card, and couldn't be used to authorise purchases), a signature was always required, therefore signatures were always a requirement until at least 2006, when Bankcard ceased to be (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankcard and www.bankcard.com.au/history).

              Ultimately, the "legal requirement to do so" sits in the bodies of case law, and there's probably little point in trawling through the cases that have gone before the various trade practices tribunals before the credit law harmonisations in 2010 or 2011. After that, the states referred some of these matters to the ACCC. Unnecessary ad hominem attacks aside, if you do actually want to find the legal requirements for getting customers to sign, there are some candidates among hearings regarding a pizza chain in Victoria in 2008 and some other what looks like hardware or building material retailers in NSW and Queensland in 2009, but I can't link to them since they're listed in the paid legal database services I have access to (lawyer isn't the only form of legal professional, I should point out). If you're absolutely dead keen, feel free to contact your nearest legal or academic library or a mid-large-sized legal firm and see if they can dig up the cases that prove your point for you. Do it fast though, as there could be a law proposed to outlaw signatures to authorise credit card purchases as early as November, which would render the discussion moot (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/pin-or-pin-visa-mastercard-seek-ban-on-credit-card-signatures-20130723-2qgf4.html).

              Last edited 22/08/13 9:55 pm

                All of those quotes essentially say that its not required, but possible depending on the merchants own policy. I apologize for the mocking quote, it has been a very bad day.

                I'm sure you were fine at your job but I still find everything to recommend signatures, rather than any kind of legal or mandated requirement to do so, from card issuers or from merchants, or even for consumers cards.

        How very 1990s :) People pay for stuff over the phone all the time and there is never a requirement to sign or sight the card.

        It is the same authorisation method that online shopping uses - CNP (Card Not Present)

    Someone else has since posted a similar task for $25 :) Looks like Jose picked up that one as well.

    Shameless plug for anyone in Perth.
    http://ninjadeliveries.com/

      Very nice. Will absolutely be making use of this in Joondalup :)

    Love airtasker for deliveries of all sorts, as a car-free person who spends a lot of time at the office.

    Is that Chris with his hand in the bag before the delivery guy has even left? One tooth wasn't enough?

    On the other hand, I guess that's why there's so many first aid kits behind him.

      That's Angus I am pretty sure :P

        Looking again, I think you're right. My bad.

          For the record, I was checking everything was supplied as ordered -- good consumer practice that!

    There's a Lord of the Fries app, it lets you pay by credit card with your phone:
    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/lord-of-the-fries/id545875638?mt=8

    Problem Solved.

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