Airtasker is a great, cost-effective way to outsource jobs to strangers. But what happens when you need a time-critical task performed? To test the service's delivery chops, we ordered a Triple Chocolate Gelato Cake from Messina and left its fate in the hands of an Airtasker runner. Would we receive a frosty treat, a squashed mess or a melted puddle? Read on to find out!
For those who missed our previous coverage, Airtasker is a crowdsourcing website that allows you to advertise almost any task imaginable for an agreed fee. Once you've haggled over the price and selected your 'runner', you get to sit back and leave them to it. Payment is finalised after the job is completed and you can also post a review of their performance on the website.
In the past, we've used Airtasker to have fast food delivered to our office and found the service to be prompt and accurate. However, it's not exactly difficult to drop off a handful of burgers. A Messina cake made from gelato is a somewhat stickier proposition; literally.
First off, there's the obvious melting factor. The closest Messina store to our office is located a good 10 minutes drive away sans traffic -- and there was no guarantee that the runner would even have a car. Secondly, a gelato cake needs to be handled with kids gloves due to its soft and delicate construction. They're pretty easy to squash, in other words.
In addition to all this, Messina cakes don't come in protective plastic tubs like regular gelato. Instead, the runner would just be carrying around a flimsy cardboard box. Frankly, this isn't something I'd entrust myself with let alone a complete stranger. Would Airtasker be up to the, er, task?
I advertised the job under the self-explanatory listing: "Order & deliver a Messina gelato to my office". Within a few hours we had several competing offers. I plumped for a guy called Jim who claimed to have experience with Messina gelato delivery. (It's easy enough to check if a runner is being on the level by perusing their Airtasker history, but I decided to take Jim at his word.)
We ended up agreeing on a fee of $25, plus gelato expenses. This might seem steep for a one-off delivery fee, but it would have cost significantly more money to hire a taxi there and back; not to mention the personal time this would have wasted. When viewed like that, $25 is perfectly reasonable. Messina doesn't deliver itself and is known to attract sizable queues at lunch -- all the more reason to fob the job off to someone else.
In addition to picking up and delivering the gelato, I also let Jim take care of the ordering process. This is the beauty of Airtasker: you can make the job as complicated or simple as you want. You could even request that the runner show up in a tutu if you want, although I imagine there would probably be fewer takers.
Jim arrived at the agreed time with Messina box in tow. Rather sportingly, he had brought along an ice pack and esky bag in an attempt to keep the cake cool. Here's what it looked like when we pulled it out of the box:
As the above photo illustrates... Oh God, so decedent. So chocolately. Sorry, what were we talking about again? Oh, right. Airtasker. As the above photo illustrates, the cake arrived in perfect condition. Hurrah!
In fact, it was hard enough to snap the plastic handle of our knife:
In conclusion, we have no qualms recommending Airtasker to deliver gelato or ice cream-based products. For peace of mind, check out the reviews of each runner and go with the one with the best reputation. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more gelato cake photos to salivate over...