A month ago, Postmates dispatched me to get Taco  Bell. I was in downtown at the time. I immediately accepted. Blitz Pricing was 1.5x, so I was going to accept any job. But something bizarre happened. The address was 6560 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy (Portland, Oregon 97225). I know there is only one Taco Bell in Downtown Portland. It’s located on 21st & Burnside Street.

After I accepted the job, I discovered that the customer was located at 2801 N Gantenbein Ave, Portland, OR 97227. This is the location of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Immediately I wondered why this customer didn’t order from the Taco Bell at 2079 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209. It would have been faster. But who am I to ask? I’m just a courier. So off I go.

I started driving toward this other Taco Bell, southwest of Downtown Portland. As I got closer to the spot on my GPS, I start to realize something was really wrong. I was heading into a forest! Much later I found out it was actually Marquam Nature Park. What’s the deal, Postmates?

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The Taco Bell (green dot) was in the middle of nowhere.

I parked my car and called the customer, Jessica, to ask her if she’s sure there’s a Taco Bell in this area. She could see my location with the app. She too was confused. I told her to cancel this job and try again. In the meantime I’d get in touch with the courier support in San Francisco. She hung up and I drove back to Downtown Portland, all the while waiting for support to answer my call. When they finally answered, I explained the situation and asked the support person to cancel this job so I can accept a different one.

Immediately after the job was canceled, I received a notification that another job was available. It was to Taco Bell again. This time it was at the 21st and Burnside location. I accepted and then checked to see who was the customer. It was Jessica.

I got to the Taco Bell and ordered her meal. They didn’t have the Dr. Pepper Jessica wanted but that was not a problem. 

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As I was ordering at Taco Bell, another job became available at Killer Burger, which is a little down the the road from where I was. I decided to accept it and stack the two jobs. Fortunately for me, the new customer was located behind Legacy Emanuel. I made it to Legacy Emanuel and delivered the food to Jessica. She was a nurse working the graveyard shift. She was apologetic when we met. She felt terrible I was sent into a forest and asked me “Do I tip you in the app?”

I told her, “Yes”, and left to deliver the Killer Burger order to the next customer.

Once home, I checked to see how much Jessica had tipped me. $5.81!

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In fairness to Jessica, there is a Taco Bell at 6560 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy (Portland, Oregon 97225), but the app had this location wrong when it dispatched me. The map below shows you what happened on this peculiar delivery.

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Breaking down the Taco Bell Delivery

I was in Downtown Portland (blue spot) when I received this job. The correct location is in SW Portland (Google pin). But the app sent me to Marquam Nature Park (red dot). Jessica was at the green dot. The Taco Bell on Burnside is located at the purple dot.

Some thoughts on this experiences

First of all, this was not my first time running into problems with Postmates. They’re clearly working out challenges with their platform. Second, it can take a few minutes to almost 20 minutes before the folks in San Francisco will address your problems when you need support. With so many couriers running around, I’m sure the support team got their hands full. Third, take advantage of Blitz Pricing to fatten your earning. If you did the math without Blitz, these two jobs I completed would have net me $11.84 instead of $16.20. The $4.36 difference due to Blitz worked out to be 37% more. Fourth, try to stack your orders when it’s reasonable to pad your earning and maximize your time. Lastly, it’s very important to provide good customer service and communicate with your customer on these platforms because without tips, you’re making slave wages. In the future, I hope to learn more about these aspects of the courier job and provide more data and tips for couriers to maximize their earning on these platforms.

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