UberEats is a Social Evil
In recent years, a new kind of business has been rapidly gaining prominence. These businesses, including UberEats, Grubhub, and Doordash, promise fast delivery food from local restaurants to your home. It is now possible to eat out every night without traveling beyond your front door. While this might seem like a great convenience, it robs us of the opportunity to both prepare meals in our homes and go out to restaurants, both of which are superior ways to eat.
Different methods of eating are appropriate for different social occasions. A sprawling table set with turkey and mashed potatoes invites family members to relax and enjoy a leisurely meal. A plate of mediocre wings at a sports bar encourages you to devour your meal quickly so as not to distract from the football game. It is not a coincidence that many of our best memories involve time spent with friends around food. Sharing food together creates an atmosphere of leisure. Sitting down to enjoy a meal with your friends or going to a restaurant is not the most efficient way to eat either with regard to time or money. However, most of us eagerly look forward to opportunities to do these things.
Taking the time to eat with someone else shows that you value them. You are willing to give your time to strengthen that relationship and incurring some kind of inconvenience to be physically present with them. This builds your relationship with that person in ways that cannot be replicated in any other way.
Beyond just strengthening our relationships with those we eat with, going out to eat strengthens our ties to our community. I experienced this personally upon moving to a new city for college. It wasn’t until my senior year, when I began to more frequently venture off campus to the city’s restaurants and bars that I began to develop a love for the area. Going out to eat at a restaurant in your city connects you to it in ways that cannot be replicated by ordering food to your apartment. First, you will rarely go out by yourself. When I want to go to a restaurant, I am forced to think about who I want to share that experience with. Doing so in my community also allows me to interact with others in that setting.
If you want to engage with any group of people you have to go where they are. That means that you must leave your apartment. Our modern society has created an environment where it is easier than ever to retreat to our own private bubbles. We can choose to spend all our free time on social media and Netflix, engaging primarily with a digital world specifically curated to suit our tastes. However, man was created to live as a social being and, in a world feverishly chipping away at our opportunities for genuine social interaction, we should do anything we can to preserve these opportunities.
Even more powerfully than going out to eat with a friend is the experience of inviting them into your home for a meal. This conveys a sense of intimacy that a restaurant cannot imitate. Even if you are a mediocre chef, taking the time to prepare a meal for someone can show that you value them. Most likely, they rarely eat home-cooked meals prepared by anyone other than their mother. Doing so frequently enriches our lives by creating leisurely environments where we can enjoy each other’s company. It invites us to sit back, relax, and talk late into the evening. The problem with UberEats and other similar businesses is that they invite us to forsake these valuable opportunities. However, we should ignore the siren calls of convenience and build a life worth living, centered around good food and good times.