The Fates Aligned To Bring You Dinner Twice

, , , , , | Working | December 2, 2020

It’s a Tuesday night and my husband and I don’t feel like cooking, so we order fish and chips for delivery from a local place via a well-known app. We pay on the app as normal and get a delivery estimate for around an hour’s time.

About fifteen minutes before our delivery estimate, a car pulls up and a delivery driver with a bag of food knocks on our door, hands my husband the bag, and asks for cash payment.

Husband: “But… we paid on the app.”

There have been some power cuts in the local area. Our house has been mostly unaffected, apart from some flickering lights but social media has been awash with people complaining of having no power at all, so it doesn’t seem unusual when the delivery driver explains.

Driver: “Actually, the app’s payment system is down because of the power cuts, so you’ll have to pay in cash. But don’t worry; in the event that you are double-charged, you can simply come down to the shop and we’ll refund us the cash.”

He even hands us the delivery note with our order details and the price to pay so we’ll have something in the way of evidence if we need it. It doesn’t occur to us to check the items on the receipt, as the price sounds about right, so we pay the cash and take the food inside, looking forward to our cheeky mid-week treat.

As we begin to unpack the food, it becomes clear that this isn’t our order. Not even close. My husband jumps straight on the phone with the restaurant to explain that our order must have been mixed up and we’ve received someone else’s food. I only hear one side of the conversation, but it’s clear that there’s a lot of confusion while the restaurant and my husband try to figure out what’s gone wrong and where our food is.

It’s then that I start looking at the food we’ve received, along with the bill the delivery driver handed us, and I’m pretty sure some of this food isn’t even on the menu of the place we ordered from. From what I can glean from my husband’s side of the phone conversation, it sounds like they haven’t even sent our order yet so the restaurant can’t understand what food we’ve received.

I start looking through the bags and the receipt to find anything that confirms the name of the restaurant this food has come from, but there is nothing. I whisper my suspicions to my husband, but he seems to have reached the same conclusion as me; this food hasn’t come from the place we’ve actually ordered from. He makes his apologies and hangs up with the restaurant.

It then dawns on us that we’ve been victims of the strangest series of coincidences we’ve ever experienced: on a day and time when we so happen to be expecting a food delivery, a completely separate fish and chip shop mistakenly writes our address on a food order made by someone else, where the bill came to roughly the same amount as what we’d ordered, at a time when there was a plausible explanation as to why online payments were failing.

Our actual takeaway arrived around twenty minutes later — exactly as we’d ordered it — and we ate it in confusion surrounded by food that we didn’t order, and didn’t want, but had still somehow paid for, with no way of knowing where it had come from so we could ask for our money back!

We tried for a while cross-checking the items on the receipt with other restaurants on the app but couldn’t find anywhere with the same menu items at the same prices as what we’d received ,and the few plausible restaurants that we called up denied any such order. Reaching out to the app’s customer service was futile, too, since we’d paid in cash, had no order number, and couldn’t even tell them what restaurant had sent the food! We’ve since written off the extra money we spent on our second, unwanted takeaway that night, but at least we’ve got a great, albeit confusing, story to tell!

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