You depend on those home deliveries – so stop being so British about tipping | Stefan Stern

Now that we can’t go to the shops, the shops have come to us. But they don’t get here all by themselves

Where I live the most dangerous place to stand right now is in the hallway, when there’s a knock at the door and someone (not me, clearly) is expecting a delivery. Lockdown life is lived at constant risk of being trampled by eager online shoppers about to receive a parcel. One of the somewhat unexpected consequences of the pandemic has been the surge in the volume of packages, goods and meals arriving at our doors throughout the day. The postman always rings twice, but he’s a mere beginner compared with DPD, Yodel, Deliveroo, DHL, UPS …

If we cannot go to the shops the shops will have to come to us. And so they have, thanks to the thousands of new drivers and couriers who have emerged to provide this service through parcel companies and platforms. These are hardly secure or well-paid jobs, of course. Rather, it is often a form of bogus “self-employment”, with the drivers – rather than companies they serve – providing their own vehicle, fuel, insurance and so on. Don’t be surprised if they don’t always smile like on the ads.

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