2021, April 7
Photo: Dana Mor
2021, April 6
2021, March 31
They ordered Ice Cream. It has become the new trend in Tel Aviv during the third lockdown. I was very curious which flavours they ordered but it didn’t say. When I reached the door I heard someone say from inside: “He’s here!” She meant me. I left the thermic bag (to keep it cold) of the ice cream at the door as they asked. They would never know that I’m actually a woman. I hope for them that they ordered the pretzel flavour. It’s the best.
2021, March 30
He lived in the building of my Pilatis studio. The code for the door on the order didn’t work. I recognized it – it was the old code. They changed it just a while ago and probably the customer forgot to update it. Luckily I had the new one saved on my phone. I knocked the wrong door at first – it was a lawyers’ office. They directed me to the right one. Then I went to visit the studio on the basement floor. It was of course closed because of the lockdown. It felt like from another lifetime. I haven’t been there for ages.
The box is in my house. It has a weird presence. At first It made me feel guilty for not working more. Like a constant reminder for the fact I can work any moment I choose. It’s a strange thing about this job – having no scheduled hours, no boss, no obligation. It depends only on me. I can work around the clock if I want to, but I don’t. Sometimes I feel the box is looking at me laying on the couch and thinking – oh, you’re so lazy.
With time It has almost become part of my flat, like a monument or some permanent decorative object. By now I’m not sure how I’ll give it back when I finish my work, I feel too attached. I still have a deposit on it though.
2021, March 29
He had the same name as my dad – Udi. Maybe it’s my dad! That could be hilarious I thought. The app doesn’t tell you the address until you pick up the food so that was actually a reasonable possibility. It wasn’t him though. The other Udi lived in a house next to the last guy I dated, it was in the summer, between the lockdowns. After we broke up, I made an effort to pass by his street as much as I could. Then I avoided it completely. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, at least a few months and it felt weird. I had that feeling of wanting to see him and totally not wanting to see him at the same time. Udi lived in a fancy renovated house with a decorated lobby. I really wanted the Shnitzel he ordered.
This delivery somehow managed to take me out of Tel Aviv and deep into Ramat Gan. Surprisingly enough I recognized the area. It was close to the house of a woman I used to teach private English lessons. She had a small tourism business mainly for russians and she wanted to learn how to do small talk. I figured by her name that this customer was also russian. It took me ages to get there and I was disappointed in advance when the app told me that she wanted a no contact delivery. All this effort just to leave this bag in the door? Eventually she did open the door to me and didn’t seem upset as I thought she would be. but I was 20 minutes late so didn’t feel comfortable asking for her photo. I was already really tired from this ride and couldn’t wait to get home. It felt pretty far away.
2021, March 26
The app sent me an alert – New Customer. I wondered – do I need to do anything extra special? Be nicer than usual? Perhaps there is some treat new customers receive? This was not included in the training videos. The woman who opened the door wasn’t the one who ordered. So who was the new customer then? Perhaps it was her mother? The one at the door was just on her way out with her dog. She took the pizza from me and said “it’s good I arrived now just before she left.”
2021, March 2
T. lived on the 27th floor in an area where I’ve never been by foot or bicycle, only passed by in a car or bus. It’s near the train station and the eastern edge of the city overlooking the highway. The building had two separate lobbies – one for offices and one for the apartments. The doorman (yes, apparently some people have a doorman in this city) insisted I call to check if T. doesn’t want to leave the delivery at his desk. Eventually he called and told him “the delivery guy is here”. I didn’t correct him. T. said “yeah bro, it’s the food, let him up”. I got this douchebag vibe from his voice and imagined some spoiled young guy that probably already owns a flat in this fancy ugly building that his parents got him. It seemed I wasn’t far from the truth. When I reached his door I saw he was having a few friends over. I asked if I could take his photo and he said “no way, never!” and more or less slammed the door. He did give me a tip though. But I wanted to get out of there so much, I forgot to take a picture of the view from the 27th floor.
2021, February 19
The customer’s name was weird and so I immediately decided it was some old pervert. It wasn’t a pervert. Not at all. It is indeed a strange thing to be a woman in the world with these fears all the time.
They lived in this refurbished building close to my old apartment and one building next to a bar I really like. It’s been so long since I’ve had a drink in a bar!
The staircase was completely new and very beautiful, some parts of it were still covered as a protection measurement left from the construction site. It was a sunny Friday afternoon and they ordered a large fancy meal with seafood from a restaurant located near the beach. I felt a bit jealous. I called them when I arrived like they asked for in the app but the woman said they’re not home yet so I left it at their door. I met them downstairs as I was leaving. They carried shopping bags from the supermarket, probably some groceries for the weekend. They were a very sweet couple, I guess a bit younger than me. I took their photo and felt a bit jealous again.
I didn’t find the address so I called. He had the same name as me – Rotem. It’s a popular name in Israel for both men and women but it still always feels strange to meet someone who shares your name. Most of the time you manage to still live your life thinking that you’re the only one and it’s almost a disappointment to be confronted with the fact that you aren’t. Rotem waved from a window above. “Hello there nice delivery lady!” he called. It was actually a hotel. He was on his phone but agreed that I’ll take his photo if he can stay with his mask on. I didn’t tell him my name.
2021, February 4
This is my Mom, Orna. I dropped by at her place in the middle of work to surprise her with some of her favourite cheese borekitas. I wanted to cheer her up because she was feeling a bit down with all that has been going on lately and also tired after the second dose of the vaccine. As part of the lockdown restrictions here, you’re not allowed to leave your home for a distance of more than 1 km. Not to mention visiting other people in their homes. As a Wolter though I’m obviously not limited by these rules since I’m considered an “essential worker”. That exception in the law enabled me to do this private food delivery of my own and see my mom although she lives on the other side of town from me. The backpack with the logo on my back offers me a forbidden sense of freedom in the city. It feels good and even a bit mischievous sometimes.
2021, February 1
A. ordered Hummus for lunch. The road to his house was bumpy, some of it under construction. I was hoping not to get a flat tire. The area felt a bit dodgy too and although it was still daylight, I didn’t want to get stuck there with my bicycle. Yet as a complete contrast to the surrounding setting, A opened the door with a surprisingly friendly face and welcoming smile and voice.
2021, January 29
A. ordered a fancy meal with a bottle of wine. He lived in the building next to the restaurant, or at least that’s what the app told me. He asked to call him when it’s ready and before I knew it he appeared across the street. I think he just typed in that address for the delivery, because you can’t order take away yourself during lockdown these days, only through couriers. He wanted me to send him the photo after I took it. I wondered who he was going to share this lovely romantic meal with, I had a feeling it wasn’t just for him.
2021, January 28
They ordered Hummus and Ice tea on a Friday afternoon. In the address comments on the app it said: “We’re sitting in the garden outside, call when you get here and we’ll explain.”
2021, January 27
Adar is an old friend from the army. He’s the first acquaintance I met during my deliveries so far. I keep thinking what would happen if I accidentally arrived at some Ex’s house … so Hadar was a nice surprise. He asked me to put his delivery on the doorstep but I insisted he opened because I already recognised his name and I wanted him to see it was me. He was extremely surprised and also said he never saw a woman Wolter before. After I left I wondered if they gave him the extra Tahini he asked for, cause I forgot to check.
Y. ordered Jachnun on Saturday morning. Jahnun is a traditional Yemenite Jewish pastry, very popular in Israel, especially on the weekend. I didn’t know the place she ordered from and wondered if it was any good. I’m always happy to learn about new places for Jachnun, it’s a very specific munch I get once in a while, and on Saturdays they tend to run out quickly …
2021, January 25
I didn’t even know that we also do flower deliveries and that moved me. Bringing someone flowers on a Friday afternoon. Flowers for the weekend. I feared they would rot and get ruined in my backpack so I put them in my front basket. There was a huge delay at the flower’s shop but I didn’t mind. I was in no hurry. One of the shop’s workers gave me a cabbage flower as a compensation for the wait. “Don’t try to eat it”, she said.
The flowers were a surprise for M, but she wasn’t home so I left them at her door. It’s nice to receive unexpected flowers.
2021, January 21
E. was cool. She ordered her pizza from my favourite pizza place. She lived in a one story house which is quite rare in Tel Aviv. When I asked to take her photo she wanted to make sure it’s not a commercial or some sort of brand promotion. I explained it isn’t and gave her my business card. She said: “Thank you Rotem”. It felt surprisingly nice to hear my name. “Enjoy your meal” I replied. It truly is the best pizza in town.
2021, January 20
M. ordered Spaghetti Bolognese. One of my all time favourites and I really felt like having that too after a long ride. His house was pretty close to the restaurant so it was an easy delivery. I went into the elevator but it didn’t work so I climbed 4 floors. When I reached his floor, I wasn’t sure which door was the right one, but while I was struggling with taking out the food from the huge backpack in the narrow corridor he opened the door. He seemed a bit upset so I didn’t ask for his photo.
2021, January 18
My last delivery on my first day. She was the first to open the door to me though. I was very late with her Mexican food. 30 Minutes late to be exact. I felt it was slowly dying in my backpack. I was sure she’d be mad at me for the delay, but she was actually really happy to see me. It seemed she was having a New Year’s zoom party with a few friends online and was holding her phone so I could see them when she opened the door. “Our Food has arrived!” she said. I thought it was cute she said “our”. I apologised for being late, although I’m not supposed to and asked if I could take her picture.
2021, January 15
2021, January 8
2021, January 4
It seems becoming a food courier is not that easy as I thought! Indeed the hottest job of 2020 – in Tel Aviv there is a waiting list of 15.000 (!) people who wish to join Wolt (the most popular restaurant delivery service in Tel Aviv that happens to sound quite like my surname – Volk).
But after 3 months of waiting and pulling some strings I finally got the job, signed my contract and started my training!
Things I’ve learned so far from the video tutorials:
1) Never ask for a tip
2) Never cross a red light to make a delivery faster
3) Always say thank you, you’re welcome and bon appetite (bete’avon in hebrew)
Logo: Doron Flamm