Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Buenos Aires Delivers (Ken)

Almost everyone delivers here: ice cream, pizza, groceries, complete dinners. In the evenings, outside the restaurants, you will see scooters and mopeds with attached insulated boxes where the hot or cold food goes. You can here the loud two-stoke engines of the mopeds scream past my apartment well past midnight.

It is also common to see a mozo leave the cafe with a tray containing cafe con leche, media lunas and jugo de naranja and head down the calle to ring the bell of a nearby apartment building to deliver someone's morning coffee.

The apartment buildings here are all set up for this--at least in Recoleta where I live. There is a panel outside the building--a very attractive one all covered in brass--with the numbers of all the apartments. The delivery guy presses your buzzer and the phone rings in your apartment. He tells you where he is from and you buzz him through the door.

When we first got here, we went to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities. When it was our turn, the cashier asked, "Envios?" Well, we were stumped. Finally, she told us we were in the wrong line and pointed to the other section of registers. It was then that we noticed the signs: "Envios a Domicilio." Fully half--if not more--of the checkouts in the grovery store are for home delivery. Sin Cargo! Without Charge.

They box up your groceries in plastic tubs and drive them, push them, bike them, carry them right to your door. All this without any additional charge--just a $2 tip for the delivery guy.

I have seen deliveries by car, by can, by truck, by moped, by scooter, on foot, on bicycle, and on roller blades, . I even saw a man carry a side of beef down the street on his shoulders to deliver it to the almacén across the street. And just the other day, I saw a man balancing a basket on his head as he walked down Av. Libertador.

(If I ever get enough confidence to use the phone, I might even give the restaurant delivery a try.)


Chas said...

Make it your goal to use the phone before March 22. I will mock you without mercy if you're afraid to make a phone call when I get there.

(This is only pushing the envelope a little: you said the magic number is three months, and I'll arrive only a week shy of that.)

Mia said...

The delivery service started around 1984 I think, maybe a bit earlier. I was more like a delivery business. A place you'd call to order whatever you wanted. They'd send their employees to fetch the things you ordered from the stores you had specified and they'd COD. You could order food, drinks, cigarettes, magazines, whatever. Back then the supermarkets didn't deliver like they do now but, if you lived just a few blocks away, you'd ask one of the store's "cadetes" to push the carriage full of bags for you for a small tip.

Ken, go ahead and call a pizza store and order a pizza. You CAN do it.

Call early, when they aren't busy, and say:

Hola, hablo poco castellano. Me puede enviar una pizza grande napolitana, por favor? Mi dirección es ...

Say your address is Junín 1712, 2º floor, apartment B. You'd say: Mi dirección es Junín uno siete uno dos, segundo piso, departamento B.

If they ask something you don't understand, say "no entiendo, disculpe" and relax. They'll try again. They might ask for your telephone number to confirm the order.

That's it! You can do it. Hey, rehearse a few times, then make the call. If it doesn't go well, hang up and call a different pizzería.

You'll manage, I know you will. And that pizza will be the world's greatest tasting pizza :). Go Ken Go!!! Animate, Kenito, que podés!!!

(I've been trying to send this for over an hour now, but it just sits there. Maybe Blogger is down again...)

Kat Acosta said...

What?! Chas is going to visit?! Oh, I am so envious! I don't even *know* Chas and I am envious! I am pathetic.

Jos said...

Order me some Chinese food! lol

Great post, as always.


Caroline G said...

Mia's right, Ken. It's only a phone call. What's the worst that could happen? They can't see you. Even if they see you the next day on the street, they won't know it's you! If you fail, it's your own little secret!