Favor delivery service can bring your next meal (and pet) straight to your door

Caley Berg

Personal assistants were once reserved for the elite. Picture Meryl Streep with sunglasses inside, demanding room temperature water from interns shaking in their knock-off designer boots. Well, thanks to a little company called Favor who understands the “time is money” mentality, you can be the devil who wears Prada.

My first encounter with Favor left me astonished, seriously amused and frantically Googling what to feed a gerbil.

On a rainy Thursday afternoon, I find myself ordering experimental vegan food at my eccentric friend Ally’s apartment. Ally is complaining about how she always has to use Favor to order food when the streets are wet because she doesn’t feel safe driving her motor scooter.

“Damn it. I forgot I needed cat food from Petco too. Do you mind if we just order the food from Favor so they can pick up my cat food too? I’d feel like an ass eating in front of my cat while he’s hungry,” Ally asks sincerely.

Confused, I interrogate my friend about this “Favor Delivery” app. Launched in Austin during the summer of 2013, Favor employs a small workforce of tuxedo T-shirt clad employees. Within two years, Favor has expanded to an impressive 14 additional cities. Favor was voted the Austin Chronicle’s Best New App. It is also featured in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Apparently, you simply sign up with your phone number and payment information, and ta-da! A personal assistant is instantly at your fingertips nearly 24-7.

The idea seems so brilliantly obvious.

“This can’t be realistically implemented,” I tell Ally. “How do they have someone on call in your area at all times?”

“They haven’t let me down so far,” she says. 

Located mostly in college towns, Favor employs many students with flexible schedules. Often ordering food delivered at odd hours, college students are both Favor’s supply and demand.

I watch Ally enter her phone number and then a simple description of her favor. 

“I wonder if they ever get really weird requests,” she says. An idea obviously occurs to her, and she furiously starts typing away.

Ally has been concerned for a period of time that her cat is depressed without having a mate around the house. She explains to me that the apartment is too small for an additional cat, but a gerbil would be a nice addition to the community.

Without thinking, she types “fat gerbil” under the order description for Petco and presses send.

We both sit in stunned silence for a while, processing the logistics of the transaction that just occurred. Is this legal? Is this ethical? Can we trust a stranger to select the prettiest, most talented gerbil? If yes, what other assets can we acquire through Favor? 

After 45 painfully slow minutes pass, a plump, healthy, living, breathing gerbil is delivered to the Avenue A apartments.

I am reeling from the fact that an actual person checked their phone, went to Petco, purchased a gerbil, brought it to a random apartment, and got paid, no questions asked. This might be the most shadily conducted, yet innocent, transaction to ever occur.

Shortly after acquainting ourselves with the gerbil, Ally realizes we must drive to Petco anyway, as she has forgotten to order a cage to put him in.

It’s official. You don’t have to visit the store anymore to buy your pets. You can order your pet off your iPhone. 2015: what a time to be alive.

We live in a time in which instant gratification is at our fingertips. The corporations that are thriving are the ones that are acutely aware of their customers’ demands. We ask our companies, “What can you do for me? How can you do this cheaper and faster than any other company?”

Favor, Uber and, even, Domino’s are a few of the enterprises that are successfully adapting their business models to suit society’s need for easy, instant gratification. Uber’s appearance in Austin was viewed as an innovative solution to a city with a growing population and little means to adapt quickly.

If you think having a personal driver is radical, how about a personal assistant? Favor is the epitome of how far businesses are willing to go to serve their clientele’s needs. If we want an online rodent delivery service, they’ll provide an online rodent delivery service.

Observant entrepreneurs know their customers are lazy and prone to attachment issues with their smart phones.

Domino’s recently released a commercial revealing it is now possible to order a pizza using a pizza emoji. After saving an “easy order” with your name and delivery information on the Domino’s website once, you can text a pizza emoji to confirm that your pre-saved order be delivered to your location.

Hopefully, with all this free time on our hands, society will be able to make leaps and bounds forward. Now free from the strain of driving to the store to buy a pet and interacting with another human to order a pizza, we all have time to perfect our Meryl Streep impersonations.