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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Customer cancels Zomato food order over religion, gets a taste of tolerance

It all began when Jabalpur-based Amit Shukla complained to Zomato about how the service had “allocated a non-Hindu rider” to deliver his order.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: August 1, 2019 7:08:54 am
zomato user racist tweet, zomato food delivery, zomato food delivery app racist tweet, india news “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion,” the company tweeted. (Illustration by Suvajit Dey)

A CUSTOMER in Jabalpur who cancelled his food order after he found it was being delivered by a non-Hindu got some food for thought — and bared open a divide.

Winning the Internet was Zomato’s response to the man who had cancelled his order on the app-based food delivery service, because the delivery person was a Muslim. “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion,” the company tweeted in response to the man’s complaint of the delivery person’s religion, and demand for a refund.

The company’s CEO, Deepinder Goyal, weighed in with a tweet. “We are proud of the idea of India — and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values,” he wrote.

Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram said in a tweet: “I’ve not ordered food so far but I think I will do so now from Zomato.” Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi was equally appreciative of the food aggregator’s stand: “Salute Deepinder Goyal! You are the real face of India! Proud of you.”

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Respect. I love your app. Thank you for giving me a reason to admire the company behind it.”

It all began when Jabalpur-based Amit Shukla complained to Zomato about how the service had “allocated a non-Hindu rider” to deliver his order. Shukla added that the company said “they can’t change rider and can’t refund on cancellation”. Infuriated with the cancellation charges, the man threatened the service with legal action.

“@ZomatoIN is forcing us to take deliveries from people we don’t want else they won’t refund and won’t cooperate I am removing this app and will discuss the issue with my lawyers,” the user tweeted.

Shukla also shared a conversation with the company’s helpdesk, which had wanted to know what the issue with the rider was. “We have Shrawan and I don’t need a delivery from a Muslim fellow,” he wrote in the conversation.

Zomato responded that the cancellation after the delivery person has picked the order would cost the user Rs 237. The user alleged that the company blocked him from accessing the details of his order on the site.

Meanwhile, Faiyaz, the food delivery executive, said he was hurt by the customer’s refusal. “Yes, I feel hurt. What can I say? We are poor, we have to suffer,” he said.

Shukla, however, stuck to his stand. “Do my freedom of expression and religion not fall under the idea of India?” he asked a news channel.
Similar Twitter storms have engulfed several companies before. Last year, after a VHP member tweeted about cancelling an Ola cab ride because of a Muslim driver, the company issued a statement reiterating that it is a secular platform and against discrimination. Twitter users mocked the VHP member’s tweet with their own versions of “canceled an Ola Cab booking today because…”

Food e-commerce has grown tremendously in recent years. A recent study by Unomer showed that the penetration of food delivery apps in tier-2 cities was higher than metros when expressed as a proportion of the smartphone users.

On Wednesday, however, along with all the praise were two hashtags that were trending late in the day: #BoycottZomato and #IStandWithAmit.

With PTI in Jabalpur

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