‘Draw me a tiger’ – China’s food delivery drivers show their versatility as customers push the boundaries

Instructions with food orders include bizarre and personal requests, sometimes even relegating the takeaway to secondary importance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 5:03pm

China’s famed food delivery services can provide anything by scooter via a quick phone order, from bubble tea to hotpot to McDonald’s – and, it seems, more personal requests.

In 2016, about 256 million Chinese used online food services, which by last September covered 1,300 cities, with the market estimated to be worth more than 240 billion yuan (US$37 billion).

But some are not just using it to satisfy their food cravings. Various weird and wacky demands sent to food delivery staff have been brought to light in an article shared on social messenger app WeChat on Monday, from killing insects to drawing cartoons on delivery bags.

“Please find a delivery boy who can kill bugs,” read the instruction accompanying an order for a noodle dish and vegetables on June 1. “Really, this is no joke, it’s an emergency. There is a big bug on the ceiling and we dare not hit it ourselves. Please delivery boy.”

According to the WeChat article, a woman named Mou was at home in Dalian, northeast China, at 11pm when she spotted the bug and decided the only way to get rid of it late at night was to order a takeaway.

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“It wasn’t important what we ate; the point was that the delivery boy could kill insects,” she was quoted as saying.

The 22-year-old delivery driver, Mao Liang, said it was not the first time he had had an unusual request in his year of doing the work.

Other customers had asked him to buy cigarettes and alcohol on his way to deliver their food, but this was the first time a demand had centred on a bug.

Pictures show him trying to hit it on the ceiling, but it is not clear whether he succeeded.

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In another receipt, dated October 16, a forlorn lover wrote: “I am heartbroken from a break-up, please can you draw me a tiger?”

A third, from April 2017, made special requests of the driver. “Need a handsome delivery boy,” it read. “Must be handsome! Otherwise I won’t have an appetite.”

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Some were slightly ominous. “You need to come very quietly. If you come across security guards we could be caught and punished, so you must be quiet!” a receipt from March 30 read. “Don’t need onions, just a little bit of spice,” it added at the end.

Others involved helping to deliver a gesture. “I am her boyfriend. We had an argument and she won’t eat. Please help me to send this to her, thank you,” a receipt read.

On it, the delivery driver had written “forgive him!” alongside a smiley face.