No respect for Vietnam

No Respect for Vietnam

This is an unfortunate experience I had a couple days ago. I was sitting in my new favorite coffee shop (Cong Caphe) when a Vietnamese Grab driver sent me this message:

“You no respect for Vietnam. No respect for Vietnamese culture. You are a disgusting man.”

And, this is why (I think) I received that message…

I recently discovered that Grab offers food delivery. This was the first time in my life I tried ordering food online.

It was 11:43 pm. I was extremely hungry. So, I gave it a try and ordered a simple meal of chicken and rice from a nearby store.

The total was 48 000 VND ($2.70 CAD) with a 15 000 VND delivery fee ($0.85CAD).

I waited 27 minutes for the driver to place my order and deliver my food. When he arrived, he didn’t have the right change to break my 500 000 VND so he put me on the back of his bike, drove down the rode, bought a pack of cigarettes, and gave me the change I needed.

I tipped about 10 000 VND ($0.56 CAD) for my meal and returned to my apartment to eat.

It was a good experience.

A couple days later, with my stomach grumbling, I decided I would give GrabFood a second try.

If you’re in Hanoi, GrabFood is kind of limited in selection. At least, from my perspective. When you open the app, you have all kinds of drink options and very limited food choices. On top of that, there’s no way to filter choices or search for specific types of food.

However, putting the limitations of the app aside, there are a few places to find a meal. So, I ordered whatever was available.

I’m not too selective when it comes to the food I eat. If its cheap, puts a bit of nutrition in my body, I’m a happy man.

So, I ordered another chicken and rice meal with a side salad. This time the charge was 100 000 VND ($5.63) with a 25 000 VND ($1.41 CAD) delivery fee.

After I submitted my order, I received a message from the driver telling me he’s on his way to order. I watched from the app and saw that he didn’t move at all. In fact, he never drove to the restaurant and I waited 10 minutes before I received the next message.

“I called restaurant. They closed. No food. Please cancel the order.”

That’s odd. The day before I tried ordering food and after I put in my order, the driver arrived to the restaurant to find that it was closed. He canceled my order and the store was no longer available in the app.

I sent a message to the driver.

“I don’t understand the problem. The store is open in the app. Can you please place my order? If not, please cancel and mention that the store is closed on your end.”

The driver replied.

“No. You must cancel. Your food not available. I call. Not available. You cancel now.”

We began arguing like a couple of pre-schoolers about who should cancel the order. As far as I understand, if I cancelled my order, I would get hit with hire fees the next time I used the app. Even though another 10 000 to 20 000 VND ($0.56 CAD to $1.13 CAD) per order isn’t much, I didn’t want to cancel because of a driver who may or may not have actually tried to place my order.

This is when things got weird.

I watched the GPS and the driver came to my location and Cong Caphe.

Oh, fuck…

I saw him pull up in front of the cafe. He sat on his bike and began bombarding me with messages.

“You call restaurant. You see. They no have food. You cancel order. Come out now.”

I waited. Watched. Said not a word.

“I wait you now. Come out and I call for you. You cancel order.”

Another 5 minutes passed then the driver got tired of waiting and entered the cafe. He found me on the second floor. He waved his phone in my face and told me to cancel the order.

I explained that I don’t have to cancel. On my end, the order is good. The store is open. Therefore, the food must be available. I told him he could cancel the order and probably mention that the store was closed.

He left, went downstairs, then returned with the cafe staff to help explain the situation.

“Uhm, sir, he says there is no food so you should cancel the order.”

At this point, I had a haunch as to what was going on. The driver wanted me to cancel the order because he didn’t want his account to be affected by poor delivery. From what I understand, these apps penalize its drivers if you cancel on the users (i.e. the people willing to spend their money).

I asked, “why should I cancel the order.”

I gave the driver a fair chance to explain the situation to me, in complete honesty.

“There no food. You cancel order.”

The pre-schooler debate continued.

I knew the guy wasn’t going to be open and honest about his situation. I watched as he became nervous then agitated then upset.

I sat and waited to get punched in the face or stabbed in the back but it didn’t happen.

The driver stormed out of the cafe and went back to his bike. He drove off and went to a major intersection to play the you-cancel-no-you-cancel tennis match some more.

I stood my ground. I gave him many chances to plead his case. To be honest with me. Then, I struck a cord…

“I cannot cancel. I cancel too many orders. My account not good. If I cancel, I cannot find work. I no want to cancel. So you cancel.”

I was busy working at a project at this time. So, I didn’t respond to this message right away. At this point, we’re 47 minutes into an order I was never going to receive.

When I checked my phone again, I saw this:

“You go eat at [NAME OF RESTAURANT]. They give big food. I know you hungry. You want food. Order food you rich foreigners like.”

Nice. Finally. I’m a rich foreigner. If only my bank accounts said the same! Anyway… the messages continued…

“You no respect for Vietnam. No respect for Vietnamese culture. You are a disgusting man.”

Then, he cancelled the order.


I decided to out to Grab Support about my experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Disclaimer: I add the bolded text to emphasize key phrases and removed sensitive or personal information because, well, you don’t need to know it.

Dear Mr. Jef Van de Graaf, 

Firstly, we would like to say thank you for choosing Grab to be with you on your journeys as well as spending time to send us this feedback.

We have received your query about the unhappy situation on GrabFood booking [ID NUMBER REMOVED] and we are really sorry for that inconvenience. We are aware that all the above got you in a predicament and we are ashamed to have inconvenienced you in such a way.

Please rest assured that we would reprimand the driver and have proper sanction strictly imposed on driver for his wrong doings. We would also escalate this matter to the Drivers Management Team for them to look further into the case and contemplate a retraining course. Preventive actions should be carried out in order for the same incident not to recur as customers’ safety and satisfaction is always our top priorities running this service.

Should you require further assistance in this matter, please simply reply to this email. For any other inquiries, please kindly refer to the Help Centre on your Grab application for more information.

Thank you for choosing Grab as your companion on all your rides. We wish you all the best.

Regards,

[NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE REMOVED]
Customer Experience Associate
Grab VietNam


My response:

Thank you for responding, [NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE]. I really appreciate your thoughtful and concerning response. 

I understand that now is Tet and some restaurants may or may not be open or have all the menu items available. However, I’m not sure how things work on the driver’s end, but I was trying to be sympathetic about the situation. 

In my experience, when other restaurants are closed, the driver canceled the order and I was unable to reorder at that restaurant. That was completely understandable to me. 

However, this driver continued to insist that I should cancel because it would affect his driver rating/ability to receive consistent work. He drove to the cafe where I was waiting for food to confront me and demand that I cancel the order. 

I’m a very understanding an sympathetic person. If he would have shown me that on his end there are no choices to explain “Why he canceled” then maybe I would consider canceling. 

Do you have options for driver’s to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances? I would hope you do. Because it would be cruel and unfair to cause bad ratings and review for some things on GrabFood to cause trouble for an innocent driver. 

Anyway, I just want to bring this to your attention and help me clarify if this issue occurs again. I have used GrabFood a previous time and had a good experience with a driver delivering food late at night. 

It was this situation where I saw the desperation of a local driver making decisions because MAYBE he was fearful and upset about having to cancel and requesting that I cancel so that his account doesn’t get affected. 

That’s all. Thank you again for your time and if you need anything more from me to clarify the situation, please let me know. 

_
Jef


This was the response I received:

Dear Mr. Jef Van de Graaf, 

Thank you for writing in to Grab.

In Grab, we do respect and appreciate all of customers’ feedbacks. The most important criteria for our services is bringing to customers the fastest, safest and most comfortable trips, any driver who violates our rules will be subjected to strict penalties..

In this case, we will really appreciate if you let us take responsibility to work and sternly remind this driver about his bad attitude to customer. You can trust that we will do anything to ensure this kind of situation will never be repeated.

Please rest assured that we would reprimand the driver and have proper sanction strictly imposed on driver for his wrong doings. We would also escalate this matter to the Drivers Management Team for them to look further into the case and contemplate a retraining course. Preventive actions should be carried out in order for the same incident not to recur as customers’ safety and satisfaction is always our top priorities running this service.

We really hope that you would accept our sincere apologies for all the unwanted inconvenience and that you would give us more chance to serve you better in the future.

Should you require further assistance in this matter, please simply reply to this email. For any other inquiries, please kindly refer to the Help Centre on Grab website/ application for more information.

Thank you for contacting Grab. Wish you all the best. 

Yours sincerely,

[NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE REMOVED]
Customer Experience Associate
Grab VietNam


Concluding thoughts:

Overall, I think Grab is a stellar app. Although their Food Delivery app should have some better features to browse local choices (i.e. filter by distance or by category type), I like the convenience and service they provide.

In regards to my experience with this driver, I have to ask myself…

Do I have no respect for Vietnam or Vietnamese culture?

What do you think? (Leave a comment below)

Jef van de Graaf
Canadian Copywriter & World Traveler
Business | Travel Blog | Connect

SUBSCRIBE TO STORIES

Sign up to my monthly newsletter for more thoughts, experiences, and feelings as I work, travel, and live around the world.



Write your thoughts...