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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Zomato’s mic drop: The revolution will be tweeted and home-delivered

At 8.26pm on July 30, one Amit Shukla took to Twitter when he faced one of the deepest cuts that the brave new Indian internet can deliver — a cancellation fee.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2019 22:43 IST
Deepanjana Pal
Deepanjana Pal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Zomato won the war on the internet this morning with its tweet.
Zomato won the war on the internet this morning with its tweet. (Photo: Twitter)
         

Every now and then, the internet throws up something that offers hope and reassurance that the bots will not take over the world. Today, this beacon of hope came in the form of a response on Twitter.

At 8.26pm on July 30, one Amit Shukla took to Twitter when he faced one of the deepest cuts that the brave new Indian internet can deliver — a cancellation fee.

We know that he has since recovered from this blow since he’s more interested now in finding out whether it’s a Mahindra Scorpio in the episode of Man vs Wild featuring the Indian Prime Minister, but for a while there, it was Shukla versus the Indian internet.

Watch | ‘Maybe because I’m a Muslim...’: Zomato rider recounts ordeal

When he tweeted out to his 900-odd followers on July 30 that the delivery app Zomato was doing him wrong by “forcing us to take deliveries from people we don’t want”, Shukla received a barrage of criticism for demanding Zomato take off the Muslim rider assigned to his order and assign a Hindu rider instead.

According to the screenshot Shukla tweeted, Zomato ignored his explanation of “I don’t need a delivery from a muslim fellow (sic)” and informed him what the fee would be if he cancelled his order. Shukla appears to have imagined the beginning of an economic boycott with his tweet.

In 2016, Snapdeal did drop actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador after it faced the wrath of the online brigade. But to add insult to cancellation fee and no home delivery, Zomato won the war on the internet this morning with its tweet.

At the time of writing this, Shukla’s tweet had received 1.1 thousand likes and 392 retweets since last night. Zomato, in two hours, has got 5.5 thousand retweets and 13.5 thousand likes. Perhaps Shukla can take comfort in his follower count going up to 1,055.

Zomato’s response is worth applauding because it is not formulaic and not from a script. This was human intelligence at work. There was no request to “kindly share your order number so that we can look into this” or promises to “serve you better with the next order”.

Instead, Zomato reacted with the ultimate sign of human evolution: Wit. By opting for humour and the façade of flippancy, the company has managed to avert the possibility of this escalating the way the Snapdeal vs Hindutva case did.

However, it’s done so without downplaying the serious and toxic subtext of Shukla’s demand. With its succinct response, Zomato managed to simultaneously steer clear of and address the underlying bigotry that comes from imagining it is discrimination to be have one’s food delivered by “a muslim fellow”.

Take heart, Indian internet. The revolution will be tweeted and home-delivered.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 13:42 IST

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