We don’t know each other. But you used to send me boxes of food. Sometimes we didn’t really want one so we paused your deliveries, but we forgot about the pause, and you were so quick with sending new deliveries that, well, we kept getting boxes.
But then… Not once but a couple of times, I noticed mold on your products.
We started paying more attention to the recipes, too. We realized how very frequently, very cheap ingredients like cabbage or eggs were used for multiple recipes.
We decided to quit.
You made that hard, Maartje. Hard. (I almost cried.)
This is going to be technolingo but: the conversion funnel from subscriber to non-subscriber took me through five different screens. Four times, I needed to confirm, yes, I want to quit, no, I don’t want a bonus, a pause, a free pass, a month of fungus-free food.
I want to quit, thank you.
But finally, we succeeded. God almighty, did we rejoice!
But you turned out to be a bit of an evil ex, Maartje. Very evil.
You got your goons and your girlfriends and your dad to call me. And call me again. And email me. And email me again. I marked you as spam. (Sorry Maartje, but you should know when it’s over.)
And then you called me again. I explained to your boyfriend I NEVER wanted to hear from HelloFresh again. Ever. So, while on the phone, I got patched through to a “signing off option”, mandatory by Dutch law, and blacklisted my phone number. Which I had done before, but, no matter.
And then you called. Again.
And then you came through my superduperstrong spam filters and emailed me again.
I became slightly frustrated. So I sent out a tweet to you. You didn’t respond. I sent out another tweet:
(That’s right, I called you foodJehovas. So there.)
Finally, you got in touch with me. (after Teun van de Keuken, a well known Dutch critic of food practices, retweeted my tweet)
Your uncle told me you needed my email address to remove me from the system. I giggled. He said he would remove me anyway.
And now, little over three months later, your brother just called me.
You’re back, Maartje. You’re back. And it’s fucked up.
You just called me. Again.
And I cried. You did it. You broke me.
I started running the streets. But I saw your boys and girls at the supermarket.
I passed my gym. Your high school friends were there. Smiling. Asking me to subscribe.
Now, I could rant about customer service. About respecting someone’s choices, someone’s privacy. About following MANDATORY legal procedures in the Netherlands. About how what you’re doing is bad for your business.
But it’s not, is it? I just learned that you’re valued at 2.6 billion dollars. You’re even related to Antony Zalando, that other powerful “delivery family”?
So you push us around, disrespect our boundaries and you take our lunch money.
Well, enough is enough is roughly 2.6 billion dollars.
I’m coming, Maartje.
You see, I have a phone book. A big, thick phone book. I am going to look up your number. I’m going to call you. Ask you if you want to talk to me about, I don’t know, maffia in the 21st century. (But you could always hang up!)
The week after, I’m going to call again.
I’m going to stand in front of your door.
You’ll probably call the police, right?
Well, you’re right, and I’m sorry, I took things too far.
I guess I’ll move, then.
But maybe your nieces and nephews, your aunts and uncles have some ideas? You’re all connected on Facebook, right? I’ll just go to their workplace. No biggie.
I know this may sound scary.
But should you want me to stop, just can always just opt out by sending an email to: weareveryscarypeopleandweworkforfoodjehovaHellofresh@gmail.com.
It’s super easy.
Talk soon, Maartje!
Talk very, very soon.
Update January 26: There has been quite a sizable response both here, on Twitter and on Facebook, and roughly 290K reads. It seems the problem is more widespread than I expected. Perhaps the behemoth in the background, Rocket Internet, is taking note.
Should they be interested in taking genuine steps forward, I advise them to start by listening to this 92Y talks podcast (video below) between Thomas Friedman and Dov Seidman, speaking about sustainable economics versus situational economics and the economy of the heart.
Update 2: This post has gone viral with over 400K reads, RTL, NOS, HP De Tijd, Quote, Zondag met Lubach, Belgian and German press picking up the story. That has been a mixed blessing. More on that — in Dutch — here and here.
Update 3: Did you like this piece? Consider a BTC donation for my independent voice at: 1GL5Z5ZK1bLWF7pnjjmYh9fhkJzcdKX8jf