That Time We Almost Invented Seamless

The world could have been our oyster.

Paul Greenberg

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C.J. Burton courtesy of Getty Images

Greece. The Island of Sifnos. September 1990. Five recent college graduates and one former member of the British gentry sit in a daze around an outdoor table, shaded from the blazing late fall sun by a withering grape vine. In front of us a pile of napkins soiled by humus and tzadziki. Hands are wrung as all consider an imminent return to the United States and the prospect of either waiting tables or temping.

That’s when the IDEA was born.

Rich and Lazy. That says it all. They can’t be bothered with the takeout menus. And why should they be?

“The thing is,” David began, “rich people don’t want to go through all those take out menus in their drawers.”

“Yes,” echoed Jeanne, a woman who knew well the ways of wealth. “They can’t be bothered.”

“They’re very lazy,” her daughter Cusi added.

Yes, we all agreed. The rich are very lazy. And so, what about a company called “Rich and Lazy”?

“That’s exactly right,” David continued. “Rich and Lazy. That says it all. They can’t be bothered with the takeout menus. And why should they be? No, that’s why they need us. Imagine a single phone number. They call us. We have all the menus. They call us up and they say, ‘I feel like something spicy.’ And we take it from there.”

“How about Mexican?” Greg suggested.

“Or Indian?” Molly added.

“Yes, yes!” David agreed.

“But it’s important,” Jeanne interposed, “that we also have an option for when they can’t decide. Because, you know, oftentimes the rich are so lazy they can’t decide.”

“What would that option be?”

“The house special lentils,” Jeanne said with resolve. “But would there be a surcharge?”

“Yes. A large surcharge,” David said.

“Even for the house lentils?”

“Especially for the house lentils.”

Notes are taken on crumpled napkins. Hands are put to chins.

“Now who would deliver this all?” Jeanne asked. “We can’t have the restaurants do it. We’d never get our commission.”

“True,” said David. “And it would be important that they not know our identity. If they find that out, the jig is up.”

“Should we be in costume?” Asked Cusi.

“Yes, green spandex,” David confirmed. “And a mask. We would swoop in with the food and disappear in the night. It would be like a miracle. And they would admire us.”

And that was how it all began. Six unemployed people, a pile of napkins. Faceless delivery people in green spandex outfits, swooping down and bilking restaurants, rich and lazy all in one fell swoop.

All that was missing was the internet…

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org