HelloFresh has apologized to a British man who received a bottle of human urine in a recent order, and if you’d like to stop reading after this sentence, I completely understand. Sometimes you don’t need to know the who, what, when, where, or why. Sometimes just knowing something happened is more than enough.
The recipient of the 20-ounce bottle of pee-pee was Oliver McManus, a boxing writer who just wanted a quick and easy way to enjoy hoisin beef and yogurt-spiced chicken in the comfort of his own home. He received the ingredients for both those dishes, as well as a set of helpful recipe cards and, he stated in a since-deleted tweet, “someone’s bottled up piss.” The tweet included a photo of the free-gift-with-purchase: a plastic Coca-Cola bottle filled nearly to the top with a liquid resembled apple juice, but exponentially worse.
In response to McManus’ tweet, HelloFresh responded, “We truly lack the words to describe how sorry we are because of this. Could you please send us a DM so we could deal with this as soon as possible?” Which I suppose is all they could do, really. If someone called me up and said I’d sent them 20-ounces of fresh human urine, I would also have no idea how to respond.
McManus believes that the wee-wee may have come out of the delivery driver, tweeting “the box wasn’t sealed properly and it [the bottle] was just sort of nestling on the top.” Many of the responses to his tweet mentioned that Hello Fresh’s drivers are subject to substandard working conditions, and thanks to the high volume of orders being delivered during the UK’s current lockdown, many drivers are unable to take bathroom breaks. Though it is purely speculation, McManus and others believe this was such an instance, with the driver resting his improvised urinal on the box while driving and forgetting to dispose of it before dropping off the package.
“The last thing I would want is for anyone to get sacked or in trouble as a result of this incident,” McManus told The Independent. “It is unfortunate that it happened but I’m sure it raises some wider questions about working conditions in the UK.”
HelloFresh has not made any public comments on the wages it pays delivery driver (though Glassdoor can give you a general idea of how well they pay), but did release the following statement:
We are truly horrified and sorry that the customer received the offending item. Given the wholly unacceptable nature, we are urgently investigating, along with our delivery company, how an open box with this bottle in it was delivered.
We have apologised directly to Mr McManus and offered an appropriate good will gesture. We are working hard to do everything we can to ensure that this cannot happen again.