By Uhanthaen Ravilojan
David Haberfield cleared his throat while making eye contact with each person at the table for exactly 2.76 seconds—an attention-grabbing technique he learned from the book Lead the Pack! How to Supercharge your Charisma and Unlock your Inner Warrior—before starting the speech he had rehearsed for three hours the night before. He did so while he and his friends drank at Sneaky Dee’s, interrupting one of them while they were venting about their recent breakup.
“Imagine a world where you didn’t have to worry about grocery shopping or deciding what to cook tonight,” the third-year entrepreneurship student said. “Imagine a simpler world where recipes and ingredients are shipped to you every day, so you can eat healthy without having to give up hours of your life.”
His friends were flummoxed. Fourth-year business management student Dennis Ng paced the cramped hallway to the bathroom, confused about what was just said to the table.
“That’s HelloFresh. His idea is basically HelloFresh. Does he think he can just compete with an already established business? Or has he never heard of HelloFresh? And if so, how? Has he never listened to a podcast? Had he Googled it?” said Ng.
Haberfield hadn’t Googled it. Instead, he spent his time fantasizing about his future as a successful entrepreneur. He imagined running into his middle school bully at a bar.
Haberfield liked to think that instead of tastelessly bragging about his success, he’d demonstrate his good nature by being friendly and forgiving his former tormentor.
He imagined slapping his bully on the back, asking if he remembered him, and introducing him to the boyfriend Haberfield would undoubtedly have at that point—probably someone who’s attractive in a goofy-chemistry-teacher way, like Thomas Middleditch, who’d find his habit of not flossing his teeth endearing.
“It’s great to see you again, Josh,” he’d say. “No hard feelings about you pantsing me while I was performing my dubstep beatbox routine for the talent show, revealing the special hypoallergenic underpants I wore for my sensitive loins. Yeah, I have a bit of money now, but honestly I’d love to do what you’re doing. Running the official Black Diamond Cheese Twitter sounds awesome.”
Sanjay Raj, a third-year computer science student, said he suspects Haberfield only befriended him for his programming expertise.
“Entrepreneurship students always approach me with their ideas, saying ‘It’s like Uber for grocery shopping,’ ‘It’s like Netflix for life insurance,’ ‘It’s like Grindr for heart surgery,’” said Raj. “I’m more than just a programmer. I’m writing a Texan Gothic romance novel, why don’t people ask me about that?”
Raj feels that the flood of HelloFresh and GoodFood clones are clumsy attempts to capitalize on the obvious.
Everyone already knows that the burning desire of HelloFresh’s target market—educated, image-obsessed 25 to 32-year-old professionals with busy lifestyles and loads of disposable income—is to have a tight butt that they can display in trendy Italian dress pants so the jowly chief executive of the Bay Street company they work at will see them and say “Gadzooks! That man’s bum is taut like a balloon! Promote him immediately!”
These HelloFresh clones trying to break into the “yuppies with low BMIs” market aren’t doing anything original.
“I’m fed up with David,” said Ng. “Honestly, what would his mother think?”
At 15, Haberfield’s mother crumpled on the bathroom floor with a tear-soaked face and a positive pregnancy test. She was soon shunned and cast out by her religiously conservative parents and abandoned by her asshole boyfriend.
She endured countless rejections from employers and landlords who thought a teen mom would be a “liability.” Her gumption got her a job at a dive bar, where she worked three times as hard as everyone else to earn their respect. After five years, she worked her way up to senior manager. After 10, she ran a chain of bars. She gave up sleep to give her son the opportunity she never had, the unconditional love she never received.
All this for her son to pitch a business that’s basically goddamn HelloFresh.