Friday, May 30, 2014

"Ultra" Discriminatory Sales Practices

The Advoc8te was just made aware of a Washington City Paper article announcing that Ultra, an alcohol delivery service is coming to the District.  

Ultra, which already operates in the New York City area and Chicago, is launching in D.C. this week, and will deliver any amount of booze to someone for a $5 fee. Customers can log on to Ultra's website,, type in their ZIP code, and scroll the beer, wine, and liquor options.
Sounds great right? Well hold your horses if you live east of the river. This new service does not apply to you. The City Paper has the details:

Ultra will deliver alcohol between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m, which means no late-night delivery. For now, Ultra says it will only deliver to certain areas, including much of Northwest, Capitol Hill, the Southwest waterfront, and H Street NE—and not, say, east of the Anacostia River. Shah says Ultra won't offer service where delivery people would "feel that the area is not safe for them."

I can't even say this is a surprise. It feels like the last 3 major "convenience" services all included some caveat about not servicing wards 7 and 8 -- all under the auspices of safety or lack of demand. At what point will D.C. residents, business owners, and our local government stand up and speak out AGAINST this discriminatory practice of not servicing east of the river? This is the nation's capital for goodness sakes! We should be setting the example of economic and social inclusion!

Just how "convenient"and "ground breaking" are these new amneties when they refuse to service at least 25% of the DC population? I don 't know about you but that doesn't feel very "one city" to me. So despite "expanding" to the DC market -- and more than happy to deliver to President Obama in NW - Ultra really doesn't see the need to service Mayor Vincent Gray in Ward 7. I can't be sure but  I have a feeling that Mayor Gray feels very safe in Ward 7 and enjoys an occasional beer after a hard day at the office.

Why do we have to continue to embarrass and shame these companies into doing the right thing? Why is it okay for a company to say IN A PRESS RELEASE that they won't deliver east of the river? 

At what point will the public and private sector see the value and importance (for all DC residents) to invest in Wards 7 and 8 (other than with more affordable and transitional housing) with a comparable level of commitment, quality, and speed as west of the river?

It seems that more than a river divides us and there is nothing "ultra" about that.

Do your part. Ask for a "last call" for Ultra in DC until they decide that their expansion should include ALL OF DC and not just the parts they pick and choose. You can tweet them at @orderultra

Now let's drink to that! 


Dionne Brown said...

On the upside, I have three liquor stores within two blocks of my house (which I do not patronize). Most residents EOTR have too much access to alcoholic beverages and not enough of products and services that will make their neighborhoods more livable. The Council and mayor reinforce social and economic inequities by policy more often than they do not. Businesses just follow suit.

Genora Reed said...

Im totally fine with them not delivery to our neighborhood. I really appreciate their honesty so I won't give my money to them nor will any other EOTR resident. I rather give my money to someone who values me and my community. Again, they're honestly is truly appreciated. We really don't need more liquor stores or options of that such in our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Gotta agree with Ms Brown....

Anonymous said...

It's not about the service they are providing and wether it's wanted in the neighborhood. It's the fact that a service is not being available. The fact that a company can say we will provide pour service there because it's unsafe is not a good thing and sets a bad precedent. Where does it stop what if Dominos says we will not deliver in SE because it's unsafe. The commenters here would be in an uproar. Additionally, where does the community and council members step and say we need to fix this, if a company says it's unsafe and they won't do business in the area we need to fix this. I ask where does it end and when do we has a community, city and society say enough is enough?

The Advoc8te said...

My point exactly Anonymous 10:13am!

We should not have to pick and choose what is "fair" we are either worthy of the DC moniker or not.

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean about the discrimination and all but I don't think you're losing much here. Do you really want a liquor delivery service in your neighborhood? Is that supporting the health goals? Now if it was something that the neighborhood was in dire need of like fresh food options then sure protest away. But unfortunately there are more than enough liquor stores east of the river.

What really needs to happen is some legislation that stops the practice of discrimination in the District by vendors. There needs to be a law that says if a business wants to come to DC they must service all 8 wards or the answer is "No thanks". Now THAT'S a worthy protest.