Grubwithus Allows You to Pay to Eat With Strangers Without Difficulty


Do you hate your friends and would rather eat with a bunch of strangers instead of them? Would you like to shell out thirty dollars to do so? There’s a new application called Grubwithus which is built just for you. Basically, it lists a bunch of meals organized by people using the service, for which there are a number of spots available. If, say, you’re looking for a way to avoid your friends on June 9th, you can buy a ticket to eat at 4food in Murray Hill for $17. Per the Times, Grubwithus “is using contemporary techniques to foster a kind of social networking that predates the dawn of services like Facebook and Twitter: old-fashioned conversation among casual acquaintances, without keyboards and screens.” Or you could always just meet people out somewhere in real life and eventually invite them out to dinner; that remains an option.

Grubwithus has apparently attracted $1.6 million in venture capitalists with the concept of “social dining,” which, lest we forget, is not a new concept. Any dining that happens in the company of others is social dining.

Anyway, what are your other options for meeting strangers, besides the obvious (Grindr)? There’s also a scary thing called Sonar which alerts you to the presence of people who have mutual Facebook, Twitter, or foursquare connections with you.

When I recently turned on the application and checked into a movie theater in Manhattan, it pinged me — letting me know that a guy named Joe and I shared several Facebook friends, and that Joe was lingering nearby. I was given the option of messaging Joe to see if he wanted to organize a quick meeting. I skipped the offer because I was late to see the thriller “Hanna,” but, given the right mix of circumstances and curiosity, it might have been a great way to spend an hour or two.

Mightn’t it be a tad awkward, though, to go up to this guy Joe (Joe Coscarelli, is this you?) and say, “Hey Joe, my Sonar alerted me to your presence. I see we have mutual Facebook friends. Let’s hang out”?

All of this is really well-intentioned. It’s good to preserve regular IRL connectivity in our lives. However, must we have apps in order to facilitate every kind of face-to-face interaction? How many apps can we possibly still handle? Breaking this down:

  • IRL > Online
  • Eating with friends > Eating with strangers
  • Saying nothing at all > “Hey Joe, my Sonar alerted me to your presence. I see we have mutual Facebook friends. Let’s hang out.”
  • Striking up a conversation with a friendly-seeming person > Retrieving this person’s information via a mobile app in order to deduce facts about them before saying anything

In other words, everyone just be friendly not-awkward and look up from your iPhone every once in a while.