Blue Apron: I’m not having fun.

May 12th, 2014 by Barrett Lyon

Open letter to Blue Apron from a dyslexic guy:

Your instructions look cute and fun… They’re well designed for someone without a learning disability.  To me… they are a confusing mess:

“Blue Apron makes cooking fun and easy.” (For people without learning disabilities)
  • Your “knick knacks” pack is never referenced in the directions.
  • You’re putting pictures of the ingredients that don’t look anything like what you’ve delivered.
  • The instructions require you to flip between two sides of a page (for someone like me that’s difficult and it fucks with my head).
  • I can’t follow directions like:  “gather the produce”.  You give me nothing labeled produce or anything that even matches a picture or what produce is.  I know what produce is but I am concentrated on following the instructions and they just scramble me.
  • The lettering is too small on the pages, you’re compressing too much into a single page.  Why?  Hell add additional directions online if you’re worried about printing costs.
  • Honestly, the pages are overwhelming to me and I shutdown just looking at them.
  • It’s not fun if I don’t have my wife participating. :(

Anyway… thank you, we did enjoy trying the service.  However, when my wife is not helping me navigate your instructions I am left angry and embarrassed.

Further, I can’t find any auxiliary ways to learn or get direction.  You could easily provide links to videos that show the directions without the awful back-to-back vague “recipe”.

I, like many people, learn differently and a lot of people process information differently.  You should help people like me have fun with your product by providing different ways to ingest your information.

So sadly I am canceling… I’ll come back if you guys fix this a bit. Startups are hard! I know! I’ve done a few. I hope you guys can help folks like me and I will become a loyal customer.

PS:  This is exactly why I don’t bake.  Oh and I love to cook.

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One Response to “Blue Apron: I’m not having fun.”

  1. Mary Baum says:

    I do like that Blue Apron takes the thinking out of three dinners a week and keeps my husband from getting bored – I could keep eating the same four or five things forever.

    Some of their instructions, however, dyslexia or no, are clearly the hardest way to do something. I imagine that’s in the name of Teaching New Cooks To Do It Right, and/or Not Presuming Our Audience Owns Expensive Toys. Like … a microwave?

    Well, I am not a new cook, unless you’re comparing me to Julia Child. Who, I might point out, did finally die some decades ago at the tender age of 147. By her standards, my 40-some-odd years in the kitchen might well make me a neophyte.

    So . . . No.

    I am not going to dirty an extra pan to boil potatoes in water or steam vegetables on the stove. I realize the microwave strikes some people as a new-fangled invention. But in my family, we started using one when I was 11. In 1971.

    I am not going to mince garlic or chop onions by hand. I have had a food processor for three decades; with Blue Apron in my life, I’m finally giving it regular use. It makes lovely shreds of carrots that stand in nicely for the matchsticks Blue Apron imagines. And it grates cheese like a champ.

    I am done making meatballs, chickenballs or whatever-balls. Interesting the first few times I did it, but seriously. 20 minutes to roll something into balls? Not to mention – meaty-protein-gooey-stuff ON MY HANDS. EWW. (I’m weird like that.)

    This is supposed to be weeknight cooking.

    Even with the food processor, Blue Apron dinners consistently take an hour-plus from knife to table. So all those balls henceforth are just mixed in with the flavorings/sauces/whatever. Or might become two patties if the dinner is a sandwich.

    “Flatten the minced garlic with the side of your knife until it becomes a paste …” Um, no.

    I have the hardest tennis serve in my current ladies’ doubles group and one of the five hardest on a couple other of my teams back home. But I have yet to achieve the upper-body strength that will turn minced fresh garlic into paste with the side of a knife. Fortunately, the supermarket happens to sell fresh garlic paste in tubes.

    And, finally. I bought a zester. Used it three times, then decided to go back to bottled lemon juice. Because it takes another 15 minutes, or more, to achieve a suitable quantity of zest. The zest smells wonderful, but I can’t taste it in the finished dish. And I have no real desire to squeeze a lemon if I’ve scraped up my knuckles.

    So while I continue to be a fan of Blue Apron, I will continue to substitute 40 years’ worth of kitchen hacks for The Right Way to do some things.

    I know the right way. It’s a pain in the ass.

    All the best,


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