Ever wonder what it would have been like if they had digital, on-demand services in 1987? Companies like Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, Instacart, Airbnb (the list goes on for a while) obviously didn’t exist a couple of decades ago.
It doesn’t take long to think about how different movies would’ve been. Movies like the classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Most would probably agree, any movie starring Steve Martin and John Candy would have been funny no matter what, but let’s take a moment (or 500-1000 words) to think about how different the movie would’ve been if it were placed in an era of digital technology with all our modern, on-demand services.
Need a train or a bus? Companies like Wanderu allow you to book a bus or train (and sometimes planes too) on their website. You can even mix and match different options together like connecting flights at an airport. Takes some of the hassel out of planning a trip!
Need a hotel room? Companies like Airbnb allow you to easily book a hotel, motel, hostel, house, apartment or even someone’s spare bedroom or couch. Other companies to get you the best rate have been around for a while too, like Travelocity, Kayak, Hotels.com, etc.
Some of the same companies that help find you the best rate on hotels can also find you the best price for plane tickets. Companies like Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and many others can often find you the best rates for flights for your upcoming trip. Or, in Neal’s case, the current trip you’re a few days behind on.
Need to order food to the motel room? From the looks of the one-bedroom room they booked, it probably didn’t have room service. They ended up just getting a pizza, which you’ve been able to get delivered, even in 1987, but let’s say the pizza shop was closed. Or to make things difficult and so very 2019, let’s pretend Neal was gluten-free, lactose-intolerant and hated tomatoes. Those on-demand solutions are still on the rise. Companies like GrubHub, EatStreet, Good Uncle, DoorDash and others offer on-demand delivery from local restaurants in whatever city you’re stuck with Del Griffith (John Candy) in.
Need a ride from point A to point B? In the final scene of the movie, we see Neal helping Del carry his giant suitcase down the street. Maybe the taxi just ran out of gas, but it is more likely they walked home. For the past few years, people have been using on-demand taxi and rideshare apps like Uber, Lyft and Via. Today, they could’ve ordered an Uber XL to take both of them and fit Del’s luggage in the trunk. However, that would’ve made for a less iconic ending.
So where does Plowz & Mowz fall into this? Why is a company that offers on-demand landscaping services talking about trains, planes, automobiles and pretty much every industry besides our own? Because once Neal Page (Steve Martin) figured out how he was getting home each step of the way, he could’ve also made sure his driveway was plowed by the time he got home to Chicago. If the movie wasn’t set in Chicago in late November, he could’ve ordered a lawn mow or other outdoor home services to keep up on his landscaping while he was running a few days late to get home.
Other mention-worthy on-demand, digital services that really wouldn’t have fit into the movie:
GoShare – Book a pickup truck (or van) to move whatever needs moving from point A to point B. It’s like uber but for trucks and moving stuff.
GoPuff – It didn’t seem like something Neal would’ve been looking for, but GoPuff offers on-demand delivery of favorite snack foods (typical for college students).
Turo – No, not Toro the landscaping equipment manufacturer, Turo is similar to Airbnb, but for vehicles. Available in the largest cities in the US, you can book someone’s spare vehicle instead of hoping Enterprise still has that convertible you reserved a month ago. The pricing tends to also run cheaper than a rental car company, and you can pick a specific vehicle to suit your needs. Ever wanted to rent a BMW M4? Now even I can afford to book one on my next vacation.
EZ Cater – Similar to GrubHub and the other food delivery services, EZ Cater is an easy way to book catering for a party or office event from many great local options.
WeWork (Rebranded as “We”)- Despite their IPO not going without issue, WeWork is a new kind of office landlord. You can book an office space of various types in almost any major city.
Wag – While Plowz and Mowz can take care of your yard while you’re away or too busy, who’s going to look after your best friend? Wag is an on-demand dog walking service. Similar to Uber where local people in your community pick up the work, this service is available across the US.