The Courier Triathlon

Photo: Getty Images (goldfish); Konstantin Sergeyev (burger). Illustration by Jason Lee.

The Challenge: Bring us two goldfish in a glass bowl, a bacon cheeseburger from Peter Luger Steakhouse, and a 24- pack of toilet paper, as soon as humanly possible.

No. 1: Clementine Courier
Cost: $123.74 (including cost of goods and service charges for fragile and oversize items)
Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
Result: The bike courier brought us two fish (including care instructions from the pet store) and two twelve-packs of toilet paper faster than anyone. They didn’t get to Luger in time for the lunch-only burger, but arrived with a small steak instead.

No. 2: Direct Rush
Cost: $193.84 (including a $150 service fee and $15-per-half-hour charge for the wait time at Peter Luger)
Time: 2 hrs. 50 min.
Result: Slow and expensive, but we can’t fault their eye for a good bargain. They got the nice double-quilted toilet paper on sale and the goldfish from an off-brand pet shop for $.17. The burger was warm and the cheese melted, but the fries were soggy, and most egregious, they forgot the Luger sauce.

No. 3 Elite Couriers
Cost: $264.98 (including hefty wait fees at Petco and Kmart)
Time: 2 hrs. 10 min.
Result: We’re still chagrined that our guy had to wait twenty minutes at a pet store at 1 p.m. on a Thursday. He showed up with the toilet paper but only one goldfish, and then twenty minutes later a colleague arrived with a cold burger and soggy fries. Elite knocked $10 off our bill after we called to complain.

The Courier Triathlon