SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

January 28, 2014

Normal routines on ice after deep freeze in Midwest

(Continued)

“It’s definitely a lot slower,” said salon manager Kelly Benton, who wasn’t expecting anything near the 100 tanners the salon sees on a typical day.

But the chill didn’t keep crowds from Tiny Tots and Little Tykes Preschool and Child Care Center in West St. Paul, Minn., where the cold weather means a lot more jumping rope and riding around on scooters — anything to escape cabin fever and let kids burn off some energy.

“We’re just trying to keep them busy, but it’s definitely more of a challenge when you can’t get outside,” said ManaRae Schaan, the executive director.

The brutally cold weather has brought a spike in business for GrubHub Seamless, a company that lets users order food online from restaurants and have the food delivered.

“Across the board, restaurant and delivery drivers are dealing with an influx of orders,” Allie Mack, a spokeswoman for the company said in an email.

Not only that, but people seem to appreciate the drivers more, with Mack saying that during the Polar Vortex earlier this month, tipping was up by double digits in Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Chicago. And, for some reason, deliveries of buffalo chicken sandwiches jumped 37 percent.

“You figure people are probably being more generous to their drivers because their drivers are the ones braving the conditions while you’re on your couch in your pajamas,” Mack said.

Chicago cabdriver Kumar Patel said the cold translates into bigger tips for him too.

But the chill also seems to trigger some bad behavior as well, he said.

“They get in and they say they have to smoke because it’s so cold,” Patel said.

Still, he said, he can pick up a lot of fares in a short time. “They are going a block, sometimes only a half block,” Patel said.

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