• The Gig Economy is Failing Everyone

    For your consideration: some evidence below in support of the hypothesis above.

    Exhibit A: Foodora

    Next Monday May 11th Foodora, a subsidiary of Berlin-based Delivery Hero SE, will officially cease all operations here in Canada. With most of the country still locked down due COVID-19 one might expect the food delivery business to be booming—and my own observations from the streets of downtown Toronto would indicate the same. But that's apparently not the case—in fact, quite the opposite seems to be true: the company's insolvency filings reveal some $4.7 million CAD owed to creditors, mostly restaurants for unpaid food sales.

    In leaving Canada Foodora hasn't just screwed over restaurants, but delivery couriers as well. Those couriers won the right to unionize back in February; I've a sneaking suspicion that this may also have influenced Foodora's decision to close up shop here.

    On the subject of couriers I feel compelled to add another anecdotal observation: On the few occasions that I've ventured out to pick up food almost every business I've visited was full of delivery couriers. No one seemed particularly happy to be there.

    Sources: CBC, NOW Toronto

    Exhibit B: Lyft, Uber, Airbnb

    My girlfriend once pointed something out that made me see ride-hailing services in a completely different way—basically that me, the passenger, is not actually the true customer for these businesses; it's actually the vehicle owner, the one with the asset that these businesses seek to exploit. Ditto for Airbnb, who isn't after thrifty travellers so much as property owners seeking to leverage unused space—with Airbnb taking a cut of each and every stay.

    So how's all this working out in the face of COVID-19? Well, when Airbnb asked our government for a bailout (presumably to pass on to their hosts) they were famously turned down in a single-word tweet. And south of the border, Uber drivers in New York City were already sleeping in their cars before the pandemic even started.

    Sources: @TOAdamVaughan, VICE

    Exhibit C: Instacart

    Facing my own dwindling supply at the height of the toilet paper scare this past March I turned in desperation to Instacart, thinking that the service had something unique to offer beyond just sending someone to do your shopping for you. It does not. In a city where at least one major grocery chain has had a proper home delivery platform for over a decade, Instacart brings no new innovation beyond exploiting gig workers with strong arms and free time.

    Enter COVID-19 and Instacart is instantly worse for everyone. Those seeking delivery slots have likened the experience to using Ticketmaster, and those making the deliveries have been doing so at great personal risk. In fact, it took the threat of a general strike for Instacart to provide the most meager of protections to personal shoppers in the midst of a global pandemic.

    Sources: BNN Bloomberg, Global News

    So I've asked Instacart to delete my account but have not yet heard back. I was never really interested in Airbnb, and gave up on Lyft last year and returned to my favourite Toronto taxi company instead. And I guess I should consider myself lucky to be able to walk to my local eateries and bring food home myself.

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Gig Economy is Failing Everyone started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. @Class's Avatar
      @Class -
      So I work for a site called Near.shop and they too offer delivery, but to your point about offering no value I do struggle, especially in comparison with Amazon where there are zero local jobs and everything is done overseas, from the manufacturing to the customer support. Near is different as it's both a pricing comparison tool where you can pickup the goods yourself and a delivery tool where you can get the items delivered to you (in select markets).

      Check it out at https://near.shop where I'd love your feedback (both good and bad) and also investors can get in via PM.
    1. Samshares's Avatar
      Samshares -
      The companies offering "convenience" are only there to make money.

      I wish local restaurants would band together and hire delivery drivers, or a company that would band together delivery drivers and those drivers earn a salary + tips but they only serve those few restaurants and not be used like public transit (by everyone and anyone). The quality of life and income suffers for everyone working through these so called convenience apps.

      I drove for Uber for 2 weeks, looked at what I made and realized if i do the calculations right, my expenses of putting all those km's on the car and wear and tear, are going to forever be more than what I make back. Uber was cheating the system and I am sure it still is now.

      It shows the driver one total and takes its 25%, shows the rider one total and still dips into its profits.

      Its thanks to that "guaranteed fare", they get to double dip.

      Sucks everyone thinks there is value, but there isn't. We aren't moving forward.

      I prefer to drive to my local places and just pickup my food / drive through. It saves me money and it saves those underpaid people their time and resources.
    1. techfranz's Avatar
      techfranz -
      Because of this we should try to tip well, especially around this time.

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      And if you own a restaurant, maybe let these poor souls use your bathroom?
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