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Pain In The Gas

The cost of gas has continued it’s steady climb upward. The rideshare and food delivery contractors are obviously ignoring the issue and the consumer continues to act like delivery is an entitlement when it comes to tipping. Who’s responsible for compensating delivery drivers for increased expenses?

A fellow driver and I were discussing the price of gas and its impact on our jobs as delivery drivers. This particular discussion was limited to texting and prompted by this article from Yahoo. A lot of things come to mind in reading the piece. It seems almost a disingenuous fluff piece designed to excuse what’s really happening by citing programs by Lyft and Uber to help alleviate the price of doing business. Sorry, but 1.5 % here, and a nickel a gallon there, aren’t exactly exceeding non-existent expectation levels.

What’s The Beef?

Here’s the problem. If a pizza restaurant had a 50% rise in the cost of their cheese they would not be able to withstand that cost very long because it is the major item that makes up the product they sell. They must have cheese to have a pizza. Likewise would it be with a burger place and ground beef? Similarly, the driver’s main cost to their operation is their car…maintenance and fuel – and it still has to be maintained even if it doesn’t have fuel to run on, so we can deduce that fuel is pretty darned important. Since drivers are treated as independent contractors and they treat their job as a business they are responsible for all costs in and out of their orbit. Sans a paycheck and no guarantees when they walk out that door to go to work every day they must control costs at all times.

I know what you’re going to say, but I submit that Uber treats tipping like a don’t ask, don’t tell situation.

Not Waiting For Superman

There’s limited help from the contractor they work for. With Uber there is the boost that is offered in a 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc., fashion, with 1.0 being the normal rate and then increasing by 10% increments. That is more for Ubers benefit than anything else. They use the boost to encourage drivers to work when and where they need them. Uber certainly doesn’t use the incentive of tips or the reliance on such means as a way to help compensate the driver for their time and the use of their vehicle per their long spoken policy. That they recently bestowed a change of heart upon their drivers and allowed for tips is window dressing. One could submit that Uber treats tipping like a don’t ask, don’t tell position. They parrot a pro-tipping policy but when they place the tip option all the way at the end of the app where the customer doesn’t see it until (if at all) they’re done eating it seems more carrot/stick warfare than anything…just sayin.

Excuses Are Like The A-holes That Make Them

You say that Lyft is available to anyone from Uber that doesn’t like the way things are done? This would be a true statement, but an equally true statement would be that Uber set that “no tip” bar a long time ago and Lyft pretty much goes along with it because if they don’t, they can’t compete…because everybody likes to save money…right? Enter the end-user, the customer, who is certainly culpable as well. In this day and age there is no excuse – none – for a person not to tip for certain services rendered. I’m tired of hearing all the rationales for no gratuity as if to say delivery drivers aren’t de rigueur. Besides, it’s just basic human decency…something I admit that is sorely lacking overall. I say go ye forth and do for yourself then.

It All Comes Down To This

This is a huge growth industry that’s harder to say take it back than it is to tell the drivers to quit if they don’t like it because with a reported turnover rate of about 70%, trust me, they are following that sage advice. What do customers do then? The deeper problem lies with the rule-makers themselves, the companies that offer the services. You see, they were counting on driverless cars and drones sometime around now to take the jobs of these drivers. Hasn’t happened…and it won’t happen anytime soon. I addressed this in a previous post you can read here. They never planned for this scenario because they believe in all things tech and, well, all things aren’t just tech. It is up to these tech titans to figure this out…and quickly. Because while they have shaken up and redefined the way people eat, it isn’t quite so easy to shake up people’s incomes without consequences. My advice to all would be to buckle up.

Pun intended.

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