Uber’s On Fire


cjones03032017

Uber is very popular. Along with popularity comes criticism, derision and outright hatred.

Do you know who hates Uber the most? Cab drivers. It’s really hurting them because Uber is a lot easier to use for riders. A lot of those same cab drivers who hate Uber are also working for Uber on the side.

I like Uber for the most part. For starters, they’re usually a lot cleaner than cabs. Where cabs tend to smell like a combination of pine tree air fresheners and cheeseburgers, Ubers are typically clean and a lot less sticky.

They’re also pretty quick…usually. Sometimes your ride will arrive in a few minutes though I have waited for 20 or so in the past. With the app you can see where your ride is while it’s on the way. Sometimes you can watch the actual car pass you by with your on eyes it while also seeing it do the same on the app. Isn’t technology incredible?

Where Uber can suck is that sometimes the drivers don’t know how to work a GPS. As I said, sometimes they get lost and they pass you by. Then they call you very confused. Another thing that can suck is when you get a driver who doesn’t know your city very well or not at all. This happens because some drivers will go to another city where they can make more money. I live in Fredericksburg and many Uber drivers here go to D.C. You can also get a driver from D.C. or even Maryland in Fredericksburg. This is because they’ll catch a fare up north and then try to work their way back home. The next thing you know you have a driver from Pakistan who lives in Silver Springs and he gets lost despite having you in the backseat explaining where the movie theater is located and you should know because you’ve lived here since 1998. Seriously.

But most of the drivers are really nice. Earlier this week one the drivers offered me a mini Hershey’s chocolate. It’s not everyday I get in a stranger’s car and get free candy. I woke up in Fargo but still, nice guy. OK, I might have fabricated the Fargo detail.

Uber is making the news this week for several reasons.

They’re trying to install self-driving cars in California. Try telling that thing you know where you live better than it does. I fight with my coffee maker.

Uber was recently blocked in court from an English language test for drivers in London.

last month a former employee, wrote a public blog post detailing what she described as her experience being subjected to sexual harassment while having the company’s human resources department ignore her complaints. Funny how companies start paying attention after it becomes public notice.

Several Uber drivers are initiating a boycott over having their fees cut while the company has grown to a value over $60 billion. There’s also a lawsuit alleging technology theft, and a social media campaign encouraging riders to delete Uber’s app over claims that the company tried to capitalize when New York taxi drivers protested against President Trump’s immigration order.

Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, was recently caught up in a brouhaha over joining an advisory council for President Trump. After severe backlash, he backed out. People don’t like Trump? Who knew! Also, every issue from now on is going to involve Donald Trump.

Finally to pile on, Kalanick was caught on camera arguing with a driver over Uber’s history of lowering earnings for drivers. He told the driver he needed to take personal responsibility for his own problems and used obscenities and was totally dismissive of the driver’s complaints. That’s like telling a starving person they’re not really that hungry.

Once again, after the tape went public Mr. Kalanick came groveling. He wants a personal meeting with the driver and said “to say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement.” Ya’ think?

It’s good that Mr. Kalanick is using his product and can keep up with how it’s treating his customers, but it’d be nice if he actually paid attention. And what the hell is that guy using Uber for anyway? His company is worth over $60 billion. Can’t he afford a scooter? Maybe he was drunk.

Creative Note: My first idea was to draw the car going off a cliff though I knew I’d never use it. I made a promise to myself to never use a cliff metaphor ever again. It’s the most used cliche in the business with Pinocchio metaphors running a close second. I’ve already seen two Pinocchios this week and I swear this is true, the cliff metaphor is used every single week. Don’t believe me? Keep a watch for it. There’s always someone, some thing, going over a cliff, or off, or hanging on the ledge/edge. Unless there’s an actual political issue involving a literal cliff, and not a Cliff Claven, I ain’t drawing no more cliffs.

Geeky note for your Friday that has nothing to do with my creativity or Uber: Did you know John Ratzenberger, the actor who played Cliff Claven on Cheers and is required by law to add his voice to every. single. animation, was in The Empire Strikes Back? I’m full of useless information.

I can’t possibly piss off Ratzenberger fans as much as I did Moody Blues fans yesterday, can I?

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