This past weekend, a friend of mine was trying to get a ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan using Uber. The driver was late. My friend was tracking him on her phone and he was all over the place, taking his sweet-ass time. If I’d thought Uber was merely a weird mode of transportation before, it now seemed like a slightly horrible one.
While I was languishing in eleven months of unemployment, Uber kept creeping up in my job search. Sprinkled with promises of thousands of dollars a week and flexible hours (which is HR-speak for “inconvenient hours”), these job postings were primed to capitalize on my desperation. However, as a still-functioning human being possessing a scintilla of self-worth, I never bothered applying. Something about Uber struck me as uncomfortable about getting in a car with random people by way of an app. Maybe that’s the technology-resistant senior citizen in me, feeling like all these “dishonest internet creepies” are going to take advantage of someone who merely requires a service and just wants a cheap and convenient way to get from Point A to Point B.
I love it when I’m right! It gives me such a sense of power. Especially when I’m about to have the shit doxxed out of me.
Uber is having a spate of bad press after one of its executives — who still has a job, by the way — said that the company should start smear campaigns against journalists who give them bad press, singling out one in particular and threatening to “give the media a taste of its own medicine” by digging into her personal life. This after a history of pretty disturbing behavior on the part these grown men in charge of Uber including a French campaign that marketed its female drivers (“Avions”) as if they were prostitutes or mail-order brides and blaming assault victims for being attacked by Uber drivers. (I’d get upset about the whole “Boober” thing, but as far as sins against women go, I’ll let that one slide because “Boober” sounds kinda fun, in my humble opinion. Say it! It’s so fun, rolls off the whole mouth.)
Uber, how am I supposed to feel about you when you are so creepy on so many different levels? I haven’t even used Uber and I’m terrified of it. Maybe I’m paranoid, but this service that seems like a fantastic idea in theory just doesn’t seem to be playing out well in practice. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) actually agrees with me and wants to ask Uber a few questions, one of them probably not being, “How fast can I get to Adams Morgan from the Hart Building?”
No, these questions will be about the seeming(ly obvious) disregard for the privacy of Uber customers given all the examples outlined in my previous paragraphs. That’s the side effect of your verbal diarrhea — we found out what you eat. You said something stupid and revealed some really shady business ethics. It’s not just about getting bad press; now it’s about a businessman finding it appropriate to spend his profits digging into someone’s private life with the purpose of ruining it. If you’re doing that to a journalist who is just trying to do her job, what are you doing to your customers who are in the even more vulnerable position of just trying to get a ride?
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