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Desc:References Snow Crash, points out why Uber and companies like it are the fucking devil.
Category:News & Politics, Business
Tags:alphaville, uber, Snow Crash, financial times, gig economy
Submitted:kingarthur
Date:12/17/16
Views:607
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Comment count is 19
SolRo
I think companies like UBER also hire lots of astroturfers (that word americans forgot and instead now call everyone a paid Russian troll). Comment sections on negative stories about uber typically get flooded by idiots raving about how great the company is using the same talking points and buzz words.
Nikon
Everything bad is Russia's fault. If you got a tough steak, or you ran over a pothole, or your lottery ticket didn't win, it's all Russia's fault.

That guy
everything but the record scratch was great

feudalism is right
Binro the Heretic
Pretty much any business where the administrators earn more than the laborers is evil.

My department manager is paid twice as much as me and has no clue how to do any part of my job. And they barely do any actual administration. They've "empowered" us by setting up all their emails to be automatically forwarded to their subordinates and we just divvy up the tasks ourselves.

And our department is not unique. There are only two departmental managers who started off actually working in the department. These are also the only two who will roll up their sleeves and work alongside the people who answer to them. Not that they show their subordinates any more respect that the other managers, but at least they know what the job involves.

By and large, the managers were made managers because they proved they were willing to do shitty things to the workers. And mine is still a business where administrators have to work alongside their subordinates. I can't imagine how easy it is for them to shit on people they'll never meet face-to-face.
15th
http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-or-the- office-according-to-the-office/

I don't watch or like The Office - but this essay really seems to nail down the power structure of the majority of office type jobs I've had.

Like you said, the middle managers are specifically there to dole out shit to the workers. I believe the author claims that upper management intentionally uses clueless oafs in these positions. I'd have to agree.

It's been a while since I read it, but I would recommend.

Binro the Heretic
Thanks, that was a pretty good read.

Binro the Heretic
Oh, dear Lord. I only JUST realized how similar my company has become to "The Office."

For a long time now, promotions have been doled out solely on the basis of ass-kissing. Middle managers have only promoted drones from the rank & file who spend lots of time hanging out with them, both at work and on personal time. There's a process in place that says they have to give everyone a fair shot to apply for a position when it opens, but the interviews are shams. The managers call in everyone, smile, blow smoke up their ass about how impressive their qualifications are, how many good things they've heard about them, etc. Then they shake their hands, wish them luck and give the promotion to the person they had always planned to give it to.

I know for a fact one promotion was given to an associate who avoided all work like the plague. Complaints were made by their coworkers and managers from other departments who often caught them slacking off. They were given the promotion solely because they were "loyal" having worked for the manager who gave them the promotion for nearly ten years. Another associate who was given a promotion was actually pretty diligent & competent. I'm sure the fact they had performed home repairs & other labor free of charge for the manager responsible for filling the position was coincidental.

On the Sunday two weeks prior to Thanksgiving this year. All workers had to attend a mandatory company meeting. That meant all the people who would have been off that day had to come in anyway. Not only that, they had to be there at 6:00 am so the meeting wouldn't disrupt the normal routine of the store.

For two and a half hours, we were given information that was really only useful to new hires who had never worked an after-Thanksgiving-day sale before.

They also told us about "hot new merchandise" we were supposed to "promote" to our customers. This really meant they wanted us to shill the shit they didn't expect to sell. "Hey, sorry we don't have those Hatchimals your kid wants really badly. You know what kids really want, though? A Nerf crossbow! Luckily for you, we have lots of those."

We were also forced to play a horrendous "trivia" game which was really just an excuse to drill company policy into our skulls. "What should you always do when checking out a customer purchasing a purse? Anybody? Anyone? Customer buying a purse? Gotta do something? Very important? What should you do?" (someone finally raises a hand) "Yes, you?" "Look inside." Yes!" You should always look inside!" Then the person who answered the question would be given one of those tiny candy canes and a couple of chocolate kisses and the manager would tell everyone how important it is to look inside purses & bags to make sure the customer wasn't trying to hide merchandise.

At the end of the meeting, all the managers stood up in front of us and lip-synched a pop song because one word in the lyrics also appeared in our holiday sale slogan.

For the past two weeks the top manager has had everyone moving merchandise around on a daily basis. They say it keeps things "fresh and exciting" for our customers. Really, because from what I've seen it mostly seems to be pissing our customers off. "Hey, I'm looking for the thing you had here a couple of days ago. I want to buy one today. "yeah, sorry, they moved those way over there. Here, I can take you to them."

When the customer invariably asks why in Hell the things were moved, I lie and say they were moved so newly-arrived merchandise could be put in the more visible location so people would know we have it in stock. I get the feeling if I told them it was to keep things "fresh and exciting" for them, I'd become a victim of workplace violence. And yes, most of them do point out, "This shit isn't 'new'. You've had it for weeks. It used to be over there."

That's okay, the worker satisfaction survey is coming up at the start of next year. We'll be able to submit "suggestions" for "improvements." In past years, these surveys were physical questionnaires filled out by hand. There was even a whole lined page at the back of the survey where you could say anything you wanted. The sealed survey would then be thrown into a box with all the surveys from that store. They weren't even separated by department. Anonymity being considered necessary for complete honesty, there was no information on the survey to identify the individual who filled it out.

Last year, they kicked off a new system. It was all digital. You had to log onto a workstation with your employee ID and log onto the company website. You also had to fill in what store you worked, what department you worked in and your job title. For our "convenience", we could also fill out the survey on our smartphones or tablets or even do them from home, which was encouraged since it meant we didn't have to take time out of the work day to do it.

They assured us it was all still completely anonymous.

15th
Good God Binro, hang in there. You're in my in thoughts.

I worked in sales before. Initially, I was really good at it because I didn't know anything about products and I just believed whatever the management told me. Eventually though, I learned what was shit and what was a rip off and started to talk people out of wasting thousands of dollars.

Needless to say my performance dropped. We were also encouraged to out right lie to customers about making commission.

The owner sometimes would leave blueprints for additions to her mansion lying around. Also, would casually complain about Jews fucking up the market. That place fucking sucked.

Long story short, I quit after a couple years. No one from management said goodbye to me on my last day and the actual owner still didn't know my name. This was a company of about 20 people.

15th
I remember that article cementing my decision to quit. There was a salesperson I worked with that in a sane world would have been manager. He was smart, honest and loyal.

The person that was the general manager constantly came to him with questions about the products, because he didn't know shit about them and although he was a nice enough guy, he wasn't too bright.

All the management got their jobs via nepotism and I just realized it was a dead end.

I'm not even going to mention the customers.

So, about a year ago I vowed to never work in the customer service/sales industry again. I've taken on student debt and I'm older than most people at my University, but it feels good to be working towards recovery.

I wish all my comrades the best during this Holiday shopping season. Everyday you don't punch someone in the throat contributes to your case for Sainthood.

Binro the Heretic
I, like most of the other long-time employees, don't have a lot of career options. The pay isn't great, but it's still better than anything else I would be able to get at the moment. Our job market here is fucked and I won't move because of family matters.

At least I get some benefits like paid vacations, paid sick leave, health insurance and retirement plan. Most of the new people are hired as part time and don't qualify for most of that. The promise of being made full time is dangled in front of them, but the management tends to drag their feet on that until the new associates leave for better jobs.

I'm also convinced management keeps treating those of us who have been there for a long time like shit hoping we'll get disgusted and leave so they can replace us with cheaper part-time employees.

What pisses me off most is we're not a regular store that has to think about shareholders, stock value or shit like that. I work for a military exchange. We have to cover our own operating costs. 70% of the profit has to go to the Morale, Welfare & Recreation program. What's left gets put into "improvements" which is supposedly the maintenance & remodeling of existing facilities and the construction of new facilities. We never used to be profit-focused. Our primary goal used to be serving military personnel and their families. The long-gone old-school managers would go ballistic if they heard some of the things the newer managers say. Things like, "We're here to take they money." and "Push those add-on sales. Get as much money as you can from them."

If I can hold out just seven more years, I can retire with full benefits. I'll have my mortgage paid off in just two more years and will start putting the money that currently goes to my monthly payment into my savings account. I know I can get by week-to-week without spending it. Might as well add it to the nest egg.

In the meantime, I do my job. I used to knock myself out for the place, but there's no payoff to that so I just put in a regular amount of effort. I come home, take care of my family and relax by playing video games while listening to podcasts. It's not the most exciting life, but it could be a lot worse.

15th
That's not bad. I'm glad to hear you get benifits. I'd stick it out too. Being younger and not a professional, I've never had any benifits whatesoever. I'm painfully aware of the part time racket. Also, you're lucky to have missed out on the biggest scam of them all - independent contracting. I once busted my ass at a job, skipping lunch and working weekends. One time I worked 12 hours and grossed $40.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
I wonder why some startup doesnt make a more ethical version of uber. The technical requirements of an app like that are relatively trivial. Theres tonnes of tools for building stuff exactly like that. One skilled person could build it in a few months.
Binro the Heretic
Profit wins out over ethics every time.

The majority of people who start a business don't go in with visions of providing the public with quality service and paying their workers well. They want to make money.

Businesses will not act ethically unless they are forced to.

SolRo
because the mouthbreathing tech workers, Randroids and trust fund babies that make up the majority of the consumers of these services think that paying $50 for a cab is literal robbery, poor people are poor because they're lazy and deserve to suffer. they would -never- pay more to ensure their servants get a living wage.

lying-cheating-stealing uber isn't legally profitable, and an ethical-fair-pay uber sure as hell wouldn't be either.

boner
It wouldn't make sense to clone what Uber is offering today. Their long term plan is to lay off all the drivers and replace all public transit, not just taxis, with driverless private transit. And their business requires having laws changed one city at a time. You need a giant pile of money to do this.

SolRo
I have a hard time believing that uber is even developing driverless cars for their own use. That would require the company to pay for cars, pay for insurance, pay for maintenance, pay for parking/storage etc, etc.

I have a much easier time believing that uber is trying to push driverless technology and sell it to car companies, and then have owners of those cars "make money" with their car when it's not being used. Obviously the owners would pay for all the expenses of said car and uber just takes a nice big cut of the gross revenue.

dairyqueenlatifah
@SolRo

Are you saying paying $50 for a cab ISN'T literal robbery? Because I grew up poor, am a laborer, and am the polar opposite of a trust fund baby like you're describing. It's because I grew up poor that I'm here to say that yes, paying $50 for a cab is literal fucking robbery.

No offense (although considering the shit you've said to me I shouldn't care) but you must literally inhabit a different reality than the rest of us, a bizarro topsy-turvy reality where math words in reverse, because the very people you're blaming for *not* paying excessive prices for a service are literally the only people who would ever be able to afford services so insanely priced, meanwhile the virtuous, pure-hearted, can-do-no-wrong poor people you're referring to cannot and, speaking from personal experience, would never pay those sort of prices.

SolRo
I did find forget to mention the working class idiots who only care about everything being cheap and will shop at Walmart while complaining about china stealing jobs without the slightest hint of irony

15th
Love the logo. So clean and simple.
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