My husband’s road rage doesn’t happen on the highways, but in our home when he notices how much I’ve been on the road as an Uber driver. I’ll admit I’m not a mathematician, but I hoped I’d earn some extra money driving for Uber. I drove 5,000 miles for Uber last month. I would not have believed I drove so much, but the oil change documents prove it’s true. While I’m not so great with math, my husband spells it out in simple terms. If I’m driving 5,000 miles a month, that adds up to 60,000 miles a year or 120,000 miles in two years. Our car would cost about $30,000 to replace. Considering only one in 10 of my passengers tip, I’m never going to make enough to compensate for the car itself. Never mind those oil changes every month at $70 a pop. Or the new tires that cost almost $600. Or the new brakes I need because of Uber driving. I probably gross $400 to $500 a week driving or Uber. My actual pay after subtracting gas, toll roads, and maintenance is significantly less.
Meanwhile, most passengers have almost a smug attitude about the fact that they don’t have to tip. Of course you don’t have to tip, but I question how non-tippers can look at themselves in the mirror without self-loathing. Even the “nice” pax think they are nice by giving you a 5-star rating and no tip. The law of reciprocity means people generally feel as though they need to reciprocate. By giving pax the option to reward you with a compliment or five stars, they feel like they did their part to thank you. I’ve thought about putting up a sign that reads, “I don’t accept compliments. However, I gratefully and gladly accept gratuities/tips.” I also thought about, “Good ratings don’t pay the bills. Good ratings just mean I get to keep driving your sorry ass around for free.”
I talked to a female Uber driver at the Tampa airport last week who told me she slept in her car in the airport parking lot because it did not pay for her to drive back to her hometown in the middle of the night after dropping of a pax. If anyone had tipped her, maybe she’d have money for the vending machines. Tipping an Uber driver one or two dollars is better than nothing. I have so many fantasies about what I’d love to say to passengers especially after meeting full-time drivers who are trying to take care of their families.
Uber lets drivers rate their passengers. Every passenger who does not tip should star with a 4 star rating. If they are also rude, rate them fewer stars. Every driver should check the rider’s rating. Drivers should never go out of the way to pick up a rider with a low score. I doubt any driver would give a rider less than 5 stars if they even tipped a dollar. One dollar. That’s all it takes to show you aren’t a total demon.
Without tips, Uber drivers don't make any money. They might think they are making money, but they aren’t. Net income with Uber driving after actual car depreciation is zero without tips. For some people, it could even come out an actual financial loss. Uber the company makes money without a doubt. Uber passengers get cheap rides by taking advantage of drivers and rationalizing why they are not going to tip. I’d love to hear why riders don’t tip. “If you don’t like the pay, don’t drive.” That sounds good. I’ll quit and, so also, will all other Uber drivers. Then you can pay a taxi service. You can wait for hours. “She or he was a bad driver.” Really, did you show up alive at your destination?
A woman complained to me the other day that no one would pick her up at 10 p.m. in Sun City Center, Florida, which is a fairly remote retirement community. I told her that most drivers go out of their way for 5 star passengers. Even understanding that she could tip her various drivers to secure rides, the woman explained why she doesn’t want to spend more by tipping. So she rather change her work schedule or wait two hours for a co-worker to drive her as opposed to shelling out $1 or $2 as a show of good will. Never mind the fact that even that $1 or $2 only pays for the extra gas to drive without pay to pick up the person 20 minutes away.
Some people do tip. I've noticed 8th-graders, whether male or female, tip well. That's because they lived through the hell of 7th grade and understand karma. Servers who work at The Wing House (like a Hooter's) also tip well. As the driver sleeping at the airport said, "It's always the ones who can afford it the least who tip. Drive up to a mansion and don't expect a tip."
Uber the company can do a lot. They can charge a $1 or $2 “remote pickup charge,” if people don’t want to wait for a driver to come closer to their location. “There are currently no Uber drivers 10 minutes or closer. Do you want to pay $2 extra that goes directly to the driver or wait until a driver randomly appears in your god-forsaken town?” In addition, Uber needs to put back the option to tip on the app so people can enjoy that cashless experience. All Uber the company did by discouraging tipping is create drivers who are infuriated and passengers who can’t help but pick up on the resentment. When there is so much driver-pax hate going on, there’s a failed business plan.
My husband doesn’t want me to drive for Uber. He doesn’t have to worry. I only plan to drive 10 hours a week. During those 10 hours, I’ll let my pax stare at the sign that reads, “Tips are not included in the fare. (frowny face). Tips are not required. (frowny face). But tips are appreciated. (smiley face.) Thank you for tipping so I can pay for my dog to get her master’s degree.”
Uber Housewife understands that some people, including students on their way to fast food jobs, can't afford to tip. Uber Housewife does not spend the rare tips she receives on shoes. The $10 tip recently given by a hair stylist studying mortuary science was given to a homeless man she saw when leaving the same shopping plaza. If you would like to write for Uber People, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler’s blog about her sexual harassment allegation recently set off an official Uber investigation by CEO Travis Kalanick. I might be the only woman in America who finds her self-proclaimed “slightly horrifying story” not just slightly laughable. Fowler kept screen shots of the chat messages from her manager who, she says, was “trying to get me to have sex with him.” In my day, that was called flirting. I saved a string of delicious e-mail messages from my manager more than a decade ago. Only, I didn’t print out the messages to get him in trouble, but for sentimental reasons. You see, I married the guy from the office and became his housewife. Ironic that the word Uber is also used for Uber feminists who likely shutter at the concept.
As a female Uber driver, of course I’m concerned about how the ridesharing app handles sexual harassment, but only real sexual harasssment. Specifically, I want don’t want to be rated poorly if I EVER decide to drive away from a potential passenger who seems dangerous to me. I want an option to press, “rider seemed unsafe,” or “area was too dark and ominous for little girls” with no marks against my record.
Susan J. Fowler endured a conversation via chat messaging. She wasn’t alone in a car with a man who wanted to take her back to his hotel. She was perfectly capable of using her words, setting boundaries and saying, “No thank you. I’m good on the sex thing today. Now, how about we get back to discussing something far more fascinating such as programming languages, data structures and algorithms?”
Fowler found out that the HR department didn’t intend to take any action against her boss who was a high performer. However, they did talk to him. The situation reminds me of a passenger who complained about how her Home Owner’s Association and county hasn’t done anything to remove the alligator living in the pond near her home. I told her the pond is the alligator’s habitat. The alligator lives there. Even if the county removed one alligator, another one would come along and take its place. One could even point out that the alligator has a key role in the ecosystem as a “high performer.” No one is saying you should feed the alligator or have a candlelight dinner with it by the pond. But, grow up and realize you aren’t in an artificial environment where animals are just props that perform as we wish in the theater of our messed-up minds.
The Uber company does not have culture of sexual harassment. Our society has a major problem with male and female roles and relationships. Spend 10 minutes in a car with a 20-something-year old man and you’ll hear about his beefs with today’s women. Spend 10 minutes in a car with a 20-something-year old woman and you will hear all about what she finds wrong with today’s men. Disney encourages little girls to dress like @@@@@s. Watch any Disney cartoon to observe the often perverse double meaning. Meanwhile, grown women watch or read, “50 Shades of Gray” and learn how to attract a narcissistic sociopath abuser into their personal lives. But on the public front, let’s all come together in solidarity against the men who act like men.
If a man doesn’t flirt with some women, he might experience a woman’s passive-aggressive wrath. So, I’m calling out the Uber feminist B.S. Young men I drive around say they would love to meet a woman who wants to cook and clean for them not because they have to, but because the want to. Young women seem to take pride in the fact that they don’t cook or clean and plan to farm out the child-rearing responsibilities after a drugged-up labor and delivery. Fast-forward to their 30s and the women have emasculated, deadbeat husbands who want to be taken care of along with any other children in the home.
As far as Fowler’s complaints about the game-of-thrones political wars in the Uber management structure, so what? It’s called corporate or company politics. Why do you think so many people feel burned out working in an office? If you didn’t want to deal with company politics, you should have gotten your M.R.S. degree in college and let your husband put on the suit every day to brave the swamps full of alligators and forests with black bears. Women today want to go for a hike on a paved path with little water stations along the way. But real black bears live in the woods. And, they don’t get the fact that that paved trail is just your imaginary world where black bears never venture to maul feminists to death. Uber doesn’t need to investigate a sexist company culture. Do bosses and managers need to stick to better boundaries? Absolutely. But that applies whether male or female.
Sure, we can ask riders to pay higher fares to cover the cost of public relations people and human resource managers for a better corporate culture. Or, we can just grow up and realize the alligators were here first. Men dominate the working world for a reason. And, as a side note, alligators create gator holes that provide sustenance for other wildlife. Without the alligator, the ecosystem suffers. And without high-performing executives to bring home the bacon, an Uber housewife has to log in more driving miles to buy the new shoes.
Uberhousewife is annoyed that a driven executive type male passenger gave her a bad rating for her navigation skills today, but forgives him because at least I was able to use the ladies room while he gathered his brief case and important looking papers. Uberhousewife does not put luggage in the trunk for anyone, but you are welcome to do it yourself if I remember to pop open the trunk. Just don't mess up my shopping bags.
It took me a few days to figure out there was an Uber consumer boycott going on, and about a week before the Uber bings picked back up again. It seems to me that some riders had noble intentions of showing their displeasure with the Donald Trump refugee ban. But in the end, they just needed any excuse to feel like it was OK to go back to using Uber. The major reason? Lyft just takes too long. Most Uber passengers are now spoiled by the quick pick-up times, at least where I drive in the Tampa area. With Lyft, the wait time is often 15 to 25 minutes.
I used to remain neutral on political matters, understanding the old rule of avoiding topics related to politics, religion and vegetarianism. Who doesn’t like a good cheeseburger sub from my hometown in Maryland? Well, evidently not the vegans riding in my car. But I digress. An Uber passenger told me her friends were deleting their Uber app because Uber drivers continued giving rides during a work stoppage at JFK International Airport. As an Uber driver, I definitely noticed a decrease in rides. So, I bailed and switched on my Lyft app. During the week I drove for Lyft, I heard a lot of political views. I’m the kind of driver who switches my political views to match the views of my passenger. With Lyft, this paid off with better tips. With Uber, I found most passengers just really don’t care about politics. They just want to get to their McJobs, community college or a sporting event downtown. Most Uber passengers do not tip me. The ones who do tip me are not the people you would expect to tip such as the 27-year-old woman tonight who needed a ride back to drug rehab where she was staying off crystal meth and spice.
As far as the Delete Uber campaign, it forced me out of my Uber comfort zone. For a few days, I switched back and forth between Lyft and Uber until the controversy settled down. While driving for Uber, I picked up a Chinese student attending the University of South Florida as part of an international program. She told me the Trump policies would likely mean she can’t stay in the United States after completing her master’s degree in finance. She had expected to stay and work in finance in the U.S. after graduating. She did not feel any animosity toward Uber drivers or any ill will toward the company. Meanwhile, Lyft passengers told me they did not like that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was on an economic advisory council for Trump. Of course, we now know Kalanick stepped down. I’m not sure how serving on an advisory council or board means a person agrees with the President. Does talking to Trump mean you support him? I met Trump in the 1990s when he was a judge for the Miss U.S.A pageant in Gary, Indiana. Just because I covered the pageant for the daily newspaper doesn’t mean I agreed with Trump’s agenda at the time to promote his casinos in poor areas or that I championed beauty pageants. But I forgot. We live in a world where people don’t think for themselves. If a friend tells you to delete your Uber app, you do it perhaps without thinking about the fact that many of the drivers are in fact immigrants who need to make a living. When I met Trump, I didn’t know anything about narcissistic personality disorder, but I knew about the objectification of women and feminism. I simply balanced that out with the fact that pageants are fun for some people and draw tourism. Trump was just playing the game at that time. He is still playing the game, but now his casino is not on Lake Michigan but is the entire world.
As an Uber driver, I no longer notice the effects of the #DeleteUber campaign. If I drive for Lyft, I’ll hear more political talk. Lyft passengers tend to head toward St. Pete as opposed to Tampa, which isn’t surprising since St. Petersburg is more liberal. I’ve yet to hear any passenger (Lyft or Uber) sing the praises of Trump. One passenger half-heartedly said Trump is a good businessman, but then his enthusiasm fizzled out as he couldn’t think of anything specific.
Generally, the Lyft passengers are dedicated so much to their liberal views that they are willing to wait the extra few minutes to get a Lyft ride. Some people just aren’t as focused. For example, a sweet student who attends the University of Tampa told me she tried Lyft, but got a driver who did not speak English. She said he started to take the toll road before realizing he might have to pay a toll. He actually backed up on the toll road ramp with other cars beeping at him. “We are going to die,” she thought to herself. As soon as she saw a store, she asked him to drop her off. After she got out of the vehicle, she called for an Uber. Of course, the fact that he was a bad driver had little to do with Lyft or Uber, but she had the perception that Uber drivers are safer. Most passengers are not willing to die for a political stand. And they certainly aren’t willing to wait more than a few minutes for that bargain ride to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
Uberhousewife takes a break from cleaning her house, cooking and doing laundry by driving Uber passengers who don't have the nerve to complain about "women drivers." She believes the recent complement she received for "good navigation skills" was made in jest by a rider. If you would like to write a blog on your experiences driving for Uber, contact us at email@example.com.
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