Tuesday, February 15, 2022

If there's a company that should be associated with eating lightbulbs, this would probably be it.

 You just know they pitched it as 'edgy'... 

Uber Eats wants America to know that it delivers more than just food. So it delivers some not-food to celebrities including Jennifer Coolidge, Trevor Noah, Gwyneth Paltrow and “Succession’s” Nicholas Braun — who eat it. The bag says “Uber Eats,” after all. Coolidge munches on some paper towels. Noah bites a pencil and a lightbulb. Paltrow takes a hunk off her infamous “This smells like my vagina” candle.

It’s all set to the tune of that insidious TikTok earworm, “Oh No.”

“Fun” fact: Eating things that aren’t food is technically a disorder called pica. Though the commercial has small print at the bottom discouraging people from tasting their inedible Eats deliveries — no one wants to be responsible for the next Tide Pods challenge — the commercial was so cringeworthy that it prompted a response from a government agency: “Do not eat soap,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tweeted partway through the game.

Cory Doctorow had an epic take-down of Uber and Lyft a few days ago, highly recommended and almost certainly the topic of a future post. Here's the section on Uber Eats.
The press also repeated claims that Uber's food delivery business had reached "break-even," something that is demonstrably untrue for anyone who actually looks closely at the balance sheet. The reality is that Uber is losing more money on food delivery than it is on its unlicensed taxi business – 63 margin points worse than taxis in 2019 and still 25 margin points worse in 2021.

Uber has been blowing an absolute fortune on trying to corner the food-delivery market. It bought Postmates, Drizzly and Gopuff and tried to merge them into a competitor for Doordash, a money-losing food-delivery company that bought out 12 of its own competitors. Neither company has managed to explain how they can make money while losing money on every delivery, though their evident strategy is to kickstart their businesses by forcing otherwise profitable restaurants to sell below cost. When they have drained these restaurants dry, they'll replace them with "ghost kitchens" – badly ventilated shipping containers where misclassified employees churn out meals for delivery.

There's one way in which food delivery is good for Uber's business: it allows the company to continue to trumpet its "growth," and keep hope alive for the suckers who bought out the company's early investors. The company touts its food delivery runs as "trips," and thus shows the number of trips as rising.

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