I’ve voiced my dissatisfaction with Deliveroo before, but this is a rather more serious point than my light-hearted jibe at their crap adverts.
|I was out on Christmas Eve, heading over to The Boy’s flat for takeaway, wine, and nerdery, and I was Absolutely Bloody Fuming to have witnessed a transgression of the Highway Code that I felt I Should Do Something. If you’ve ever been in the car with me, you’ll know that my expectations of other drivers are exacting, and that my driving style is akin to that of Kenneth Noye.
I was using a pedestrian crossing, and waiting for the green man to appear as I had been instructed to do in my early years, and as We Should All Do (Rules 7 to 25 of the Highway Code). The much-awaited green man revealed himself, traffic approaching the crossing stopped, and about 30 of us (I live in the city centre; there’s rarely a time when it is not busy) stepped out, to continue our business on the other side.
Out of nowhere, a Deliveroo driver on a scooter shot through the red light, which had been that way for a good five seconds. He performed an emergency stop, but still hit someone, with whom he remonstrated for a minute or so before getting back on his round (so, fortunately, it wasn’t a serious collision). I was incensed that a fellow road user could be so inconsiderate and downright dangerous, so I put my Good Citizen Hat on and recorded the vehicle’s registration number. I was all ready to report it to the local fuzz and the Council’s licensing authority, but then I Calmed The F*ck Down, gained some perspective, and decided to conveniently erase what I had seen from my memory.
|See, I know that a) it’s not easy working in the Gig Economy, and b) that gentlemen will be lucky to be earning the minimum wage, let alone a living one. Did I really want to get him into trouble and plunge him into an even worse state of poverty? Even worse, he probably needs to risk his life and license in order to complete all the drops he needs to, to put food on the table.
And a bigger question, to which I do not know the answer – is it ethical for me to use services like Deliveroo and Uber, where it has been well-documented that their workers are getting a substandard deal? I mean, people do want to work for these companies, and without this questionable means of running a business, those people would be without jobs. But in using their services, I’m helping to keep things the way they are. We could have even had the same driver for our takeaway that night. At least we left them a tip – seriously, everyone, look after your delivery and taxi drivers. They do a difficult and poorly-paid job, and they are the grease that keeps society’s wheels turning.
It’s complicated, and I don’t know what the answer is. While I can stay informed on consumer & human rights issues, there is only so much I can actually do to reduce harm. Hell, living in the West, you’re still shitting on someone else even if you go off-grid and live in a sodding yurt. How about we start a conversation in the comments?