The gig economy of sharing rides and delivering groceries has become notorious for exploiting and abusing workers – and now motherboard has a look at a particularly bad example. A new piece is digging in Target delivery company for delivery of shopping Shipt, researching all additional work drivers feels pressured to just stay active and continue to receive work on the platform. It is a thorough investigation into a corporate culture that seems to be based on fear and intimidation.
Employees say that Shipt customers often live in gated and chic communities and that the app encourages employees to stick gifts such as thank-you cards, hot chocolate, flowers, and balloons on orders (paid from their own pocket) and offer them to walk the dog and put their waste away, out of politeness. Shipt calls this type of service “Bringing the Magic”, which can improve the ratings of employees of customers that factor in the algorithm that determines who is offered the most lucrative orders.
So it is not enough to deliver the customer’s order to Target. If you want to keep getting good reviews and more work, you have to remove their waste and walk with their dogs. Cool system! The article also describes how Shipt employees are concerned that the company will take revenge on them for posting negative comments or asking targeted questions on internal notice boards and Facebook groups. An employee described that he was temporarily deactivated after criticizing the company’s new logo.
And then there is the issue of pay: employees of temporary workers told motherboard that the company has recently switched from a simple payment structure per order to a confusing algorithm that takes into account … some factors … to determine how they are paid. You will be shocked to hear that the new algorithm does not benefit employees; some report that their wages have decreased by 50 percent since Shipt made the switch.
It is part of a disturbing pattern for gig worker platforms. DoorDash had to deal with complaints, they were skimptips for drivers. Uber workers went on strike to protest against unfair pay, poor working conditions and a general lack of transparency of the company. Independent contractors for Amazon has described cruel working conditions, including long services without breaks to meet the requirements of Prime shipping orders. And The edge has written about the terrible conditions for content moderators on Facebook and the waiver statement from YouTube moderators that they are likely to get PTSD from work.
But go read this motherboard story about Shipt because it contains lots of great details about how real people are affected when a company treats them like disposable wheels in their company wheel. And you need to know when you place an order online – whether it’s at Amazon, Target or another company – how they treat the employees who deliver your deliveries.