Money to Burn

So, apparently, a woman, who happened to be a model, was fat shamed by an Uber driver this past week who, from looking at his photo, was in no good position to fat shame anyone. Not to be content with his behavior, the woman took to Instagram to tell her story. Which is where I came across it.

In her post, this woman said that yes, she knew she was fat but her wallet was even fatter and she would no longer spend money on Uber. I don’t believe she was calling for an outright boycott, just that she herself, personally, would no longer spend money on their services due to the treatment she received. The story in and of itself was not all that new or interesting – things like this happen to women each and every day, to varying degrees.

What I did find interesting was a comment by another person that said while they guessed it was a shame what happened to the woman (because really, who doesn’t like a little body shaming with their car ride?), they couldn’t understand just why Uber should be held accountable for their driver’s actions. They went a step further and said if a cashier at Target had been rude to them, they might not go through that person’s line again, but they wouldn’t stop shopping at all Targets. Given their statement, however…and just for the sake of clarity here, it would appear they wouldn’t even stop shopping at the store in which the incident took place. They would simply choose a different cashier in the future.

Now maybe this commenter is a glutton for punishment or maybe they just have a low bar for how they’re treated. Personally, if I went to Target – or anywhere, for that matter – and was body shamed or insulted in some way, I wouldn’t be seeing more of that particular cashier either, because I wouldn’t continue giving money to a store that allowed such behavior. I don’t expect red carpet treatment, but on the flip side of that, I work too hard for my money to give it to someone who is rude, doesn’t appreciate my business, or makes me uncomfortable.

So. I have a better question for that commenter. Why shouldn’t an employer be held accountable for its employee? Especially those in the service arena who, on some level or another, depend on their quality of customer service to promote their business.

The woman from this Uber incident has every right to withhold her money from a business that, if not actively cultivating rudeness, at the least allows it to go on. Uber has control over their drivers’ actions and like any employer, should be accountable for what their employees do on the job. If they want this woman’s business, or anyone else’s business who happens to sympathize with her for the treatment she received, they should institute rules regarding the treatment of customers – and if they already have those rules in place, then they should enforce them. I mean, that’s just good business sense.

Choosing where we spend our money is one of the greatest strengths consumers have. Why on earth would someone want to give perfectly good money to a company that insults them?

6 thoughts on “Money to Burn

  1. I agree with boycotting big box stores! I am not sure if Uber “hires” their drivers since they do background checks but not necessarily interviews. Just in case you didn’t realize there isn’t even a uniform charge to use their car trip fares. It is like a donation.
    People need to be kinder, more careful towards customers, especially when they are in the service industry. Great article and do believe someone should speak out to a manager when rudely treated. hugs xo

    • Fees vary, I thought, due to location and type of car as well as time of day (or if a special event is taking place like a baseball or football game or concert — in which case fees often go up). The fees are set by Uber, are paid to Uber, and the drivers get a commission from Uber per ride. While they may not have the “usual” employment contract, drivers are only driving for Uber at the pleasure of Uber. No doubt they can be counseled and/or fired by Uber at any time should their actions negatively affect Uber’s reputation and bottom line. If Uber were to make it clear that certain behaviors were not tolerated, their drivers, generally speaking, would know to act a certain way if they wanted to keep their job.

      You are so very right — people need to be kinder in general. As simple as it sounds, the world would be a better place.

  2. Anyone who doesn’t “vote with their dollars” is part of the problem, not the solution. Economics are far more complex than simple “supply and demand” but the same dynamic exists across multiple measurable dimensions. If Company A treats you like trash and Company B treats you like a queen for the same price, Company A won’t be around long. But look at Spirit Airlines – they treat you like trash but only charge a fraction of what United or American charges, so that’s enough of a tradeoff for enough people to keep Spirit flying. (It doesn’t help that American and United do a pretty good job of treating people like trash every now and then.)

    Given that, folks who just “go to another cashier” are telling management that there are no consequences to treating the customers like slime molds. (See, I didn’t say “trash” again!) Until there are real consequences, they’ll keep dishing out anything the public will accept. Bitching about it doesn’t count – shopping elsewhere does.

  3. I had recently an incident with Uber, too. I’m never using it again. The driver most likely did not know the town, or whatever. After waiting for 35 minutes (!!!) on a busy Toronto street, I finally got in a regular cab. It was less expensive, as well. What Uber did is they charged me a cancellation fee, although, nobody ever showed up and I did not cancel anything. The driver called and said he was making a U-turn, and that was it. I kept checking out every single car looking like that one which I was supposed to have. I think I don’t like their policy and the fact that lots of people who want to make a buck driving their car for Uber are totally unprofessional, have no service skills and no knowledge of the neighborhood they are trying to operate.
    It might work for somebody, but it did not work for me. Uber stands behind their lack of professionalism and behind their totally bad attitude, and that is why I will not and I will advise everybody who has another option to never use UBER. Rude people with very little knowledge: that is what I have seen so far. There might be different folks, too, but I personally haven’t met them.

    • I’m sorry you had that experience! I’m glad you were able to find a cab. I’ve only had ONE experience with Uber personally and that was a positive one. Maybe I got lucky… but I won’t use them again, for a variety of reasons. I’m going to try Lyft next time.

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