Should You Tip Your Bird Scooter?

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This may be an unpopular opinion, I don’t have sympathy for scooters. They aren’t even real people! Why the hell should we give these scooters free handouts?

Last-mile electric scooter startups Lime and Bird introduced tipping as a way to “say thank you to scooter for going the extra mile to make your ride enjoyable,” according to a Lime spokesperson, “Of course tipping is completely optional, but it does let us pay them much less. Considering that many of our scooters are in less-than-ideal economic positions, tipping can be fundamental to their survival.” Bird scooters have earned more than $200 million in tips since in-app tipping launched in June 2019.

I asked Dr. Ngala Muboto, professor at UC Berkeley humanities department if it’s morally correct to tip scooters. She believes that the key to understanding the importance of tipping, especially with scooters, “is to empathize with the difficult life that most scooters have. The vast majority of scooters have a lack of adequate housing. Many sleep in the cold, on streets or the sidewalk every night. According to leading research, 7 out of 10 scooters don’t know where their next lubrication will come from. While stereotypes of ankle hitting scooters are propagated, scooters are in fact 75% more likely to be the victims of assault and graffiti than to commit a crime themselves.” However, I’m not convinced or concerned.

Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of seeing these things in our country. I don’t see a “Made in America Sticker” on these things. Can’t they get a real job instead of leaving skid marks on our sidewalks? I work 8 hours a day and these scooters spend all day sitting on the side of the road and lying under bridges. At night they just wait outside, hoping to be picked up by a man in a truck for a small charge. I’m not saying all scooters are lazy, I’m sure some of them are fine. My daughter has a scooter that is very clean and well maintained and we like it a lot. It’s almost family! We never give it a tip though. It’s hard working and giving it extra money would be insulting.

These scooters are purposely classified as independent contractors, so businesses don’t have to give health care or insurance. This was a genius move for Bird and Lime. With a simple stretching of the truth they were able to stretch their profits. To expect Bird and Lime to provide their employees the same protections such as other large employers is unfair. This is an especially heinous suggestion as the COVID-19 crisis devastates the scooter companies usual sources of income. 

In my very liberal state of California, there is an on-going legal battle to define the difference between a contractor and a employee. But that’s boring and cumbersome! Luckily for us, your favorite and extremely ethical app based transportation companies have written Proposition 22 to save the day. 

Proposition 22 drills a big freedom hole in existing laws which would allow app-based companies to treat their employees however they want. Now, unlike every other company, these would have the choice of giving their employees healthcare, a living, and insurance or making lots of money! 

America was founded on making lots of money by taking advantage of the cheapest labor possible, and this has never caused problems! This year you have the opportunity to help a few executives follow that fundamental American Dream. Vote yes on Proposition 22 to say “Fuck No!” to handing out “basic labor protections” to scooters and other employees of app based companies.

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