clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Uber Eats Is Turning Into a Pyramid Scheme

Plus, what do you call those multicolored freezer ices, and more news to start your day

Uber Eats courier on a bike
Uber Eats courier on a bike
Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

French Uber Eats couriers are outsourcing their jobs to undocumented immigrants, and reaping the profits

In the latest edition of “late capitalism is a doozy,” the New York Times has a report on Uber Eats couriers in France who are essentially pulling a more dastardly Tom Sawyer, farming out their work to undocumented immigrants, and keeping the profits for themselves. The Times interviewed Aymen Arfaoui, an 18-year-old migrant, who earns about half the wages Uber Eats pays, as he “owed the rest to a French bicycle courier who considered Uber Eats’ terms too cheap — 3.50 euros (just under $4) per order plus a bit for mileage — to do the work himself.” Uber Eats couriers rent out their accounts, and sometimes take up to 50 percent of the earnings.

Labor groups and other apps are looking into it, but there seems to be little stopping a similar scam from popping up in the U.S., where we have both a rapidly growing gig economy and a large, undocumented workforce. It’s a classic tale of the impoverished trying to find a leg up on the backs of the even-more-impoverished, fighting for scraps while Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pockets $45 million a year. [NY Times]

And in other news...

  • The Times also reports on the “new sobriety,” aka “mindful drinking,” aka “drinking but not, like, every night.” Calling it a “trend” is a little silly, but more people are realizing there’s a big grey area between drinking all the time and never drinking at all, and are interrogating their relationship to alcohol, and that’s a good thing! [NY Times]
  • A Long Island man robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts and then tried to flee in an Uber. His driver gave him up. [NY Post]
  • A deadly valley fever is hitting California farm workers, but it’s hard to track since a lot of them don’t know when they got it. It’s caused by a fungus that thrives in dry soil, which we’re getting more of because of climate change. [NBC News]
  • Whataburger was sold to a Chicago-based firm, outraging Texans, and inspiring Houston Texans player J.J. Watt to tweet that the state should pitch in and buy the chain back. [Texas Monthly, Twitter]
  • Airline food workers are voting on whether or not to authorize strikes. [CBS News]
  • Chobani paid off another school district’s lunch debt, this time sending $85,000 to the Twin Falls School District in Idaho, where there’s a large Chobani plant. [CNN]
  • Ragu pasta sauce is being recalled because the sauce could contain plastic. [WXYZ]
  • In May, Twitter user @fetusleen restarted the perennial great food debate: what do you call those colorful tubes of flavored ice you keep in the freezer all summer? It really took off last week, with people battling over Otter Pops, Freezy Pops, Icy Poles, Flavor Ice, or just plain popsicles. Everyone’s wrong, though, it’s Ice Manicotti. [Food Network, Twitter]