Why people hate driving for Uber

I decided to drive for Uber today. I went out this afternoon and ended up taking only three trips. The second trip irritated me. Not the trip, but the way Uber handled it.

Uber sent me a notification that there was a rider at the Hagerstown Walmart. I accepted the trip and drove to Walmart. The rider sent me a text message telling me which entrance he was at. I got there and helped him put his bags in the car. I began the trip and I learned from the Uber Driver app that he wanted to go to Greencastle, Pennsylvania. It was around 11 miles away.

I got on Interstate 81 and began driving up to Greencastle. The rider asked if I would mind stopping at a convenience store before we got to his destination. No problem. When I pulled off the interstate at his exit, I stopped at the convenience store he wanted to go to. I waited about five minutes while he bought whatever he wanted to buy. He came back out to the car and I drove him to his destination.

As soon as I dropped him off and completed the trip, I put the Uber Driver app in offline mode. I was in Pennsylvania. With a car registered in Maryland, I knew I could only begin Uber rides in Maryland, Washington DC, and Deleware.

As soon as I got back south of the Mason-Dixon line, I tried to put the Uber Driver app back in online mode. It wouldn’t let me. It said I was in an area that I wasn’t registered with Uber to drive. I was back in Hagerstown at this point. I went ahead and rebooted my iPhone. That allowed me to bring up the Uber Driver app and go online.

It still didn’t show how much I made from my last trip. I didn’t worry about it because I know sometimes it can take a while for trips to be tabulated. I took another trip and decided to call it a day. It annoyed me that my trip up to Greencastle still wasn’t showing in my earnings report.

I stopped by the grocery store, bought a few things, and went home.

Once I got home, I checked Uber and they’re still processing my second trip. How many hours will it take? I’m sure the fact that the trip took me to Pennsylvania made things more complicated for Uber, but Uber sent me there. They should have the ability to calculate trips from the Hagerstown Walmart to Greencastle. People from Greencastle routinely shop at the Hagerstown Walmart.

Uber needs to focus on improving their basic software and the ability to process trips in a quick and accurate manner instead of trying to build a fleet of soulless robot cars with reportedly stolen software.

Walmart helping scalpers gouge customers on the Nintendo 3DS XL

The New Nintendo 3DS XL, a handheld gaming console first released nearly two years ago is still sold out nationwide. The units usually sell for $199.99. Because of the demand and non-availability, third-party “retailers” are selling these units on eBay, Amazon, and even Walmart, at a huge markup.

So if you need to buy a Nintendo 3DS XL, all you have to do is go to Walmart.com and pay $145 above MSRP, and it can be yours.

Walmart is helping scalpers gouge their customers - Bent Corner

The website shows that’s not being sold by Walmart, but by BOS Inc. Who exactly is BOS Inc.? The Walmart site is pretty vague about that. It shows they’re located in the state of Michigan. At least they’re charging Michigan sales tax. It wouldn’t surprise me if BOS Inc. was owned by Walmart.

So not only did Walmart, the largest most powerful retailer in the world, not get enough New Nintendo 3DS XL units to satisfy demand, they’re serving as a conduit for scalpers.

Back in the day, scalpers would prowl the aisles at Walmart on the lookout for high-demand toys and collectibles. They would buy them and then immediately post them on eBay a huge markup. Now, Walmart has made it even easier for scalpers. Instead of making them go to eBay, they’re allowing them to gouge customers right on the Walmart website.

Walmart is helping scalpers gouge their customers - Bent CornerAs soon as Christmas is over, I’m sure all sorts of Nintendo 3DS units will be found everywhere. That’s usually the way it works. With that said, who would pay $345 for a New Nintendo 3DS XL now when they can be found next month for $199? Parents who feel that because of Christmas, they have no choice but to pay too much. Non-custodial divorced parents are especially susceptible to this scam.

Non-custodial divorced parents are already in a vulnerable spot when it comes to their children. The time they get to see their children is usually very limited. In a desperate attempt to remain relevant to their son or daughter, they will often spend way too much money on Christmas, particularly when the other parent is doing the same thing.

It’s sad, and it’s one of the reasons I hate Christmas.  

Bryton Mellott did nothing wrong

Bryton Mellott, 22, of Urbana, Illinois, burned an American flag and posted a photo of the act to his Facebook page. People reacting to the photo sent him death threats and reportedly even made threats against him employer, Walmart.

Police reviewed the photo Mr. Mellott posted on Facebook. They then went to Walmart to investigate the threats and to speak to Mr. Mellott. Because he declined to remove the Facebook post to “deescalate” the situation, the police arrested him.

They used a 2013 Illinois flag desecration law as grounds for the arrest.

Bryson Mellott's mug shot.
Bryson Mellott’s mug shot

Mellott was then released from custody after State’s Attorney Julia Rietz declined to file charges. She questioned the validity of the 2013 Illinois desecration law, pointing out that burning a flag is protected free speech.

Of course it is.

Some people want to treat the flag like an Islamist treats the Quran. If you value the flag than you should value the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment. If you don’t support Mr. Mellott’s right to free speech, even if you find how he expressed himself repulsive than you’ve helped make the flag meaningless.

Personally, I’m not a fan of flag burning. That’s why I choose not to do it. I have an American Flag displayed 24 hours a day in from of my home. I value the American flag because of what it represents.

The police really screwed up. They arrested Mr. Mellott because he would not do what they asked him to do, to remove the image from Facebook. They were wrong to ask him to remove the post and they were wrong to arrest him. They not only arrested him, they even published his personal information online, including his home address. What’s worse than getting online death threats? Having your local police then publish your home address.

My guess is that this will result in a civil rights lawsuit, a lawsuit Mr. Mellott will surely win. Good for him.

If the police were in the mood to arrest anyone, they should have arrested the people making threats against Mr. Mellott and his employer. Those people are the criminals, not Mr. Mellott. That might take some real police work. I guess it’s just easier to arrest some dumb unpatriotic kid working at Walmart.