Thinking of driving for Lyft?

One of the things to consider before deciding to drive for Lyft is they have absolutely no problem sending you on trips that are guaranteed to make you lose money. Case in point, the trip they sent me on the other day.

Lyft sent me 21 miles away to pick up a rider who wanted a ride from his house to a liquor store around the corner. I drove him to the store and waited while he bought beer. He then got back in the car and I drove him back to his house.

The entire round trip from his house, to the liquor store, and back to his house was less than a mile. Lyft was aware of this when they dispatched me to pick up the rider 21 miles away. Riders enter their location and where they want to go when requesting a ride.

Uber handles issues like this differently. If a driver has to drive an extended distance to pick up a rider, they pay the driver for the inconvenience. Lyft doesn’t do this. Considering how Lyft’s business model seems to be based on imitating everything Uber does, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Lyft starts paying drivers in a similar fashion.

Until they do, don’t allow Lyft to send you far away to pick up a passenger. The only reason I accepted it was because I was worried about my acceptance rating so I’d be eligible for the weekly promotion.

That’s never happing again.

Lyft weekly guarantees are a waste of time

Your Lyft acceptance rate is whatever Lyft wants it to be.

One of the things I do to augment my income as a freelance web developer is drive for Uber and Lyft. Oddly enough, it works out well. When I don’t have anything to do for a client, I go out and drive strangers around. It helps pay the bills.

Because Lyft, or as I like to call them, Fake Uber, doesn’t have enough drivers in Western Maryland, they’ve been running promotions to get people like me to drive more. Last week they guaranteed $200 if you drove at least 20 riders and had a 90 percent acceptance rate. That means you accepted at least nine out of every ten ride requests.

Because I made more than $200 last week driving for Lyft, the promotion didn’t kick in for me.

This week, Lyft has been running a similar promotion. Drive at least 25 rides and maintain a 90 percent acceptance rate and you are guaranteed $270.

I’ve been trying to meet this goal. Normally I log into both Uber and Lyft and take the first request I get and then go offline on the other rideshare service. This week, I haven’t even been logging into Uber. I’ve been driving for Lyft the entire time.

As of this afternoon, I have 27 rides for the week, but my acceptance rate is only 87 percent. That’s three percent below what I need for the $270 promotion.

This makes no sense. I’ve only declined two (2) requests this entire week. One was a passenger I already drove that day. He was both rude and he smelled bad. The other was a passenger who’s ride was going to take longer than 45 minutes. Both Uber and Lyft tell you when a rider needs to go somewhere far away. That almost always means they need a ride to Baltimore or Washington DC. When you’re participating in a promotion like this, it doesn’t behoove you to go on long trips. You want short trips. You want the kind of trips you can do a lot of in a day.

This week I’ve been offered 29 trips and I’ve accepted 27 of them. That works out to be over 92 percent. The problem is Lyft is showing that my acceptance rate is at 87%. I tried emailing them and it was a complete waste of time. This was their response:

Welcome to Lyft Support, as I understand the importance of having clear information and your Acceptance Rate inquiry deserves real attention and accurate solutions, let me be the one who can fix it for you.

Richard, I would love to help you change your Acceptance Rate, however, we are not allowed to do so due to Lyft policies. Therefore, I would recommend you to keep driving and providing amazing ride experiences!

I didn’t ask to have my acceptance rate changed. I asked how they determined my acceptance rate was 87 percent when basic math shows it should be over 92 percent.

It’s a lesson learned. From now on, I know to ignore incentives offered by Lyft. If you satisfy their requirements for the incentive, they’ll just monkey with the numbers so you magically don’t qualify. There’s a hard record of the number of drives, but there is no hard record showing how many ride requests they’ve sent you. They can simply manipulate that as they see fit so it comes out in their favor.

Your Lyft acceptance rate is whatever Lyft wants it to be.

Update

I only drive Monday through Friday, so my week with Lyft is officially over. I finished the week with 31 rides with an acceptance rate of 89%. I earned $256.78. My guess is that if I earned $14 more, my acceptance rate would have magically shot up to 90%, qualifying me for the guaranteed $270. If I earned $14 more, I would have earned more than the guaranteed $270.

From now on, I’m not going to worry about the guarantees. I’ll just drive and let what happens, happen.

Two black men arrested for not buying anything at Starbucks

Does Starbucks need to put up signs stating that its limited seating is for paying customers?

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross is defending the actions of his police officers after they arrested two black men for refusing to leave a Starbucks after not buying anything. From CNN:

The employees told officers the two men wanted to use the restroom but were told the facilities are only for paying customers. The Starbucks employees then asked the men to leave, but they refused, Ross says.

Officers responded and asked the men three times to “politely to leave the location because they were being asked to leave by employees because they were trespassing.” When the men again refused to leave, they were arrested “without incident,” Ross says.

The men were taken to a police station and released when it became clear Starbucks didn’t want to press charges.

Driving for Uber and Lyft, I often find myself sitting around waiting for a ride request. I try to stay in my car parked in a parking lot. McDonald’s is a favorite choice of mine to wait for a ride request. Sometimes I go through the drive-through and get a coffee, sometimes I don’t.

I’ve never been asked to leave while just sitting in my car in the parking lot playing Candy Crush or reading a book, but if I was, I’d like to believe I would do exactly what was asked and leave.

That’s the thing. I cannot imagine being asked to leave by someone from McDonald’s and not doing what they asked. I really cannot imagine being asked to leave by members of law enforcement and not doing what they asked. Police carry guns. I always try to do what people with guns ask me to do.

I’ve never walked into a Starbucks and just sat down and not bought anything. I guess I’ve always thought it was an unspoken agreed rule of living in a civilized society that you buy something before sitting down in Starbucks. Does Starbucks need to put up signs stating that its limited seating is for paying customers? I guess they do.

A big part of this story is the two men were waiting for a third man to join them. Did the two men who were arrested tell anyone at Starbucks they were waiting for someone to join their party?

I’m not sure that the two men were black had anything to do with the incident. Then again, the two black men were asked three times to leave Starbucks by the police and they refused all three times. I’ve been told by groups like Black Lives Matter the police will murder black men without provocation and when they do commit murder, they are not held legally responsible. Because of this fact, black men are fearful of the police. It doesn’t seem these two men at Starbucks were at all fearful of the police. If they were, they would have done what they were asked.

This incident could have been easily avoided. Even if they didn’t like coffee, they could have bought a $2 bottled water or a $5 cookie. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume the two men wanted to be arrested. That would just be silly, right?

Update

Protesters have been pouncing on Starbucks. The guy with the megaphone is so woke, looking directly at him is like staring into the Sun.

Rich Johnston is not in charge at Bleeding Cool

Bleeding Cool, the pinnacle of online clickbait comic book journalism, has been receiving some well-deserved flack lately. Joe Glass, a Bleeding Cool staff writer tried to use fraud to take down a YouTube channel because he didn’t agree with what the YouTuber was saying about Marvel Comics. Joe Glass the journalist tried to de-platform someone because they voiced their opinions.

When exactly in journalism school do they teach that?

Free speech

Remember when the comic book community valued free speech? Joe Glass wrote a Bleeding Cool article this past August that claimed one of the problems in comic fandom today is that free speech law has not caught up with modern technology. Put that on a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund flier.

When people blame Rich Johnston for the shady, unethical behavior at Bleeding Cool, they’re making a mistake.

People assume Rich Johnston is in charge at Bleeding Cool. They assume Joe Glass and the other journalists employed by Bleeding Cool work for him.

Rich Johnston does not own Bleeding Cool

The facts do not support the notion that Rich Johnston is in charge of anything at Bleeding Cool. Rich Johnston doesn’t own Bleeding Cool. According to Bleeding Cool’s About page, Bleeding Cool is owned by Avatar Press.

A WHOIS search of the bleedingcool.com domain shows the domain is owned by Avatar Press. Rich Johnston’s name appears nowhere on the WHOIS record.

Mark Seifert runs Bleeding Cool

According to the Bleeding Cool About page, Mark Seifert manages the website, not Rich Johnston. Also, according to Mark Seifert’s Twitter, he’s the managing editor of Bleeding Cool.

According to Rich Johnston’s Twitter, he’s “head writer” at Bleeding Cool. His byline at Bleeding Cool says he’s “chief writer” and founder of Bleeding Cool. It seems like he can’t even get his own honorary title right.

The fact that Bleeding Cool hired Jude Terror, formally from The Outhousers, should demonstrate just how much power Rich Johnston wields at Bleeding Cool. Rich wrote this about the hiring:

I wasn’t consulted on this, obviously. Frankly, I wish he wasn’t now part of Bleeding Cool. I advised against it, but it seems my counsel was ignored.

Say what you want about Rich Johnston, he’s clearly not in charge of anything over at Bleeding Cool.

If you have a problem with anything going on at Bleeding Cool or anything someone on the staff is doing, and you’re complaining to Rich Johnston, you’re doing it wrong. Take your complaint to Mark Seifert or to Avatar Press. They’re the ones calling the shots at Bleeding Cool, not Rich Johnston.

I upgraded my iPhone 6s Plus to iOS 11 and now GPS does not work

I upgraded my iPhone’s operating system to iOS 11 when it told me to. Big mistake. Not only did key features of the iPhone change (Podcasts) to less capable versions, the built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) is now junk. It works until it doesn’t work.

When driving for Uber, GPS is very important

If I didn’t drive for Uber, I probably wouldn’t care about the GPS. At least not as much as I do now. When you drive for Uber, the GPS is very important. Not only does it tell you where to go to pick up your passenger, it continuously sends tracking information back to Uber so that it can keep the passenger updated as to your status.

Yesterday the GPS on my iPhone was not working correctly.

The first trip of the day, I picked up a passenger at a nearby grocery store. Uber was sending me up-to-date navigational information to the pick-up spot. When I pulled up to the front of the store, I had to wait a few minutes for the passenger. The reason? Because her Uber ridder app showed that I had not yet left, let alone arrived. Even though the GPS was working for me, it evidently wasn’t sending updates to Uber.

My navigational system has fallen and it won’t get up

On the next trip, the Uber wasn’t sending me navigational information. It was like I was looking at a screenshot of a navigational screen. As I was driving to the general direction of where the passenger was, I rebooted the Uber app and then rebooted the entire iPhone. When it came back up, I had to cancel the ride because I had taken far too much time getting the iPhone up and running. In the Uber settings, I switched from the native navigation system to Waze. I then drove around a bit with Waze up to make sure the screen was updating my location. I appeared to be working, so I went back into Uber and went online.

A few minutes later, I got a passenger request. It was over at Prime Outlets, an outlet mall in Hagerstown off Interstate 70. Right before I got to Prime Outlets, I got a text from the passenger asking me if I was on my way. Great, it sounded as though the iPhone wasn’t sending navigational updates to Uber. I replied that I was and would be there in a few minutes.

I picked her up and drove her home. She was a frequent passenger of mine. After dropping her off, I got another request right away. I began driving towards the new passenger. The navigation system was doing what it was supposed to do, at least it appeared on my end that it was.

About a minute from the new passenger’s location, the passenger canceled the ride. No biggie, since it has been over two minutes since they requested the ride, at least I’ll get the $5.25 cancellation fee.

Where’s my $5.25 cancellation fee?

A few minutes went by and the cancellation fee didn’t appear on my account. It showed $0.00. I then looked at the last trip, the one where I picked up the rider at Prime Outlets. It showed I earned $3.45 for the trip, the bare minimum you can make on a single trip driving for Uber. The trip showed it took 15 minutes, 35 seconds and was 0.00 miles.

I logged out of Uber and went home. Then I emailed Uber support. I told them I should have received a cancellation fee because it had been more than two minutes since the rider requested the trip. The got back to me and stated the cancellation fee did not apply because it showed I was taking too long to get to the passenger. My iPhone was obviously not sending navigation info to Uber.

I also contacted Uber about the $3.45 fare. They informed me that I would need to send them the following:
– Date of trip
– Time of trip
– Pickup and drop-off location
– Fare
– Rider name

Once they have that, they’ll be able to assist me. As much as I’d like to blame Uber for this, the problem is with my iPhone. The problem with my phone is because Apple essentially forced me to upgrade the operating system.

Apple sucks and I hate it

I erased the iPhone and reloaded the OS. What else could I do? I just finished paying off this iPhone. The last thing I want to do is get a new phone. I’d like to roll back the OS to the prior system, but Apple doesn’t allow that.

I wish Apple cared less about protecting the privacy rights of murderous dead Islamists and more about taking care of its existing customers. Just because they release a new iPhone doesn’t mean I want to buy it. By forcing a crappy OS on my two-year-old phone, breaking features I rely upon, doesn’t mean I will go out and buy shiny new iPhone 8. My iPhone was working perfectly fine until the new operating system.

When I do buy a new phone, it will not be a phone made by Apple.

I blame Tim Cook

I know it’s not rational, but I have some major hatred for Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. For some reason, when I was erasing my iPhone and reinstalling the same awful OS, I was picturing him laughing at me.

The laughing Tim Cook is the worst of all the Tim Cooks.

Again, this was not a rational thing to do. I’m fully aware of this. I’m sure Tim Cook is a wonderful person with many redeeming qualities. That said, yesterday I wanted to put him in a rear naked chokehold and watch him go to sleep.

I decided to put the iPhone down for a while and take two Xanax.

Nobody will ever get rich driving for Uber

In retrospect, I think the basis of my anger had more to do with where my life is right now. I allowed myself to get worked up about a missing $5.25 cancellation fee. Nobody will ever get rich driving for Uber. When you drive for Uber, every dollar is important. I now have to go into Uber’s system and find the information about the zero mile trip. They have all this information, yet it’s up to me to obtain it and send it to them.  For what, to get them to pay me a few more bucks?

It sucks to be in that position.

My new Nintendo 3DS XL

I picked up a New Galaxy Style Nintendo 3DS XL at Walmart yesterday. The price was rolled back to $179.00 from the original price of $199. I’ve wanted to pick one up for a while now. I wanted one to use while waiting for Uber requests.

The problem is, I don’t have any games for it. I had a physical copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, but I cannot find it anywhere. It’s just gone. I tried to download the games I paid for through the digital Nintendo Game Store with my old 3DS, but it tells me there’s nothing to download.

I wanted to buy a physical copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It’s running $19.99 everywhere that sells it.

Target

My first stop was Target. They had the game, but there was nobody in electronics.

Toys R Us

They also had it, but like Target, there was nobody working in electronics. There was a sign saying if anyone needed help, to go to the customer service desk.

GameStop

They were selling a used copy for $18.99. I tried to buy it, but it was like the register area was at the mouth of a black hole. Time slowed down to a crawl. The employee wearing a beanie was helping someone do something that involved a going to the back of the store multiple times. There were two people in front of me waiting to buy a Funko figure. The other store employee was talking to them, talking about how he got his grandmother into watching The Walking Dead. I guess the figure was from The Walking Dead.

At that point, a woman and a developmentally challenged man came into the store.  The developmentally challenged man began making very loud noises. The problem was that I began having a mini-panic attack. The only thing stopping it from becoming a full panic attack was that I left GameStop. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Best Buy

My last attempt at buying a physical copy of the game was at Best Buy. They had it in individual anti-theft plastic cases. This made buying it very easy. I bought it and went home.

What a hassle.  I think I’ll be checking out the Nintendo Game Store in the future. Even if my purchases disappear, it’s easier than going out in the real world.