Friday, February 06, 2015

Uber but for Galatoires

Robert Reich: 
Defenders of on-demand work emphasize its flexibility. Workers can put in whatever time they want, work around their schedules, fill in the downtime in their calendars.

“People are monetizing their own downtime,” Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s business school, told the New York Times.

But this argument confuses “downtime” with the time people normally reserve for the rest of their lives.
There are still only twenty-four hours in a day. When “downtime” is turned into work time, and that work time is unpredictable and low-paid, what happens to personal relationships? Family? One’s own health?

Other proponents of on-demand work point to studies, such as one recently commissioned by Uber, showing Uber’s on-demand workers to be “happy.”

But how many of them would be happier with a good-paying job offering regular hours?

If you want to see a picture of what the so-called sharing economy is really all about, look no further than the Galatoire's lunch line.

This is definitely not the first time the topic of homeless (or college) placeholders has come up in relation to Galatoire's Friday lunch, especially during the insanely-packed Mardi Gras season. Local critics including Ian McNulty have reported on the subject over the years. A Tiger Droppings forum once mentioned somebody who actually organized the homeless people to wait in line, and even tourists on Chowhound have brought up the subject before heading to New Orleans. For what it's worth, waiting in line is a commandment of New Orleans culture, and hiring a "day laborer" is not the standard for most patrons of Galatoire's... right, guys? Erm, like, right, guys? Biaggio DiGiavanni, the exec. director of Osanam Inn homeless shelter ("five minutes away from Galatoire's"), tells the Daily Beast otherwise:
It's competitive and the homeless people are aware of this line and they think if they can make a couple quick bucks they will hang around Galatoire's. Now more people are trying to get those spots.
But naturally this wouldn't be a truly New Orleans experience without this same homeless shelter director turning right around and approving the situation:
"Here's a homeless person and a chance to pick up a whole bunch of money just for standing around... It gives them something to do."
That's Eater commenting on a Daily Beast article just to be clear.  Maybe since the Galatoire's cattle call is how it's always been done, there's a tendency to ridicule outside media for affecting shock at it.  The Eater reporter seems to play to that sentiment a little anyway.

But whatever you think of the Galatoire's "tradition" it's hardly comforting to think that it's becoming a dominant model in the American labor market thanks to companies like Uber, Taskrabbit, et al.

I noticed this app the other day. Appears to be locally based. Still something tells be Galatoires patrons might want one specific to them.  What would we call it?  Stand-In?  Fuuder? Brunch-Me?

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