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I’m a freelance interactive content strategist and copywriter in Austin, TX. See my work here.

I post about whatever geeky stuff interests me. Sometimes I post funny stuff that I make up. About once a week I post videos of my cat Yeti ignoring me. I welcome reader suggestions and feedback. I seldom get any.

Oh, yeah. I’m also the recording artist currently known as ManChildATX.


The manifold joys of the enormous Uline catalog

I don’t remember when I became aware of Uline, the self-styled “leading distributor of shipping, industrial and packaging materials to businesses throughout North America,” but it wasn’t all that long ago.

But I recently made a minor purchase or two from them, and now I am on their mailing list. And I am infatuated with their 627 page catalog (subscribe here), which is full of esoteric items I don’t understand, would never use, but covet nonetheless. If your business does shipping, warehousing, packaging, retailing, materials handling or any other semi-industrial task, OMG, is this catalog chock full of treasures for you! Let’s take a look, shall we? 

First of all, the cover is a paragon of attractive, simple, candy-colored design:

Now, about those esoteric items. So you say you’re tired of your bollards going sleeveless? Sleeve them shits, homie:

You’re sackin’ lots of material and sealing the bags is no cinch? Go whole hog ring:

Oily rags. Your mother warned you about ‘em, my mother warned me about ‘em. How much damage do fires caused by oily rags do every year? Millions of dollars worth! Because people have never had a place to stick ‘em! Until now:

The professional eyewash station cognoscenti don’t say, “Give me a top-of-the-line, best-in-class, leading edge, fully OSHA compliant, no-plumbing-needed eyewash station.” No, they have a shorthand for that. They just say, “Motherfucker, I want a Fendall™ 2000!”

OK, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, wow, that’s great that Uline has all that stuff, but what does Uline have for the Tuscan smoker? A POLE, that’s what! Just for Tuscan smokers! Unbelieves! 

Sick of posers trying to front their way into your spot, but not quite ready to get rough with them? Control those fools and keep them up outta there with some plush class:

Those anguished cries of, “Where’s my tape?! I can’t find my tape!”??? They’re a thing of the past, mofo. Put some conspicuity to that shit:

Your foam is too simple, son!

I’m not too sexy for my zebra snap-blade knife, my zebra snap-blade knife is too sexy for me:

And that’s just a tiny fraction of the stuff I found to highlight. Catalog rating: delightful


You'll never make sandwiches in this town again, kid.


If you’re considering working at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, you may want to read the fine print on your job application.
A Jimmy John’s employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business’s inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John’s, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.
Huffington Post

“Hi, welcome to Subs ‘n Such. What can I make you today?”

“I’m looking for a Randy Todd Coleman.”

“That’s me. And you are?”

“I’m the guy who is serving you with a lawsuit. Here, take this.”

“A lawsuit?! For what?”

“Didn’t you briefly work at the Jimmy John’s restaurant about a mile and a half from here?”

“Yeah, but that place sucked. They made me wear a hair net and wash my hands all the time.”

“Well, they are suing you because you signed a non-compete agreement. You pledged that for at least two years after you left the place you wouldn’t work in a, and I quote, ‘restaurant, establishment, snack bar, food cart or any other entity, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, engaged in the purveyance of food items served between two or more pieces of grain-based baked goods, to wit, sandwiches.’”

“Aw, are you kidding me? Those bastards. They can’t do that!”

“Well, they did it. And you signed it.”

“I didn’t know what I was signing!”

“Signing it without understanding it is not only NOT a mitigating factor, it’s exactly what Jimmy John’s hopes all their employees will do.”

“Well, screw those Jimmy John’s guys! I’ll counter-sue!”

“No, you won’t.”

“Yes, I will! My girlfriend’s dad’s a lawyer.”

“Then he’ll be able to explain to you about the binding mediation clause you also signed, waiving your right to sue Jimmy John’s. In perpetuity. For anything.”  

“Well, what recourse do I have then?”

“You can bring your case to a mediator, but it has to be a mediator Jimmy John’s approves of.”

“And who would that be?”

“Usually, it’s the owner of the franchise where the disgruntled employee worked.”

“That’s not fair!”

“I didn’t say ‘fair mediation,’ I said ‘binding mediation.’”

“Oh, man. This sucks. Listen, I gotta get back to work. Do you want a sandwich or not?”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“Did you wash your hands?”



My cat Yeti knows where I got Ebola


Amazon pimpin': Philips Sonicare HX9332/05 DiamondClean Toothbrush

Click to view product on

I went to the dentist a while back, and it had been some time since my last cleaning. Though I am a dedicated flosser (at least once and usually twice a day), I always build up a lot of dental placque, and the hygienist has to use the deep scaling device on me, which is never fun. During the consultation, I asked the dentist and hygienist if there was anything I could do to prevent so much placque building up between visits, and they both said, simultaneously, “Get a Sonicaire toothbrush.” They said they notice a marked difference with patients who use them. (And, btw, no, the dentist’s office did not sell them, so it’s not like they take a cut.)

So the one below is the kit I bought. I just got it yesterday, and I have high hopes it’ll keep me away from the scaling tool. 

Note: I try to offset my expenses for this site through Amazon affiliate links. I only pimp items on Amazon that I’ve actually purchased and used. 



Austin Skyline, as seen by mega-festival poster artists

click for more biggerOne of these images is from the ACL festival site, the other from the Circuit of the Americas Fan Fest site. Looks to me like C3 Presents and Transmission Events used the same poster artist, or their separate poster artists used the same twee icon set. Either way, IMO, this faux Chris Ware look is nearing it’s sell-by date. 



Choosing up sides in the HP breakup

“All right,” the CEO began, “Stevens, Porter, we’ve asked you here because we, the board, here, and I, have decided to split the company into two teams. We feel that this will help each team be better able to compete in today’s marketplace. We’ve chosen you two to run the teams. Today, we’re going to ask you to put together these teams from the 20 or so separate HP business units, just as if you are choosing up sides for a sandlot football game. Do you understand?”

Stevens and Porter nodded yes, they understood. The CEO flipped a coin, Porter called heads; the coin came up tails.

“Stevens, you pick first.”

“I’ll take ink and toner.”

From a big whiteboard covered in such signs, the CEO took a magnetic sign with the ink and toner division logo on it and passed it to Stevens. “Very well. Now, Porter, your turn to choose.”

“I’ll take business laptops.”

The Chairman handed Porter his sign. “OK, Stevens?”


“It’s your turn to pick again.”

“I pass.”

The CEO and Porter looked confused. “What do you mean, you pass?” the CEO asked.

“I’m good here. Ink and toner. That’s my team.”

“Damn, I wish I would’ve won that coin flip,” Porter muttered under his breath.

“But see here,” the CEO sputtered, “there are 18 other division-sized business units that remain unchosen.”

“Yeah, he can have all the rest of ‘em,” Stevens said, inspecting his cuticles.

“But you can’t possibly compete with just the ink and toner division.”

“Why not?”

“Because… because…” The CEO knew there was a reason. “Well, look, you’ve at least gotta take one of the printer divisions.”

“I don’t want ‘em. Too much overhead. Too many model changes.”

“But they make the printers your ink and toner go in.”

“Good for them. They can make the razors, I’ll sell the blades. I’m good with that.”

“But don’t you think you’ll be at a disadvantage? I mean, look at Porter. He’ll have 19 divisions versus your one.”


“But we can’t let you get into the game so terribly undermanned. Tell you what, why don’t you take enterprise servers?”

“Uh, no way.”

“Why not?”

“Three words: big, dumb and slow.”

“OK, well, what about the handset division?”

“Do we still have a handset division?”

“Fair question. Then what about business desktops?”

“No way. I’m in this to win, not nurse along a bunch of moribund mopes.”

The CEO was at a loss. He briefly conferred with the board. When he turned back, he saw that Stevens and Porter were shaking hands.

“What’s this then? You’ve decided to stick with the teams as they are?”

“Actually,” Porter said, “I quit.”

“You quit,” the CEO repeated, stunned. “But who will run this team with 19 of our biggest divisions?”

“I don’t know. But I just agreed in principle to be an assistant coach for HP Ink and Toner.”

“What?” the CEO sputtered. “But why?”

Porter shrugged. “Hey, go with a winner.”

“Now if you’ll excuse us,” Stevens said, “we have some money to make.”

The CEO turned and looked at the white board displaying the remaining 19 business units. None of them were ink and toner. Then he noticed the board members glowering at him.

“Ah, shit,” he said.



My Cat Yeti Considers Top Job at the U.S. Secret Service


My call to room service at the New York Times International Luxury Conference


The New York Times International Luxury Conference will be held for the first time in the United States December 1-3. Join Deborah Needleman, Editor in Chief, T Magazine, and Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times, to explore how the fields of art, fashion and technology can be utilized and maximized to enhance the unique value of luxury companies and products.

Hello, this is Mr. Malley in room 1304. Well, not so good actually. That’s why I’m calling. What? No, I will not hol–

(luxury hold music)

Yes, I’m still here, just barely. Why, I’ve never been so—Sorry, what did you say? That was Miss Furstenberg? She had a poodle emergency? Well, then I suppose it’s all right.

Yes, the reason I’m calling, let’s do get to that. Yes, well, I had a frightful night, and with today being the first day of the conferénce—Hmm, excuse me? The conferénce! The conferénce! Well, sorry, I use the French pronunciation. You should get used to that. Conferénce. It is the more luxurious pronunciation, after all.

So, as I was saying, I had a frightful night, and with today being the first day of the… of the festivities, I’m afraid I’ll just look like hell in front of Ms. Needlemen, Ms. Friendman, Ms. Furstenburg, and all the rest of the luxury-istas.

Well, certainly I will tell you why I had a frightful night. Are we on a time limit here? Because I thought one of the perquisites of luxury is that I get to take as long as I damn well please to dress down those in service to me. What’s that? Apology accepted.

Now, as I was saying, it came time for me to retire last night and what should I find on my pillow? No, don’t try to answer. It’s a rhetorical question. What I should happen to find on my pillow is a Perugina chocolate truffle.

What’s that? Why, no, as a matter of fact, there wasn’t a problem with the Perugina chocolate truffle. No, you see the Perugina chocolate truffle was the problem.

Because unless I’m hallucinating—and that’s a distinct possibility after the nine hours of poor quality sleep I got—this is a luxury conferénce. And, I’m sorry, but this is 2014, and in this day and age, Perugina can’t be seen as anything but entry-level luxury. I expected and feel like I am paying mid-grade luxury prices and should receive that level of consideration at the very least.

Well, since you asked, I should think a local artisanal brand comprised of a minimum of 70% pure Eritrean cacao would be the minimum barrier to entry when it comes to the chocolate left on my pillow.

Very well. Now, about the pillow the chocolate truffle was resting upon. Excuse me if I’m wrong, but I distinctly remember reading on the hotel website that I would be sleeping on 1200 thread count bed linens. Was I wrong about that? No, I didn’t think so.

Well, let me tell you my good man… What? Sorry, my good woman, let me tell you that try as I might I could not count higher than 950 threads. That’s 250 threads shy! What? Yes, I did count it more than once. Several times as a matter of fact.

What? No, no, no, do not put me on hold agai—

(luxury hold music, line disconnects)


Recent highlights from my neighborhood listserv

GOd morinG NEIBORGS! I just want to lett you’ll KNOW THAT I HAVE MUFFINS. For sale. Comme AND GIT ER!!!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

Hi, does anyone have some kale fermenter I can borrow? My four-year-old was playing with our microbes and killed them. I can’t bear the thought of paying retail prices for our schlembacha, plus there’s a certain je ne c’est quois and piquancy to the self-fermented kind. Anyone?—Mary on Monroe
P.S. Yes, I did use this as a teachable moment to educate my son about the sanctity of all life, and most especially microbial life.

Ha! HA! VARY FUNNY!!!!! Some one EMAiLeD me private and ASKED IF my MUFFINS WAS FRAISH!! Thats’ dis gUstinge!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

To the neighbor who wanted kale fermenter (more properly known as volmet, by the way), I have some extra upchukka (i.e., beet fermenter) that you can have. Not sure if it’s a good volmet replacement, but you can try it. I’ll leave it in a jar on the front porch, and I’ll make sure it’s exposed to the air and in direct sunlight. We like the fuzzy stuff that grows on top, but you can scrape it off if it’s not to your taste. Good luck!—Sativa on Lemonade Ln.

Hi, neighbors. I cleaned out my inbox, and so I lost a lot of phone numbers to businesses and services that people on this listserv have recommended over the years. Right now I’m looking for the number of who to call about two groups of young men who are engaged in a running gun battle in the alley behind me. It’s not that it’s bothering me in my house, but I am working the late shift this week, and the fusillade is a little too vigorous for me to risk a dash to the carport. Would anyone have that number handy? Thanks.—Mr. L on Tremaine Ct.

NIEHBSOR!!! You’ll KNOW THAT MUFFINS IS ARE KITTEN WRITE????!!!!!!! Whan HE ASked me if MUFFINS WAS FRAISH I got the wrong WRONG idae!! HA!!!!!!! HA!!!!!!!!!!!! HA!!!!!—Bertha on Holmes Ave.

To the lady who was looking for volmet or upchukka (can’t remember which it was), if it hasn’t been too long since you last fed him schlembacha, you might try culturing some from your little one’s stool. Worked for us! Hope this helps.—Josh on Mulberry Rd.


Amazon pimpin': SodaStream Starter Kit

Click pic (or link below) to shop the SodaStream Fountain Jet Soda Starter Kit

This is one of those things that I put off buying and then as soon as I got it I wondered why I waited so damn long. If you drink a lot of fizzy water like I do, this thing will pay for itself in no time. 

Easy to use, works great, doesn’t take up much room on the counter. And you can make it as fizzy as you like it, even as fizzy as Topo Chico. 

I personally do not use any of the SodaStream flavorings, so I can’t speak to that side of things. I’m a plain fizzy water guy. 

Note: I try to offset my expenses for this site through Amazon affiliate links. I only pimp items on Amazon that I’ve actually purchased and used. 


Amazon pimpin': Weber Spirit SP-310 Gas Grill

Click photo to shop Weber Spirit SP-310 three-burner liquid propane grillMy Weber gas grill is probably the heaviest—and most heavily used—item I’ve ever bought on Amazon. I bought mine nine years ago. The model has since been discontinued, but this is very similar in size, number of burners and features.

We use our Weber gas grill year round a minimum of three times a week and usually much more. I’m pretty sure this thing will outlive me. Let’s face it—equipment that lives outside and endures a lot of high heat takes a lot of abuse. What I like about my Weber grill is that replacement parts are readily available, so when something wears out, you don’t have to start over with a new grill. 

It’s easy to clean, it works great, and Weber customer service is top notch. Take it from me, an outdoor gas grill is one of those things you don’t want to cheap out on. Yes, there are lots of lower priced brands that look similar when they are shiny and brand new in the store. You’d be lucky to get five years out of one of them. Buy one that will last and be done with it. 

Note: I try to offset my expenses for this site through Amazon affiliate links. I only pimp items on Amazon that I’ve actually purchased and used. 


My cat Yeti on whether he would maul a human to death (or not)


Crowd Sourced Really Bad Flavor Names for Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream

Here’s a starter list of 22. Send me your contributions via Facebook, email (link above) or tweet to @richie_boy.


Caramel Confetti Mishap

Alabama Almond Aspic

Natural & Artificial Flavor Showdown

Raspberry Roadkill Road

Marshmallow Muenster Mush

Your Spumoni’s No Good Here

Flexible Fudge

Creampie Cameo

Naked Bunch (o’ Bananas!)

Berry, Berry Bruised Fruit

Massive Dump

Too Hasty Pudding

Red Corduroy Cake

Chewy Chewy Chapstick

Buried Toffee Treasure

Mocha Loco Choco Chump

Triple Double Entendre Eclair

Test Tube Flavor #713R

Ticky Tacky Tobacky

Oil Slick

Bean There, Dung That

Too, Too Fruity



Seven Guys You Should Get to Know

L-R, Victor, Sid, Ramon, Charlie, Steve, Charlie, Phil

Phil Erckstein—Knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who can get half price tickets for decent seats to any concert you want.

Steve Belk—Just good people.

Ramon Villarreal—Skilled, discreet criminal attorney.

Adam Marshall—Not a particularly personable dude, but can do this thing with his eyebrows. Hilarious.

Charlie Carten—Even though he dated my sister and broke her heart, I still think the world of him. One of those guys, you meet him once, you’d do anything for him. Salt of the earth.

Larry Robinson—Blows a decent tenor sax, reliable, and has a working phone and his own car.

Sid Terrell—A good guy to have on your side when the chips are down.

Victor Burton-Suarez—Knows how to keep his fucking mouth shut.


My cat Yeti does not get Obama's pronunciation either


NFL Announces Cap-and-Trade Policy for Domestic Abuse Offenses

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that the league would further modify its ever-evolving domestic abuse policy by allowing players on a team to offset a teammate’s league imposed penalty for domestic abuse by “trading” credits they will now receive for each season they complete without incurring a wife beating incident.

“I got it wrong again,” Goodell admitted at a hastily called news conference this morning. “When I suspended Ray Rice indefinitely yesterday after video surfaced of him punching his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, I inadvertently punished our fans, and, most importantly, I inadvertently punished our owners who have so much precious money invested in these athletes.”

After reiterating his stance that the league had “zero tolerance” for domestic abuse, Goodell turned the program over to league spokesperson Bobby Danabout, who gave reporters the broad outlines of the spousal abuse cap-and-trade-scheme.

“This is a reality-based plan that acknowledges that our sport has both inculcated an uncontrolled capacity for violence in certain players on the one hand, and recruited other players expressly because they already had an innate capacity for antisocial violence on the other hand,” Danabout said. “What this policy will do is enable the players who have successfully avoided spousal abuse for an entire season—or have at least avoided getting caught for it—to help their fellow players stay on the field following a wife- or girlfriend-battering incident.”

While Danabout said details were still being ironed out, he asserted that the policy was strict enough to protect the league’s reputation, if not the wives and girlfriends of its players.

“This will not be a free pass by any means,” Danabout continued. “Players can only trade spousal abuse credits like-for-like. So, for instance, if a player knocks his wife’s teeth out, he’ll need to find a teammate with a “wife’s teeth knocked out” credit willing to trade them to him. It can’t be a ‘girlfriend’s teeth knocked out’ credit, or a ‘gave wife a black eye’ credit. Absent the availability of a matching spousal abuse credit, the full force and severity of the league’s penalties—whatever they may be at that moment—will come down on that player.”

Danabout said the changes would go into effect immediately and would be permanent until the next uncomfortable public revelation forced a hasty revision.



Netflix vs. Amazon: whose streams start faster?

Netflix’s streaming on demand service pretty much made me a TV watcher again. I haven’t had cable since the 90s, and hardly watch any broadcast TV. But with Netflix, having a pretty good variety of stuff that I can watch on my own schedule got me in front of the tube again.

Then, a couple of years ago, we signed up for Amazon Prime, mostly for the 2-day shipping it offers on most Amazon purchases. At the time, Amazon was mentioning access to their streaming video library almost as a toss-in for signing up with Prime. Now, of course, Amazon is pushing streaming video more aggressively to compete head-to-head with Netflix, acquiring lots of new programming and producing new shows as well.

Cable companies, of course, hate Netflix, because they are one of the leading reasons more and more people are cutting their cable subscriptions and just relying on cable providers for internet bandwidth. The industry calls Netflix an “over-the-top” service, because they are charging money to deliver service over the Internet provider’s bandwidth. Cable companies hate that.

And Netflix has been so successful, it now accounts for over a third of all downstream bandwidth usage during prime time. Cable companies REALLY hate that.

Over the past year or so, I have noticed that it seems to take much, much longer for Netflix’s shows to load than it used to. And when they do load, it is often at a crappy resolution. Since there is a lot of overlap between Netflix’s offerings and Amazon Prime’s offerings, when a Netflix show is taking forever to load, I will often check to see if Amazon Prime has the program. If it does, it always seems to load much, much faster than the same show on Netflix.

I’ve been meaning to document this for a while now. This morning, I did, as seen in the video above.

Bear in mind that this happened at 9am. At 9pm, the difference is much, much more pronounced.

Assuming viewers consume bandwidth to watch Amazon at a level comparable to Netflix, can we expect the cable companies to target Amazon’s streams for throttling? Maybe, but maybe not. Unlike Netflix, Amazon controls lots of internet infrastructure that may have value to the cable companies.


Rejected letter to the editors of People Magazine: Brangelina's wedding

Dear to the editors of People Magazine:

I was most thrilled and surprised to receive yours of September 15 (how do you do that?) featuring Brangelina’s wedding on the cover.

I guess my invitation must’ve gotten lost in the mail, for I was unaware said nups had occurred. But I was very disappointed that your photo ablum did not mention WHO Brangelina was marrying! I can only hope it is that actor with whom she shares all those rainbow babies. 

I had to chuckle at the part about how Brangelina’s dress was covered with her babies’ drawings. I can just imagine how my own late mother would have reacted to finding that we, her beloved children, had drawn on her wedding dress. After recovering from the shock of learning that her children were all born before she was married, she would have beaten us all down one side and up the other! 

Kudos to your photographer. I see no visible marks or bruises on Brangelina’s brood. 

I wish Brangelina and whomsoever she has married great happiness. 

Yours of September 5,

R. Ddiva Lalmye


My cat puzzled by Astros firing of manager Bo Porter


Uber über alles: Is the rideshare giant a big bully?

Uber and Lyft are the two biggest competitors in the “ridesharing” market, which is where car owners use their private vehicles to give strangers rides for money. Both services are enabled by smartphone apps that let potential riders book rides, while also allowing drivers to claim rides and bill for them. The companies take a cut of every ride, and the drivers pocket the rest. 

Uber is the biggest company in this market, with over $1 billion in venture capital and a very aggressive global expansion plan. Lyft is the next largest. Competition between the two companies—as well as some smaller rivals—is intense. 

When you think about their business model, it’s no wonder VC is flocking to some of these companies. You write a piece of code, you build an app, you do some marketing, and you’ve got a platform for ongoing revenue generation where costs make up an increasingly smaller and smaller part of overhead. You’ve got all these drivers—who are not employees, but private contractors—hustling and putting themselves at risk in traffic to make a few extra bucks, while you just kick back and take a cut. 

And, obviously, the more drivers you have within a given market, the more potential rides and the more potential money you make. 

Which is were the competition between the two seems to have gotten out of hand. This piece in the Verge exposed that Uber has a written formalized program for poaching Lyft drivers and recruiting them to Uber. A follow-on post on the NYT Bits blog summarizes Lyft’s contention that in markets where Uber is active in these efforts, it is reducing the average income for Lyft drivers. (In response to the Verge article and increasing press inquiries, Uber launched this page to put a shiny gloss on its practices.)

The way Uber’s poaching program works is that teams of Uber recruiters, working for hefty commissions and armed with burner phones that can’t be traced back to them, order Lyft rides and then try to recruit the drivers to Uber during the ride. 

Lyft says that these rides are shorter than typical rides and thus impede Lyft drivers from snagging more profitable customers. They also allege that Uber recruiters further disrupt the ability of Lyft drivers to earn by ordering and canceling thousands of Lyft rides. Some of these are apparently because an Uber recruiter will realize that the Lyft driver en route to pick him or her up has already been given the Uber sales pitch, and thus is a waste of effort. But between the time the Lyft driver accepts the ride and the time the Uber recruiter cancels it, the Lyft driver may be missing out on other fares. 

There has also been some speculation that Uber is having its recruiters order and cancel rides simply to make it harder for Lyft drivers to earn, thus putting Uber in a better light. And it also appears that many of these rides are canceled to avoid having Lyft’s management catch on that a particular phone number is associated with an Uber recruiter.

So Uber’s practices, which, again, are formalized and written in a playbook, definitely seem to have the potential to hurt Lyft’s drivers, as Lyft indeed alleges they have. But what are the potential long term consequences for Uber drivers? I’d assert they’re not good either.

The more drivers Uber has in a market, the more attractive the service seems to potential customers. After all, if you get picked up by an Uber driver faster than a Lyft driver routinely, you’re more likely to continue using Uber. Up to a point, that might help Uber’s drivers too. But it’s not hard to see a point beyond which Uber drivers start to compete with one another. Think how a Starbuck’s franchisee feels when he or she learns the company has awarded another franchise two blocks away.

This is ramp up and shake out time for the rideshare industry. It would make business sense for Uber to try to eliminate or marginalize other competitors in its markets, with the aim of being the lone credible rideshare platform once the industry matures and the market saturates. When your drivers are virtually the only drivers in a market, you get a cut from more rides. You also monopolize the labor market, so you can more effectively dictate terms to your drivers, deciding to take a bigger percentage of their fares, for instance. Because who else are they going to drive for?

Uber no doubt rationalizes its slimeball recruitment practices by asserting that they are trying to help Lyft drivers join a team that will give them better earning potential. And in the short term, that may be true. Uber can use some of its billion dollar VC nest egg to accept lower profit margins, pay higher commissions in the short term, and make themselves more attractive to Lyft drivers. 

But does anyone believe that these practices bode well for Uber’s drivers in the long term? And does anyone think that a company that would engage in such practices would feel a compunction about deceiving its customers and its investors, too, if it thought the “business case” justified it?

There are things I like about the so-called “sharing” economy. For instance, I like being able to get a ride when finding a cab is impossible. I also like the idea that someone who owns a car can use it to earn a little extra money. But when the market shakes out, I believe the dominant sharing platforms are going to have masses of struggling independent contractors at the bottom of the food chain, and a select few people accruing massive transfers of wealth at the top of the food chain. Ultimately, I think ridesharing will just be a new model for trickle down economics.

I deplore Uber’s in-car recruitment of Lyft drivers, and I won’t use the company until it admits the practice is wrong and ends it. If Uber wants to recruit Lyft’s drivers, fine. But I don’t think riders should reward them for being rapacious slimebags about it.