The On-Demand Diaries: I Was A TaskRabbit Butler157
?I was like really? You can?t go get a bag of chips??
Michanne, 27, was a Google Express driver for nine months, starting last August. She quit this spring.
I took the first job available after having a baby because I needed an income. When I was hired on as a Google Express driver in August, they gave us some rules: we weren?t allowed to take photos in our uniform, or post photos of our job on social media or use hashtags. I guess they didn?t want us to have the opportunity to represent the company in a negative light. They gave us Google Express shirts, jacket and hat, and an Android phone to use on the job. I rode along with another driver for three days for orientation, and then I was ready to start.
I didn?t technically work for Google. I worked for a contractor that had the Google Express contract called Modern Express Courier. I got a full-time schedule there most the time. A couple months later in October, they lost the contract, and I got laid off at the end of my shift one night without any notice.
The very next day, I saw the ad on Craigslist for another company handling the Google Express delivery: 1?800Courier. They led us to believe they weren?t going to lay us off, because that was the main concern after the Modern Express job. We made $12.50 an hour, and then in the new year it was raised to $13 ? and they pay your expenses like the gas or any parking tickets.
We all got hired at full-time, and, at first, from October to February or March, we had our schedule weeks in advance. There were three shifts: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00, second window was 12:30 p.m. to 4:30, third was 5:30 p.m. to 9:30. I?d get scheduled for two windows, and at one point they were even offering overtime, so we?d work all three windows.
But around February or March, the job ended up being basically on call. They had us call in to check our schedule everyday because it could change. It could change the morning of. So my carpool from Oakland would come pick me up at 11 for a 12:30 shift, and at 11:15, they would call and say, ?Don?t come in, we changed your schedule.? Three or four times, I?d say ?I?m already on the way,? and they?d say ?OK, we?ll add you.? But one time, I didn?t check and they sent me home when I arrived, they paid me two hours. Frequently, I was on my lunch break at 5:00, and they?d say we?re overbooked, and don?t clock back in from lunch for the second shift and I had to go home. It got to the point the person I carpooled with had different shifts, and I?d have to find my own way to or from work.
I got 17 to 30 hours a week ? if that. If I?m only making 52 dollars that day for a four-hour shift, after the bridge toll and the gas ? I?d only take home 20 dollars. My lowest check was $300 for two weeks.
I didn?t feel financially secure in the job. They said it?s full-time, and four months later, all our hours were decreasing and they didn?t have the need for the drivers. I?m like OK, you lied to get us in, it?s deceptive, I can?t really trust what you?re saying, and I can?t afford to be laid off again, so I really had to leave. On a scale of one to 10 (if one is a nightmare) I was like 1.5.
A typical day: we?d pick up the ?transit? ? what they call the delivery van ? in Burlingame in a small parking lot of maybe 20 vehicles by the airport, and then drive to a San Francisco warehouse and contractors from another company pulled your parcels from the shelves ready to go and put it on your transit. There was one time when I was delivering chips ? I was like really? You can?t go get a bag of chips? But the most common things were bottled water, diapers, and a big box of kitty litter from Costco. You?d have big cases of water ? four cases at a time ? and, if a man opens the door, a woman deliveryperson would expect help, but sometimes they would not. They?re like, ?It?s heavy, huh?? And I?m like, ?Yes, it was.? They?re just like, ?Yeah,? and didn?t offer to help.
The transit is electric, so we couldn?t have the doors to the front locked while the hatch door was open in the back. There were two times when homeless men tried to jump in the front while I was in the back getting out packages. Once I turned around and the passenger door is wide open. I just said ?Hello, hello?? I went to close the door and a homeless guy just walked past me slowly like a zombie. It was like 8:30 at night, I?m not familiar with this area, I just closed the doors and sat inside, and alerted dispatch and told them what happened. I would have preferred if they let me go home or have someone ride with me for the rest of the route. But she said you have to complete this stop, we?ll send someone to meet you at my next stop. I sat there shaken up for about five to 10 minutes, and then ran to the back of the transit, and grabbed the package and while I was waiting at the building?s gate, I had to constantly look behind my back because I was so scared ? I wasn?t sure where this man had gone to. Another driver came to take half my packages at the next stop ? but I had to finish the rest on my own, and that was that.
I finally got another job in the service department at a car dealership. I sent 1?800Courier an email, saying this has been an interesting experience, and I?ll return the uniform and equipment and that was it. They wrote: ?Please return your equipment to the office and we will reconcile your final paycheck. Best to you in all your future endeavors.?