Target's Grocery Deliverymen Are Being Told To Buy Gifts For Rich Customers

While the gig economy was once advertised as conveniently earning a bit of party money on the side, it has not-so-slowly turned into the 21st equivalent of standing around at the shipyard hoping they'll pay you a ha'penny to unload the steamer from Antwerp so you can afford to feed your children. Except that now, that toothy blowjob you're giving the foreman for preferential treatment better come with a free smile, as companies like Target demand utter and unwavering gratitude from their gig workers.

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In 2017, Target acquired Shipt, the app that lets the rich and busy pay folks to help get their groceries. But the supermarket corporation didn't spend over half of a billion dollars acquiring the concept of a bagboy to get any kind of talkback from its new serfs. Speaking to Vice, several ex and current Shipt contractors claim that workers talking Shipt in any negative way will get them put on a Shipt list and can easily get them Shipt-canned. The company tightly monitors all social media activity, having corporate moderators make sure Shipt shoppers don't post anything "except for the super syrupy stuff." Target also won't hesitate to "deactivate" its corporate drones for generating any kind of negative buzz, which includes complaining about the poor pay, helping each other out (clearly the first step to inciting unionization) or even making fun of Shipt's expensive new logo because it looks like someone got shoulder-checked while trying to draw the copyright symbol.

Truly the kind of Shipt logo a Shipt company deserves.
Target CorporationTruly the kind of Shipt logo a Shipt company deserves.

In fact, bootlicking seem to be at the core of Shipt's business model. Target also replaced its clear and fair commission-based payment system with the capricious and terrible god of gig work, the Algorithm, which has cut some cities' workers' earnings
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in half or worse. While contractors aren't allowed to know how their digital workhouse master determines how little they get paid for Shipt-work, the one surefire way to get its favor is by "Bringing the Magic." This is the company's unofficial policy of giving the richest neighborhoods to workers who "Bring the Magic" and grovel to its wealthiest customers by walking their dogs, taking out their trash or even spending what little they earn on gifts like balloons or chocolate. And say what you will about being a Victorian scullery maid, at least your polio-riddled posterior wasn't prompted to pay Lord Partridge for the privilege of peeling his potatoes.

For more weird tangents on workers' rights, follow Cedric on Twitter.

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