The Delivery “Gig Economy” is a Hellhole

And not just for those who work in it…

Matthew Woodall
5 min readMar 31


Photo by Marques Thomas on Unsplash

Let’s be honest — the delivery gig economy truly is a hellhole for the people who work in it. No minimum wage, no regulations, no safety net at all — the fact that we’ve even considered this (much less adopted it) shows just how far we’ve sunk as a society that supposedly cares about each other.

I’ve definitely made use of it — SkiptheDishes and DoorDash have fed me often…and two bouts of the flu in the past six months meant that I could use these services to make sure I got a healthy meal when I was coughing up a lung.

I always try to tip when I use these services — hoping that my tip goes to the driver and not to some nebulous corporate account somewhere. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford this every so often, so I try to make sure I can support the driver as much as the restaurant.

A couple of recent experiences have left me soured on the whole gig economy thing — and not just as a consumer.

In fact, I’ve gone so far as to delete an app and remove my account from their platform after continual problems with them.

I will be hard-pressed to use these services as a consumer, and I don’t think that any reputable company owner should use these — especially when they’re representing your company.

It all seemed like such a promising idea: let people sign up to work their own hours, using their own vehicles to expand delivery services for restaurants and other retail stores. It was an idea that intrigued me, and one that definitely could have worked out — if workers, customers, and stores had been at the centre of the picture instead of the delivery companies themselves.

What has actually happened is a catastrophe of worker exploitation, customer gouging, and profits off the back of retail stores and restaurants.

It very quickly became obvious that workers were not going to be at the heart of the business model. In fact, their status as employees has been the subject of regular court cases — whether they are independent contractors of actual employees.

I’m not a legal expert, but even if you have the ability to set your own hours, if you are entirely dependent on a…