Editorial: Gigs are up with Walmart announcement | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Gigs are up with Walmart announcement


The news of Walmart grocery delivery in the Pittsburgh area was met with interest.

A way to go to Walmart without actually going to Walmart? A chance to casually select ice cream, laundry detergent, half a pound of chipped ham, six frozen pizzas and a dozen bagels from a phone app and not worry about forgetting the ham while you come home with a DVD, a pair of pants and a cherry pie you didn’t mean to buy? Who wouldn’t want that?

But apart from the shopping experience, there’s another side to the story. No, not Walmart’s side. The person making the delivery.

Walmart is working with Point Pickup to actually take the items selected for you by a Walmart employee and drive them to your home.

Point Pickup was called an “on-demand, Uber-like delivery service” when it launched in Greenwich, Conn., in 2015.

It is another entry into the phone-fueled, app-based gig economy, like restaurant delivery services GrubHub and DoorDash or rideshare companies like Lyft and, yes, Uber. They link people who want to work with someone who needs a service via the easy bridge of a hand-held device.

The people behind the wheel in these situations aren’t employees. They are independent contractors, which gives them the freedom to work as much or as little on a given day as they want. That’s great. The downside is the uneasy unknowing of working without a net.

Intuit and Forbes have prognosticated that as our economy changes, becoming more creative and collaborative, more and more jobs will become gig-gy.

The government shutdown illustrates why that’s good — and bad.

Get furloughed or laid off from your day job and it’s great to have a gig back-up to pay the bills until you’re back on your feet. But at the same time, Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington, D.C., have reported that there are fewer rides to share with less money to go around.

There are great new services and conveniences available to us because of these economic changes. We just have to be aware of there pros and cons as they grow so that the workers in a gig economy aren’t the least important part of the equation.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.