Today in "Landfill Capitalism" News

To the surprise of absolutely nobody:

"Every homeless person has like three scooters now," Michael Ghadieh, owner of an electric bike store in San Francisco, told CNET. "They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it." [...]

What's funny is that the companies tend to dismiss these vulnerabilities as insignificant. Lime's director of government relations and strategic development [said] that theft and vandalism of scooters is rare because they're so often in use. Reacting to complaints that hacking has become common, he added: "It hasn't in any way limited our ability to operate in the markets in which we do operate."

Right, that's because their business model is that these objects are disposable and that paying for their disposal will be someone else's problem.

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11 Responses:

  1. MattyJ says:

    Oh great, now all our public poop is going to become mobile.

  2. Cat Mara says:

    It's like... the street finds its own use for things or something. That's clever. I should write that down.

  3. Runs with Scissors says:

    If a company is willing to eat the cost of theft, and I get a nice electric last mile or three solution to public transit that isn't Uber, uh, who cares? Why would it concern anyone but a company's owners if homeless folks steal some company's scooters?

    It's honestly just weird to see people cheering on the mindless destruction of the scooters in some sort of messed up effort to stick to to the man. I have a feeling this dockless thing won't work for the same reason why you don't see many vending machines outside in cities, like you do in Japan. We don't lack any technology that Japan has, vending machines int he US would just get broken and vandalized all of the time. Americans are just too damn violent. That just seems like a bad thing.

    I think it would have been nice if in any American city you could jump onto an electric scooter and get around between whatever dredges of mass transit there are. But, uh, looks like you guys are going to win and stop them, and it will be back to Uber and personal cars. Cool victory bro. You beat first effort at making ubiquitous cheap electric vehicles an alternative to cars inside of cities. Great work.

    • BHN says:

      If there were scooters all over the place that the 'owning' company wouldn't do anything about because it's not their problem, because they're making enough money to not care and the government is allowing it... and now there are vandalized and broken scooters just sitting around too because their 'owners' won't dispose of them... now how good does it seem? If it had been implemented with plans to maintain them and prevent them piling up and being a nuisance you wouldn't see jwz criticizing it.

      They should have had to present a plan for the consequences of dumping these scooters all over creation before being allowed to do so, and to deal with the broken and vandalized ones. They're not so it becomes the public's problem to clean up because "LLC".

      In consolation, maybe this will get us to reconsider how much responsibility being an LLC gets you out of (yeah, right, and someday we'll require companies to pay up front for all of the unrecyclable junk and unnecessary packaging they dump on the market, bound for landfills).

      • Runs with Scissors says: the reason why you guys are cheering on the destruction of cheap electric scooters people can use instead of a car, is because you think those electric scooters will break and make too much trash. That seems kind of self fulling, don't you think? Is this really a big source of industrial waste in America? I'm feeling like it probably doesn't break into the top few thousand. Maybe you could aim that anger at something that matters, rather than a really fucking useful car alternative in a city.

        "I want to destroy this stuff because it makes trash" is a nonsense answer. The blinding rage at cheap car alternatives that would REALLY make public transit a lot more effective, just looks cultural to me. I don't think you guys really care about the laughably small amount of trash these things produce, and I don't think your day is actually destroyed if you need to move one out of your way because someone parked like a jerk. I think this has turned into some sort of cultural symbol for tech-bro-Uber-Google-Facebook-whatever. People are super pissed off at that symbol, and for that reason, we are going to fuck these things up and just not have dockless electric scooters. We will continue to use cars.

        You beat an alternative to cars and Uber. Awesome. Mission accomplished. A real cultural victory. The man has been put in his place. Surely rethinking LLCs is next, as you suggest.

        • jwz says:

          The reason I'm cheering it on is A) because it's pretty funny, come on, poop is always funny, but mostly B) because I think the corporations behind this are parasitic shitbags and the sooner they run out of money and go out of business, the better. I like it when bad things happen to bad companies.

          I can certainly imagine a world where scooter shares make up a rational, non-parasitic part of the public transportation infrastructure. But these companies are not that. Fuck 'em.

          • Runs with Scissors says:

            Cool man. I'm glad you can hypothetically imagine a world where this thing that is literally already possible right now and makes public transit a lot better, could be allowed to happen because the companies rolling it out are less "parasitic shit bags", whatever that means. I guess it is Uber until then, the obviously better corporate choice for all of your transportation needs. Killing off electric scooters and driving people back to cars and Uber has been a real win in city transportation, alternatives to cars, and combating toxic corporate culture.

            Chopping your own nose off to "own some libs" seems to be everyone's favorite pastime these days, on both the left and right.

            • Joe Luser says:

              Bird is Uber, you moron.

              But that aside, here's some math. Since you bring up "libs" out of the blue, I assume you're retarded and I don't know why I'd waste this time on someone incapable of even semi-complex thought in the first place, but just in case, here goes:

              Segway makes a nice electric scooter. About $600. You could buy one, use it for a couple of years, ride that "last mile" each way, charge it yourself, maintain it, and then sell it on craigslist for $100 when you're done. Cost would be $500 for two years of transport and you wouldn't make the city any worse and maybe it would be even a little better.

              Alternatively, you could install an app and a credit card and jack into the gig economy or whatever this is called. Now you could last-mile twice a day on someone else's scooter. A mile is about $2 on these things. So $800 per year if you ride it every day. Plus uber/bird controls the distribution of these things so that they can manipulate the market such that each scooter gets 5 rides per day. Which assuming you're average earns them $2000 per year per scooter.

              Then at the end of the year, they just drop the scooter from their maintenance program and leave it sitting on the street until it "goes away". It's already paid for itself 5 times over plus they've taken full tax advantage of the depreciation (as well as purchasing them in some other state to avoid as much local tax as possible) so why do they need to spend the extra cash to clean it up? Sooner or later someone will cart it off to a dark corner and strip out some of the parts and leave the carcass on the sidewalk. Where, on a large scale, it will make that part of town even shittier. And eventually the people who do not avoid paying their local taxes will fund a truck to come out and pick it up.

              So it's great that you want this cute little pony. And it's weird that you aren't sensible enough to take care of one yourself. And sad that you're stupid enough to believe that someone else is actually taking care of it, rather than just sucking more than enough money out of you so that they can just keep nightly re-supplying the piles (the "bird nests"!) with fresh garbage to be spread out

              But hey. It "makes public transit a lot better".

    • Joe "Floid" Kanowitz says:

      There is a solution to this that is so obvious that I'm waiting to get back to SF to see if someone actually wants to buy me a house for it

  4. Kyle Huff says:

    Hey, that's the same business model as nuclear reactors and oil wells!

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