Just because Uber's motto is "Everyone's private driver," doesn't mean every car is yours for the hailing. But the popularity of apps like Uber and Lyft have spawned some awkward curbside interactions. "Basically anytime I'm pulled over on the side of the street, someone tries to hail me or just opens my car door," said tech investor Ashwin Deshmukh, when I asked him about the trend.
"If I pull-up at a food truck in Williamsburg, there will be four guys asking, 'Can you take us to Long Island?'" Deshmukh blames it partly on tooling around in a 2009 SUV and was told the GPS sitting on his dashboard gives the wrong impression. "It's kind of immoral to have a car in New York anyways, so I feel like this is my tax for doing that. The best line so far is, 'Are you Uber? Well can you just be, can we go?'" he said. He is not alone.
Technological innovation never comes with an etiquette manual. Users establish the behavior associated with a piece of software or hardware, guided in part by the product's features (the lack of a "dislike" button on Facebook), the company's marketing pitch (hey, "betch"), and early adopters (I am looking at you as you are videotaping me, Glassholes).
Uber and Lyft have already inspired a number of real world idiosyncrasies beyond a seamless spending habit. Drunk riders do-si-do between cars outside a bar until they stumble into the one that matches their app. Customers pretend they're doing important business on their phone before sheepishly sliding into an e-hailed carriage. My personal contribution is bouncing from street corner to street corner like a pinball, staring at the little car avatar on my screen to predict where it will stop.
Plunking your butt down on some stranger's backseat, however, has to be the most embarrassing modern pose since the selfie stick. "It's 90 percent white women and drunk bros," as one car owner put it. "They just literally get in."
Look before you leap.
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[Image via Getty]