The gig economy and online stores

Up In The Valley, from the San Fernando Valley in L.A. where I lived for years, talks about the gig economy, and how excellent it can be until it isn’t or if you aren’t part of it. One big problem with the gig economy of course is there are no benefits, no health insurance, no paid vacations, no safety net. If something goes wrong, like you fall and sprain your ankle and can’t drive for Lyft, you are on your own.

Uber may be displacing the grotesquely overpriced Hertz, which is a good thing.. However Uber is currently losing billions of dollars a year with no clear way to actually make a profit any time soon. Amazon, Jet, and Etsy are clobbering suburban malls. Here in Vegas, Strip casinos have their own malls with upscale stores and business is good because of the constant flood of visitors. However, drive a few miles away from the Strip and you’ll find suburban malls with empty stores that are slowly dying.

I buy clothes online from Galls, a tactical clothing supplier. The clothes come with a no questions return form for credit, different size, refund. Not only are there no stores here in Vegas with what Galls offers online, returning clothes to a store is a hassle compared to just mailing them back.

Online stores and the gig economy are indeed disrupting and displacing, changing the economy. So, keep hustling and don’t fall.

More of us are working, but fewer us are employed. Our world is rounded in 1099 forms.

Uber has been extraordinarily good to me. So good I don’t have to consider renting a room in our house on AirBnB. Everyone knows what it’s doing to the taxi business. Few know Uber has become so ubiquitous in the past two years it has displaced rental cars as the most commonly utilized ground transportation, even among corporate clients. Last week Hertz disclosed massive losses, and may default on its bond debt. Its fleet of aging cars are flooding the after-market. The inventory spike will put pressure on the dealerships to unload inventory, which makes for a buying opportunity if you want a new car to drive for Uber.

Amazon and Etsy are slowly strangling Fashion Square. On the other hand, the Century City mall is expanding, upscale. Our economy is bifurcating into hyper-luxury and dollar stores. Concierge service or waiting at bus stops with street people. UberPool is getting cheap enough to displace Metro riders. Soon, perhaps only derelicts will ride the bus.

It’s an extraordinary time to be grinding out a living in Los Angeles. Unless you’re not.

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