Experiment #4 - TaskRabbit

So I had tickets to a concert in Oakland at the Fox, for which I was now familiar with the layout having seen the Pet Shop Boys there in December and Kraftwerk the previous Sunday. I knew exactly where I wanted to stand and if I didn’t get there early enough the chances of getting my preferred spot were almost nil.

For an 8 PM time-slot for the supporting act, with doors opening around seven, sometime around 5-5:30 PM was probably going to be the order of the day. Did I feel like standing around in a queue for two hours and then standing inside for the opening act and some more standing to finally get to the act I wanted to see? No, you probably guessed, it wasn’t on my list of things to do that day.

Enter TaskRabbit.com - over the last 10 years I have hired so many people using CraigsList that I probably couldn’t count them all even if I could remember all the contractors, cleaners, painters, handymen and women, laborers, admin, odd-jobbers, furniture assemblers, furniture movers, drivers etc, and I have had mostly good successes and some bad hires and a whole slew of flakes.

TaskRabbit is like [Uber](experiment-2-uber-lyft/) / AirBnb for CraigsList. It has a web-site, it has an iOS app. You post jobs that you need doing, ask for bids for the entire job or like mine for an hourly rate. People send you bids, you check their references, you check responses from people that have used them before and this is the key for me, the money is all handled by Credit Card. You don’t have to deal with getting cash. You don’t have to deal with trying to document a transaction because TaskRabbit sends you a receipt, there are no misunderstandings about how much the Task Rabbit is going to get paid and how much you are going to be paying. Everything is up front and nothing is under the table.

So I put out a job request Thursday morning, received three bids, counted with a lower bid, which was accepted and I had a guy stand in the queue outside the Fox theatre from 5:00 to 6:45 PM. When he got into the queue he pressed a button on his phone to start the timer. When I arrived and relieved him of his position in the queue, he pressed it again. I got the bill on my phone, confirmed it was as agreed - including a pre-agreed amount to cover his BART fare - gave him a good writeup and proceeded to enter the theatre 15 minutes later.

Now the guy had given me heads up that he was about 100th in line, but as the 99 patrons before us generally consisted of 16-18 year old teenage girls I pretty much had nothing to worry about as they wanted to get as close to the stage as they could manage (in the orchestra pit) and I wanted to be at the front of what would be the stalls if there were actually seats at that level - basically level with the stage not in the Pit.

Did I upset the people waiting in line behind me? I’ll never know, they didn’t say a word about it. Was I the oldest person at a Lorde Gig? Possibly, although I suspect I wasn’t. Will I use TaskRabbit again? Absolutely. Does Lorde remind me of a certain young Kate Bush? You betcha!

 
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Experiment #1: Airbnb

On a recent trip to Hollywood after booking two different hotels in less than ideal locations I changed my mind cancelled them and instead rented an apartment using the airbnb.com service. End result, instead of getting a room in an... Continue →