Yesterday (August 24), ride-hailing service Uber announced on its blog that it would be delivering free Earnest Ice Cream sandwiches to Vancouverites who opened the Uber app and clicked “Request Ice Cream” starting at 11 a.m. today (August 25).
However, local users were hit with an “No Ice Cream Available” message at as early as, well, 11 a.m. Needless to say, they are not pleased.
This #UberIceCream thing is really backfiring as no one's app is working and no one gets ice cream.— H (@heather_michiko) August 25, 2017
Never before have so many people have been pissed off due to lack of ice cream #UberIceCream— Samuel (@7SevenIn7) August 25, 2017
One Twitter user even claimed that she was charged $1 after Uber cancelled her ice-cream order mid-delivery.
#UberIceCream says my ice cream is on its way, cancels and then charges us $1.00. A sad day for my office and the future of ridesharing— Tristin Melissa (@trismelis) August 25, 2017
In a glorious backfiring of what was clearly meant to be a brand-boosting move, some people are taking the opportunity to aim shots at Uber—particularly, the underrepresentation of women on its staff, its supposed failure to protect female drivers on the job, and the culture of misogyny and sexual harassment that allegedly shrouds the company.
Another user posited that the whole free-ice-cream thing is simply a ploy to get Vancouverites to sign up for Uber, which would illustrate demand for the service to the B.C. government.
A handful of lucky Vancouverites, however, have managed to receive the frozen treats, proving that this may not be a scam after all.
But are there certain individuals that Uber has prioritized deliveries to?
Did #UberIceCream just give all their ice cream away to media and influencers?!— Justine Yu (@jmyu) August 25, 2017
Uber claims that "demand is off the charts", but they've still got plenty of ice cream on hand.
Demand is extremely high due to the popularity of this promotion. Please keep trying, we'll get to as many requests as possible.— Uber Support (@Uber_Support) August 25, 2017
The deal is on until 3 p.m., though, after this fiasco, it looks like some people are done with Uber for good.
Completely deleted my Uber account because ice cream is very serious and I won't be toyed with #UberIceCream— Shelby Petersen (@shelbypetersen) August 25, 2017
If this is what @Uber's service will be like, we may as well stick with the taxi companies.— Rob Maguire (@RobMaguire) August 25, 2017
On the bright side for the company, it should be pretty easy to follow through on its pledge to donate $1 to the Vancouver Sun Children's Fund for every ice-cream request when barely any are being confirmed.
Meanwhile, delivery service Skip the Dishes has jumped in to save the day by offering free ice cream to anyone who direct messages them on Twitter before 3 p.m. today (August 25).
SkipTheDishes to the rescue! Disappointed ice cream lovers can send us a DM before 3pm PST + we’ll get them hooked up with FREE ice cream!— SkipTheDishes (@SkipTheDishes) August 25, 2017
As of 2:30 p.m., Foodora is also on-site at Robson Square with free ice-cream sandwiches. "No delays or $ required," the meal-courier company tweeted.
Editor's note: Vancouver's Earnest Ice Cream has apologized for partnering with Uber, whose values they say "do not align with our own", for the one-day promotion. For more on this story, click here.