Earnest Ice Cream issues formal apology for partnering with ride-hailing app Uber

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      It has not been a good 24 hours for Uber.

      In addition to failing to deliver on its promise of free ice cream for Vancouverites, the ride-hailing giant has now been denounced by the city’s wildly popular Earnest Ice Cream, whose owners have issued an apology for partnering with the company.

      The artisan ice-cream shop, which operates four locations in the Lower Mainland, supplied the San Francisco–based ridesharing service with ice-cream sandwiches for a special one-day promotion today (August 25). Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Vancouverites within a designated area who tapped the "Request Ice Cream" button on the Uber app were to have ice-cream sandwiches couriered to them.

      Demand ultimately outweighed the supply of desserts, Uber's fleet of vehicles, or both, leading Vancouverites to air their grievances on social media. However, Earnest owners Erica Bernardi and Ben Ernst alluded to reasons beyond the marketing campaign's disasterous execution for why they should not have worked with the business.

      "We made a mistake," Bernardi and Ernst stated on Earnest's social media channels this afternoon (August 25).

      "Last week we made an agreement to sell ice cream sandwiches to a business who’s [sic] values do not align with our own," they continued. "As we educated ourselves more thoroughly about Uber, we recognized that this is not a good fit for us. We apologize for not doing our due diligence ahead of time and we hope to rebuild the trust that may have been lost with some of you.

      "We are serious about our goals to create a more socially just and inclusive city and community. As relatively new business owners we continue to learn (and sometimes stumble). It's hard to do so in such a public way and we appreciate the people who have drawn our attention to the places where we can do better."

      A leading ridesharing service that has been operating for almost a decade, Uber has come under fire for its workplace culture, which supposedly condones misogyny and harassment of its female staff. Since February, a number of former office employees and drivers have come forward to share the sexism, discrimination, and lack of benefits and protection—even in the face of alleged sexual assault—that they experienced with Uber.

      In June, a staff memo from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was also made public, where the executive appeared to set ground rules for office sex in a way that encourages the already toxic dudebro nature of Silicon Valley startups. Kalanick stepped down from his position in June, but not before one of Uber's presidents was accused of requesting the medical records for a woman who claimed that she was raped by one of the company's drivers.

      Vancouverites are thanking Earnest for the apology and for taking ownership of its error in judgement. Launched in 2012, the ice-cream chain is known for its small-batch, handcrafted flavours and its commitment to environmentally friendly production and distribution methods.

      It looks like Uber has a lot of work to do should it want to weasel its way into the good graces of Vancouverites. Although the app, and other ride-hailing startups, are unavailable in Vancouver, Green party leader Andrew Weaver has stated that he will join forces with the NDP to make such services legal in B.C. before the end of the year.