Ham sandwiches in ride shares: An ethical inquiry

Photo: structuresxx (iStock)

Ride-share drivers have seen some shit. Whether it’s people leaving 20 lbs. of pulled meat in their car, or my friend whose passenger called her hours later to say he’d left a package of cocaine under her backseat (true story), transporting strangers is fraught with the bizarre. That’s to say nothing of the garden-variety, day-to-day annoyances that drivers have to deal with: slammed doors, backseat driving, smelly food.

Business Insider spoke to 20 ride-share drivers to find out their biggest pet peeves, and it’s unsurprising that pungent and crumby food tops the list. Sure, few of us would deign to eat smoked trout dip or a moist slice of pound cake in the back of an Uber (sober), but it doesn’t seem out of the question to snack on a candy bar or an apple on a longer ride.

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So, where is the line between acceptable and unacceptable car food?

The Takeout discussed this in our meeting this morning and determined that the dividing line is perhaps the ham sandwich. Anything more pungent or messy than a ham sandwich should not be consumed in someone else’s car, lest your poor driver have to vacuum and deodorize the car after you exit. (Those Little Trees aren’t cutting it.) Any food more neat and inoffensive than a ham sandwich is permissible.

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But what of the ham sandwich itself? Say you had a white-bread, moderate-condiment-spread ham sandwich in a bag in your backpack. Acceptable ride-share snack or verboten in a vehicle? This is truly, for us, a liminal area. If there’s too much mayo on the sandwich and it’s at risk of smearing onto upholstery, that seems perilous. On the other hand, a neat-and-tidy white-bread sandwich, crumbs caught within its bag-wrapper, might be permissible. Commenters, please settle this for us.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.