Monday, March 26, 2007

Random stuff, and a blast from the past

I almost always work Sundays, but today was the exception. I couldn't get to sleep until 9:00 a.m., so I slept the day away, then fired up the DVR and spent the evening watching auto racing. It's a hard life.

Around 5:00 p.m. I went to the Point Loma Radio Shack and dropped $30 on a webcam and got some cabling for transfering recordings from my DVR to the laptop. I'd like to use the camera to make driving videos. Not for recording customers, but to capture bad driving on the streets of San Diego. I drive enough to see some insane behavior every day. Hopefully I can record some of this, edit the files in MovieMaker, then post the clips here. It all hinges on the camera quality.

And now onto another bad customer. I pulled this one from the journal I kept last year. I think this is the worst ride I've had so far.

One and done

July 14, 2006

My first (and only) bell today was to a residential address just outside downtown. When I got close, I discovered the street was closed for resurfacing. I had to park about four blocks away and walk in. I knocked on the door and after several minutes an older lady opened the door. One look at her and I knew this was going to be a waste of fuel.

Step 1: Take $200 cash and an unpaid bill to the post office where I was to buy a money order for $123.75. I can't even remember what it was for. Cable TV or something.

Step 2: Make out the money order to her creditor and mail.

Step 3: Travel to (wait for it...) the liquor store, where I was to use the change from the money order to get a mammoth bottle of gin, some tonic (I wonder what she's gonna do tonight?), a half gallon of milk, and several smaller items, like cigarettes, pretzels and a bag of dried fruit, of all things.

She had given me a handwritten list. I shouldn't need it, she told me, because she called the liquor store and they would have everything ready for me. "Just pay and leave," she said.

Step 4: Return with vices, dried fruit, and all receipts.

Where would she be while I was touring California on her behalf? Chain smoking Pall Malls and watching Oprah Winfrey in the comfort of her hovel.

I trekked back to the cab, started the meter and sped away. It's fairly rare to do that without a passenger in the back seat. I felt like a dolt holding her shopping list.

Please also remember that refusing a ride, or even this fiasco, gets the owner of the cab company extremely riled. Getting fired might be a stretch, but the bottom line was I had to do it or else. I've seen what happens to drivers who refuse rides. They get transferred to run down cabs or end up with horrific cab partners.

The post office is run by the federal government, so it's always a dreadful experience to walk inside of one. The woman in front of me in line took ages to decide between stamps with little Santa Clauses on them or the American flag. Who wants Santa stamps in July? I almost made the decision for her -- neither, and never come back. Use email. Pay bills online. The world changed 10 years ago. Jerry Springer must have mentioned something.

The liquor store was another interesting affair. The two Iranians behind the counter vehemently denied getting a call from the old bag. Had I dreamt the "just pay and leave" scenario? I had to walk around with her list and collect every last item myself.

At this point I think we can call the ride "outlandish".

The fare was $24.40 on the meter. She gave me $25 and said to go ahead and keep the change. I stopped her from shutting the door on me.

For the first time I told a customer the tip was unacceptable. She had absolutely no clue why not. She wasn't rude about it, just didn't have any grasp whatsoever. This is very common with people over 60.

I told her $10 would be more reasonable, and she paid it with a bewildered look in her eyes. I walked back to my cab with a bewildered look in mine. That was all I could stand for one day, so I went home.


Paradise Driver said...

Just did a "links" check and want to thank you for it.

I have added you to my cab-blog list.

Welcome to the world of cabblogging.


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