Thursday, November 15, 2007

The customer is always "right"

I've mentioned this before, but last night I had a customer who brought it all back to me. Generally, when people give me an address, cross streets, business name, or other destination, they sit back and let me choose a route. Sometimes, probably 1 in 5, they tell me which way to go, because they "know the best way." They never do. In over two years and more than 4000 rides, nobody has ever suggested a route that was better than the one I would have taken. That's not ego, because, trust me, cabbies don't have those. It's simple fact. Some people are just trying to avoid being taken the long way, but that's laughable, as their way is the long way.

Here's a pop quiz. You're driving a taxi through Bario Logan when a flag steps into the street. It's 4 p.m. He wants to go out to El Cajon (City, not Blvd). That's a great ride, by the by. What is the best route?

If you answered, "Why, Ted, I would get on the 5 southbound, underneath the Coronado Bridge, then take the 15 north, to the 94 east, to the 125 north, to the 8 east," give yourself a prize!

If you answered, "Why, Ted, I would get on surface streets to the eastbound 94 entrance ramp, near Market St. After waiting for all the traffic and lights, we'd finally get on the freeway. Then we would sit in total gridlock with the people flowing from downtown onto the 94 east. We'd be upset that we had to do that. Then we would take the 805/15 to the 8 east, where that traffic is nearly as bad as the beginning of I-94," you were probably a recent customer of mine.

I realize few people know the roads as well as people who drive them for a living. Still, my route is all basic freeway stuff. A quick glance at any map would show somebody how to get around the city. But people get ideas in their head, and what's worse, they think their ideas are good.

I never know how to react to people like that. I almost always say, "Sure," and follow their bad directions. I make more money their way, but I'd rather go the best route. And, as I mentioned in that earlier post on this subject, trying to inform them of a better way only makes things worse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ted,

I added your blog "SoCal Cabbie" to my Taxi Blogroll knowing that visitors might be interested in reading. I hope you can add my taxi blog to your blogroll too. All the best!