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Forget Those Details, What Planet Are They On?

, , , , , | Right | March 3, 2021

I work in a call center sending taxis to customers. This conversation happens several times every Friday and Saturday, no exceptions.

Me: “[Taxi Company]. May I have your phone number, please?”

Caller: “Umm, hang on…” *To other partygoers* “Does anybody know what my phone number is? Okay, it’s [number].”

Me: “Okay…” *Types in the number* “Are you at [address]?”

Caller: “No, umm… Does anybody know the address here?” *Pauses* “Okay, it’s [Address].”

Me: “Is that a house or an apartment?”

Caller: “Umm… is this a house or apartment?”

Yes, they seriously ask this.

Caller: “It’s an apartment.”

Me: “Okay, can I get the apartment number?”

Caller: “Umm… does anybody know the apartment number here? Okay, it’s [number].”

Me: “Thank you, and who’s the cab for?”

Caller: “Umm… hey, who’s taking the taxi?”

Seriously, why would you phone for a taxi when you knew literally none of the information? Amazingly, they usually got picked up anyway.

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His New Year Started A Little Early

, , , , , | Right | December 31, 2020

I work for a taxi company answering the phones and arranging taxis for customers. It’s New Year’s Eve, the biggest night of the year for cabs.

Me: “[Taxi Company], may I start with your phone number?

The caller has clearly had a few.

Caller: “Yeah, it’s [number].”

Me: “Okay…”

I type in the number, but no previous addresses show up.

Me: “And where are you tonight?”

Caller: “What? Well, I’m in Timbuktu. What does it matter?”

Me: “I need to know where you are so I can send you a taxi.”

Caller: “…”

Me: “Do you need a taxi, sir?”

Caller: “…”

Me: “Can you tell me why you called, sir?”

Caller: “Umm…”

His voice trails off; I wait for a few seconds.

Me: “Have a good night, sir.”

I ended the call. He never called back, so I never did figure out what he wanted.

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It’s Snow Problem To Take It Slow

, , , , | Working | December 18, 2020

This happens around ten years ago, a few days before Christmas. It is one of the years when the UK receives a fairly hefty snowfall — by British standards, at least.

Since we so rarely get snow, we are always poorly equipped to handle the conditions. Almost nobody has even heard of winter tyres or snow chains, and people either drive far too slowly or far too quickly, making the roads chaotic. Salting and plowing happen on main roads, but back roads and side streets are rarely attended to.

This particular evening, my family and I are in a taxi to see some family friends for a Christmas party. The route from my parents’ house to the friends’ is pretty much ten minutes’ drive along a dual carriageway, and one we know well.

We’re all a little surprised when the taxi driver takes an unexpected turn down a narrow, winding country lane.

My dad is sitting up front.

Dad: “Why aren’t you taking [Obvious Main Road]?”

Driver: “The traffic along that road is really bad due to the snow, so I’m taking a less-travelled route.”

And, to be fair, the road is very quiet. However, because it’s quiet, no other traffic has created any tracks in the snow, making the road even more slippery than it would have been otherwise.

Despite the conditions, our driver is going quite fast. In all honesty, his speed would have been a bit too fast for normal conditions.

Dad: “Can you slow down a bit? We’re not in a massive hurry, and we’d like to get there in one piece.”

And for a mile or so, he does ease off. But as the road becomes a bit less winding, he picks up the pace again. Just as my dad starts to ask him to slow down again, the driver turns into a corner.

The car, instead of simply rounding the slight bend, spins a FULL 360 DEGREES, coming to a halt in the middle of the road. It is extremely fortunate that the road is a little wider and so quiet; otherwise, we’d have almost certainly hit either the trees at the side or another car.

My dad, surprisingly calmly, reiterates his request that the driver slow down lest he kill us all, and thankfully the message is received, and the rest of the journey is completed safely and sedately.

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Taxi Unfare, Part 2

, , , , , | Working | October 16, 2020

My husband, our toddler, my brother-in-law, and I are just leaving the hospital. We call a taxi, knowing the bus ride home will be too strenuous.

The driver of the taxi is altogether unpleasant. He rolls his eyes and shakes his head as he watches us install the child’s car seat, which should have been our first clue. As we are buckling in, I take a glance at the meter and am immediately confused. It reads $4.60 and then moves to $4.80 just as we leave the parking lot. I am not completely certain that is correct but resolve to check the base fare — which is posted on the outside of the taxi — when we get home.

As soon as we pull in, I know something is wrong. He “lets” me have twenty cents off of the fare that is read on the meter and just in general looks put out. As I leave the taxi, I indeed realize that the base fare is only supposed to be $3.20. He argues with me, saying they are allowed to run the meter while we’re installing the carseat. Uncertain, I decide I’ll just call the company. 

The supervisor is no better and speaks to me with a condescending attitude. 

Supervisor: “Oh, we’ve never had a complaint about him before and he’s been with us for years.”

Supervisor: “Oh, he has the right to start the rates if you’re taking too long.”

Supervisor: “I’ll talk to him about courtesy and letting people know about the fare.”

And so on.

Still suspicious, I went ahead and checked the laws. As it turns out, they’re not allowed to even start the meter until everyone is seated in the vehicle, which we clearly were not. Their head office will be getting an irate phone call on Monday morning.

Taxi Unfare

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Kirk Gleason At Ooober Would Never Stand For This

, , , , , , , | Working | September 25, 2020

I work with home-bound dementia patients. Due to health concerns with riding public transportation during the health crisis, my agency is paying for workers to take car services to work. I have used one particular app-based service with no problem… until one Friday.

I get the car and he picks me up just fine. We turn the corner and come to a two-lane street with a stoplight on red. There are two cars in front of us.

The minute the light turns green, the driver zooms into the opposite lane and passes the two cars! He clips the front car while doing so. He does this so fast — like zero to one hundred mph — that it takes me a good minute to realize he’s stopped the car on the next street and the clipped driver, a woman, has pulled up behind him, gotten out, and is now yelling at him.

Once I can move, I grab my stuff and get out of the car, hitting the “CANCEL” button on the app. The driver, meanwhile, is arguing with the woman, saying there is no scratch or mark on her car. She demands his information and he refuses, speaking very condescendingly and insisting there has been no accident. He sees me and asks that I get back in the car.

I respond, “H*** no! You almost f****** killed me!”

Seeing me, the woman comes over and asks if she can get his information on the app. The driver continues to tell her that there is nothing wrong and implores me to get back into the car. She takes a picture of him and his license plate and asks once more for his insurance. He gets in the car and drives off.

The woman is a nurse and has to get to an emergency pickup shift, and I, of course, have to go relieve another worker who is with a client. We exchange information and I tell her I will fill out the accident form on the app. We part ways to our jobs.

I do get a response from the app, saying someone will contact me about filling out a report, but then I hear nothing for almost an entire week. Finally, I have to call up the support line and remind them we have his license plate before they send me the insurance contact number. I pass it on to the woman and let her know to contact me for anything, as I’ve saved all the texts and files with screenshots.

The worst part is, when I checked to make sure I had the driver’s name right, he was still driving even though I had filled out a report on him!

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