Won’t Go Down For Downtown

| MI, USA | Right | April 7, 2015

(We occasionally get calls from hotels to arrange transportation for their guests. This happened on a Sunday evening.)

Hotel Clerk: “Hi, I was wondering if you could take a guest of mine? He wants… Where do you want to go, sir?”

(I can hear the guest in the background, very loud and rude.)

Hotel Clerk: “He wants to go downtown. How much is that?”

Me: “With us, that’s $30, one way. I can speak with him, if you’d like.”

(The clerk proceeds to hand the phone over. The customer is audibly drunk.)

Customer: “How much is it to go downtown?”

Me: “It’s $30 with our service, sir.”

Customer: “No, no, no, no, no. No. I’ll give you $20.”

Me: “Our prices are firm, sir. We are a luxury service.”

Customer: “Well, aren’t you just precious. You’re so sweet; I’m going to give you $20 for it and that’s all.”

Me: “No. We will not go below $30 for this trip, sir.”

Customer: “Who do you think you are? I can call up any cab service for less, but I’m offering to give you $20 for this.”

(At this point, the clerk grabs the phone away from his guest.)

Hotel Clerk: *clearly desperate* “So can you take him?!”

Me: “He’s drunk, isn’t he?”

Hotel Clerk: “Yes.”

Me: “I’m sorry you have to put up with him, but he’s not getting in one of my vehicles. Here’s the number to a cab service. They’re going to be cheaper and they might actually put up with him. Best of luck. He cannot be easy to have right in front of you.”

Hotel Clerk: *defeated* “Okay. Thanks.”

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A Global Imposition

| Rochester, NY, USA | Working | January 30, 2015

(While in college I relied on trains to get to and from my home for breaks. I had a car, but didn’t trust the area of town the train station was, and instead elected to take taxis from campus to the station. On this occasion, I called for a taxi a few hours in advance to be sure they’d have time to reach me.)

Me: *calling dispatcher* “Yeah, my taxi was supposed to show up about 15 minutes ago, and he’s still not here.”

Dispatcher: “Well, he says he’s on his way.”

Me: “Well, okay, but I have a train to catch, so this is kind of time sensitive.”

Dispatcher: “I’ll let him know.”

(Fifteen minutes later and still no taxi. I’m getting really anxious now as the grace period I left myself is running out, so I call again.)

Dispatcher: “I’m sorry, miss, but all I can say is he’s on his way. I’ll try to contact him again.”

(A few minutes later, my phone rings.)

Driver: “Yeah, I’m just trying to find your apartment… it’s kind of hard.”

Me: “My apartment is ON CAMPUS! On the academic side!”

Driver: “Oh… OH! Okay! I gotcha. I’ll be there in a minute.”

(Finally the cab pulls up and I all but throw my bags into the trunk.)

Driver: “Sorry about the wait. What time is it, anyway?”

Me: *noticing a GPS on his dashboard displaying the time* “It’s [time]. And you know, it says right there on your GPS.”

Driver: “Oh, that thing. I never look at that.”

(Well, maybe you should have, buddy! I almost missed my train!)

This Spells Trouble

| Stockholm, Sweden | Working | April 7, 2014

Me: “Hello and welcome to [Taxi Company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Hello. My name is Nick, and I seek a…”

(I wait for him to continue.)

Customer: “You still there?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I was waiting for you. You said you were seeking a…?”

Customer: “What? No. I said N-I-C-K. My name´s Nick.”

Un-Fare-ly Disadvantaged Himself

| Scotland, UK | Working | January 17, 2014

(I’ve just dropped my daughter off at school and am waiting outside the gates for the taxi I had called to take me to the train station. I have a couple of suitcases with me that I am returning to my sisters in Glasgow. They are quite heavy and I can’t get them into the taxi by myself, requiring the driver to get out and help me. Everything is going fine until the driver is placing one of my suitcases into the boot and I realise I don’t actually have any money on me.)

Me: “Listen, I don’t have any money on me, so we’ll have to—what are you doing?”

(The driver pulls my suitcase out of the boot and throws it onto the ground next to me.)

Driver: “I’ve got actual fares I could be dealing with. Don’t waste my time!”

(Before I can explain, the driver gets in the car and drives away. Instead of getting annoyed, I simply call up another taxi company. They send a car out and I explain the situation. The driver drives me home so I can get money, and then drives me to the train station, where I then pay double the fare I would have had to pay if we’d just driven from the school to the station. That night, after I’d gotten back from my sisters, my wife and I go out to the pub, and who should be there but the first driver. He is sitting with his family and I see he recognises me. I overhear him telling the other people what had happened. I can’t resist the chance, and go over to his table.)

Driver: “I was just telling everyone about how you tried to get a free ride this morning.”

(The others at the table start laughing.)

Me: “That never happened.”

Driver: “Yeah, it did. I was there. Remember?”

Me: “All I remember was you screwing yourself out of a fare. See, I didn’t have any money on me. I was trying to tell you that we’d have to drive back to my house to get the money before going to the station, which was actually double the fare I would’ve paid. But you were so impatient that all you heard was ‘I don’t have any money’ and drove off. But don’t worry, I called another taxi service and they made a killing.”

(I walked off, leaving the driver sitting there as someone at his table called him an idiot.)

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Taxing Taxiing

| London, England, UK | Working | January 9, 2014

(The job I have is in central London and involves early starts between 3 am to 5:30 am. Consequently, travel at this time is subsidised by the company. Most of us get taxis into work. I have recently moved house and find a local taxi company.)

Me: “Hi. I ordered a car for 2:15 am. It’s now 2:25 am and he still hasn’t turned up. This will make me late for work. Can you get this sorted please?”

(They call back.)

Operator: “Hello, sir. I’m afraid you’re driver was stopped by police for a random check. He will be with you shortly.”

Me: “Well, why wasn’t I warned that he would be late? I’m already going to be late. Please get someone here ASAP.”

(I give them the benefit of the doubt that this is a one-off. However, I am getting increasingly frustrated that they also felt the need to call as late as 10:30 the night before to confirm the early booking, even though common sense says that I would be in bed at that time given how early the cars are booked for. After missing a phone call one evening, I ring back around 30 minutes later confirming I still wanted the cab. Predictably, once again they don’t show.)

Me: “I ordered a car for 4:45 am. Can you confirm when he will be here, please?”

Operator: “I’m afraid, sir, that we tried to call you last night. There was no response so the car has been cancelled.”

Me: “No. That is not true! I rang back and confirmed that I still needed the car.”

Operator: “No, sir. You didn’t answer so we cancelled the car.”

(I’m on the verge of completely losing my temper now due the fact that instead of apologising for the mistake, they are just insisting that I never called back to confirm.)

Me: “Excuse me, but I called back. Besides, if I booked the car just two days ago why would I no longer need it? When can you get me a car?”

Operator: “It wouldn’t be for 45 minutes, sir.”

Me: “Are you kidding me!?”

Operator: “Maybe another taxi company would be able to help you, but you will have to call them yourselves.”

(I hang up there and then because I know I will explode if I carry on talking to them. I drive to work that morning and get into trouble for being late. Needless to say, I cancel all future bookings with them. A week later, however, I receive the following text:)

Text Message: “Hello this is a message from [Taxi Company] sir you canceled all bokkings with us due to bad servise please call to confirm if you would like these booking”

(No, really. The spelling and grammar was that poor, and there was no hint of an apology for the awful service. Since they knew my address I thought it best not to respond.)

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