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How would you have handled this situation?

Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by Mike the Brit, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Last weekend I was due to go skiing with some people called the Boston Ski and Sports Club who organize ski trips up to the ski resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. This was the first weekend of the season and I was really looking forward to it.

    I wanted to make sure I was in good time so, after talking to the cab company, I ordered a cab for 4 o'clock which, the despatcher assured me, would get me to the bus pick-up point at a subway station in Newton, a suburb about 7 or 8 miles away from Cambridge for 5 o'clock. The bus was due to start loading at 5 o'clock and leave at 5.30. The cab came on time but the cab driver had no map and didn't know much English -- at first he couldn't find the suburb and then he couldn't find the underground station! At 5.30 he was still driving around looking for it.

    So I missed my ski weekend and wasted $300 -- $360, if you include what I paid the cab driver. Looking back, I have been thinking about the way I acted during this episode -- what it says about my character -- and wonder how you would have reacted.

    When we set off and it became clear that the cabbie was not very focused and responsive, I started to get worried. I tried to make conversation but he wasn't interested and called up someone on his cell phone whom he talked to in what I think was Haitian Creole. As we went on I realized that he was asking this person for directions, but he continued to drive very indecisively. As the time wore on and we crawled along, I didn't know where we were but had bad feelings and was getting very up-tight. I had told him that we had to be there by 5 o'clock. At about quarter to I asked him flat out whether he knew how far we had to go but he just said "not far". After that, things got a bit crazy. We were on a dark road that didn't seem to be taking us to anything like an underground station and so I hopped out at an intersection and asked the guy in the big SUV behind us if he knew where the Riverside MBTA station was. He said "yes" and gave directions that would have taken us back more or less where we had come for a couple of miles. We tried that, but it wasn't clear where we had to turn so I got out again and ran into a Dunkin Donuts where one of the customers gave us directions. Again, we didn't seem to be able to follow them successfully.

    By this time I was fairly frantic and very angry. The driver was still on his cell but he didn't seem to be getting anything helpful. Finally, we gave up. He turned off his meter on the cab. I paid him $60 (the cab by then was about $53) and asked him if he was going back to Cambridge. He was, and got us back there in about half an hour. He was apologetic and I was no longer angry or up-tight. On the contrary, I was very understanding and somewhat amused. I told him: "Look, it doesn't matter. It's not a big deal. It was only a trip away."

    When I got out of the cab I took its number, thinking that perhaps I would call the office of the cab company. But then when I got upstairs I immediately decided not to. As I understand it, there is a reason why cab drivers here in Boston are of such poor quality. It isn't just that they don't have to pass any tests to get a cab driver's licence: the cabs themselves have licences ("medals") that restrict their numbers and make it very difficult for a cab driver to make a decent amount of money. They have to work extremely long hours just to pay for the cost of the cab. If I had made a fuss and it had had consequences then I would perhaps have deprived a poor Haitian immigrant of his only means of livelihood.

    When we were looking for the station and it was becoming apparent that it was not going well, I think that I was about as uptight and uncool as it is possible to be. Something about being in a situation which is going wrong because someone else is failing to do what they should is obviously very hard for me to deal with (I would have been FINE if I had had a map or had a number to call the tour people to get directions). On the other hand, as soon as the worst had happened, I calmed down and started to be kind and considerate towards the cab driver. A couple of times during the weekend I had pangs of regret at not being out on the slopes (at least I got to watch the Pats -- a mixed blessing you might think!) but I think that I can honestly say that I haven't let it upset me.

    My conclusion is that I am certainly a classic control freak. Although I'm actually happy to leave things to other people if I trust their competence/benevolence, I seem to have the greatest difficulty in dealing with the situation when it turns out that they are not. In fact, I'm not sure what it would be to deal with such situations well (which is why I ask you). On the other hand, there was a drastic change as soon as the bad thing that I had been trying to avoid had happened and there was no getting out of it. Then I think I can say that I immediately became about as kind, cheerful and resilient as one could hope to be. I have had other, much worse, things happen recently, and I think that, to the extent that they only affected me, I have been able to deal with them well.

    How would you have reacted? I'm interested to find out how typical I am.
  2. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Screaming, yelling, insults, kicking his seat. That would have been for starters. I then would have called the cab company, demanded my money back plus the cost of the weekend, and for his job. If they hadn't co-operated, I would have sued in court. All of them. Plus damages.

    Oh, and then I would have wished them all a nice day.:)
  3. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mike, you are a true gentleman and handled this much better than I would have. On the other hand: Your tolerance perhaps helped perpetuate the driver's/cab company's incompetence to be unleashed on the next poor soul who needed to get somewhere fast. I had a very similar experience with a cabbie trying to get somewhere in residential San Diego from the airport earlier this year. When it became apparent he didn't know where he was going after driving around in circles for half an hour, I had him take me back to the airport and didn't pay him. Hopefully, that motivated him to learn his territory better the next time around.

    You should not have been inconvenienced the way you were. You essentially "contracted" with the cab company for its services, properly assuming they would get you to your destination in time. They wrecked your weekend and cost you a lot of money. If I were you, I'd get the name and address of the cab company's owner and write him a letter describing what happened and its impact on you, attaching copies of receipts from the cab fare and your pre-paid ski trip. You may not get satisfaction, but then you may be pleasantly surprised.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2006
  4. sdaniels7114

    sdaniels7114 Rookie

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    That's ridiculous. You can't really get re-reimbursed for the ski trip, but you deserve the $60.00 back. At the very least the driver should have just gotten directions from the dispatcher. Newton can be a bit confusing with their quaint tradition of individual 'villages;' but your destination isn't off the beaten path.
  5. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't expect him to get reimbursed for the ski trip, but including the receipt would help illustrate the gravity of what occurred. At the very least he deserves being reimbursed the cab fare.
  6. Clonamery

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    Mike, what Tunescribe said about you being a gentlemen and a kind soul is more than true. I might not have gone off on the cabbie but I certainly would have shown my agitation. Your empathy is admirable as well as charitable.

    Now, next time you need to get somewhere while you're here, you'll do 1 of the next 2 things:
    1. check the internet for the station (or whatever you're looking for) ahead of time to see where you're going. I am a TRUE control freak and that's what I do no matter where in the world I'm going.
    2. Call me and I'll get you there for half the $$$ you wasted and I won't be on a cellphone or say anything but 'Cheerio' and 'Isn't he a blighter!'
  7. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks all for those responses.

    I think that I would have been more confident and in control in my own country. To be honest, it's something I didn't really expect. I have been in cabs here where the cabbie didn't know the way, it's true, but I hadn't really figured it was normal. Yes, I should have looked on the Internet (in fact, the T station in Newton is really easy to find if you get onto route 128; it's just off it -- that's why they chose it as a pick-up point -- and the cabbie went home on route 128 in half an hour easily). Furthermore, I don't have a cell phone. What I should have done, I now realize, was to stop the cabbie from jabbering uselessly to his Haitian pal, got him to call in to his despatcher and talked to the despatcher myself. No doubt I was too uptight to think of that.

    What interested me about the episode was this enormous mood swing from from frantic to relaxed immediately the thing I wanted to avoid happened. I guess I learned something about myself that I sort-of knew anyway -- but it was an expensive lesson!
  8. Nikki

    Nikki Rookie

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    Wow, I am sorry you had such a horrendous experience, and it ended up costing you money as well.

    I would have thrown a fit!!!!
  9. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hunt down the cab driver, tie him up and force him to learn English at gunpoint. Reward him by feeding him Alphabetti Spaghetti. Once he has the subjunctive mood down pat, you can release him. Then you start on the dispatcher, feeding him pages of the local "A to Z".....

    In reality, I would have behaved like you. I can be something of a mouse in those situations.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006

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