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The Little Things…


On my way out of Chicago on Saturday, I stopped by a friend’s house for breakfast. The fast having been broken, we sat and chatted for a while, since my flight didn’t leave until 1:45pm. Of course, it takes at least half an hour to get to O’Hare from anywhere in Chicago, and I’m always paranoid about arriving late at the airport, so I called a cab company at 11:30am. I got the automatic system, which correctly identified my location, and asked whether I wanted a cab immediately or wanted to schedule one for the future. I pressed “1” for immediately, and the system responded that a cab would arrive shortly.

Half an hour later, I began to get concerned. I called back, and this time was put immediately on hold. After waiting for ten minutes (You’re business is very important to us. Please stay on the line”), I finally got an operator, and the following conversation ensued:

  • Rob: Hi; I ordered a cab at 2321 W. Weston about 40 minutes ago, and it hasn’t shown up yet.
  • Operator: Oh, yes. A cab hasn’t been dispatched.
  • Rob: Uh… why not?
  • Operator: We don’t serve your area.
  • Rob: …. Couldn’t someone have told me that before?
  • Operator: You used the automated system.
  • Rob: So?
  • Operator: You have to call back to find out that a cab isn’t coming.
  • Rob: …. That’s great; thanks very much!

That’s pretty close to verbatim, and the operator’s tone was matter of fact; no indication that there might have been anything wrong with the system, and no hint of apology. Fortunately my friend was able to take me to the airport, so I didn’t miss my flight.

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