« Commentary Commentary | Main | The Staff of Life »

June 16, 2007

Uhhh . . . Phone Number?

Under the rubric of the category "Hackie Unplugged," I reflect on the most recent Hackie column. This week's column, "Please Mr. Postman," is a tragic tale about an unfulfilled promise of a check in the mail. Oh, the humanity . . .

The basic plot:  A couple of times a year, I arrive with a customer at his or her destination, and - oops - no money, and no way to get any. So, I give the customer my mailing address, and they swear, under oath, to send me a check.

Guess what? The check never comes.

Rereading the current version of this fiasco, I had a revelation. Why not ask the customer for his or her phone number? This way, when they fail to send the check, I can call them and say, "Remember me? Send me the check. Thank you."

Isn't that brilliant? And it took me a mere 25 years to come up with this.

June 16, 2007 at 01:25 PM in Hackie Unplugged | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Uhhh . . . Phone Number?:


Here is what'd I'd do:

I'd take their pictures and tell them that their faces are going up on my Seven Day's blog, unless I get a check by the end of the week.

Or, I'd give them a free ride to the police station.

But you, Jernigan, have a keener awareness of what is important in life ... "the stronger position is to walk away." Priceless, man. Priceless.

Posted by: one_vermonter | Jun 17, 2007 2:50:16 PM

I don't know, One Vermonter, about my "keener awareness," but thanks for the sentiment.

I think that, purely from my life's experience, I've learned that interacting with anger, even when it appears that I've been "done wrong," is ultimately demoralizing to me. So, I just try real hard to let stuff go, no easy task, BTW.

What'd somebody say? The two rules of life: 1. Don't sweat the small stuff. 2. Everything's the small stuff.

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 19, 2007 10:04:44 AM

I like the picture posting idea...public humiliation can be very persuasive. It's kind of like the "wall of shame" of bounced checks at local restaurants.

If that doesn't work, you can always have hired goons break their kneecaps. But that's my answer to everything, hired goons....

Posted by: jay | Jun 19, 2007 4:54:52 PM

It's an ok plan, Jernigan, if the person seriously just forgot or messed up. Do you think that it ever happens though and the person knows they have no $$ but they need a ride anyway?

And you'd have to be careful about social implications. Like, if the clod who had no money happened to be a young woman... and you asked for her phone number.

All in all, it's just a darn shame that ever happens to you or anyone else in the service industry. I hope most people really just forgot and really intend to send the check. Maybe if you carried a small stash of SAS envelopes in the cab...?

Posted by: Kate | Jun 23, 2007 4:00:33 PM

You know, Kate, at this point in my glorious career (and I've been hacking on-and-off since I was a teenager), I'm pretty good at distinguishing among the hustlers and those who have made an honest mistake. That's why I wasn't real peeved at the folks in this situation.

A couple of things. Scenarios like this make for good Hackie stories; in the greater scheme of things, it's a rare occurence. More fundamentally, if you work in a service industry - and cabdriving is a service job - most customers will be great folks, but a certain small percentage will be a pain in the fill-in-the-blank. It's just human nature and the odds when you drive hundreds of fares a month. So my philosophy is: let it go, baby - let it go . . .

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 23, 2007 4:21:46 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.