Sunday by day, Sunday by night

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This past weekend

  • I worked Sunday 5am-3pm, slept from 4pm-11pm, and then worked Monday from 12am-11am.
  • A group of about 6 hipsters flagged my van down in the Mission around 1am:
    • It was a friend’s 21st birthday and they got him smashed like good friends should. I took some of them back to their West Oakland house and the rest to their college style houses in Berkeley.
    • Most of them were pretty sober and they were fun companions on the long trip. It took about 45 minutes from pickup to getting back ‘on the market’ in the City.
    • One of them (drunkenly) complained about the price. But, the rest knew that an investment in a taxi at the end of the night was a necessity given BART ends early and they didn’t want to drive.
    • His complaint started me thinking about pricing. What people say about pricing is often at odds to their actions. That is, a person’s willingness to purchase a product or service is often higher than they would admit, especially with rather inelastic services such as late-night transportation. Pricing is a very difficult task.
    • When consumer says, “What a rip-off!” yet he or she STILL purchases the product or service, is it REALLY a rip-off? It must not be! Of course, we always want things cheaper. But, if you’re willing to buy the product or service, it must not be a rip-off.
  • I picked up some gay guys in the Castro late Sunday night just after the bars closed. They were trying to stuff their friend in the cab for about 60 seconds until they finally realized he (she? he? I wasn’t sure.) didn’t want to party with them. It was odd. But they were all in good spirits.
  • I took a nice lady and her mother from a retirement home to a doctor appointment way across the City. They had a hard time getting cabs to pick them up from the retirement home, so I gave them my mobile number and they called me directly when they needed a ride back. That was the first time I gave my number out, and it worked great!
  • I took a nice German guy from downtown (near a BART station) to Golden Gate Park. He didn’t have a particular destination in mind so we talked about what would be best to see. I really enjoy talking about the City with visitors; I feel it’s a form of community service to speak against the traditional tourist brainwash and tell them about the treasure of amazing neighborhoods in the City.
  • I had a lot of airport runs on Monday morning. It’s a great shift to get lots of SFO runs.
  • I took a couple from their hotel in the Wharf (north side of the City) to the airport:
    • It was during the worst of the morning rush hour, so I was worried about taking the main roads to get on the interstate.
    • Columbus is a nightmare especially when it terminates to Montgomery (slow as molasses downtown), Gough and the Embarcadero are rather roundabout routes and are usually packed too. I took Leavenworth through Russian and Nob Hills and then jogged over to Hyde>8th>Brannan>280 South.
    • I often worry that the passengers think I’m “taking them for a ride” when I do this, since Leavenworth seems small and dead with stop-signs dotting each intersection. But, as far as I can figure, it’s the fastest way to cut through the City when the main streets are clogged with commuters.
    • It’s surprising how much customer service is a part of this job. Keeping a customer happy is obviously the best way to get tips. Not feeling comfortable with a selected route can really make people sour (and scared).
    • They were very happy with my route.
  • I took a former lawyer to the airport and we had a great chat about choosing life paths. She didn’t end up with her current job until she was in her mid 30’s. Until then, she was on a pretty serious life search, never quite satisfied with her career. We also had a good chat about life in the UK. She shared my surprise with the severely short winter days in Scotland and how much they can affect one’s psyche.
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