Tag Archives: punters

An incorrect address

London cabbie

While working as a cabbie how should I address you, and conversely when riding in the back of my cab by what name will you use to attract my attention? I’m sure cabbies from previous generations addressed their customers as “Guvn’r”, as the punters at the time were almost certainly male and middle class, and therefore in the manner of the day, would be regarded at a higher social standing.

But nowadays in a more egalitarian society much of the class structure of the last century seems to have been abandoned and also our customers are more likely to be women as much as men. Moreover many modern women will direct me as their male companion stands idly by.

[S]o how should my customers address me? “Taxi” is wrong on so many fronts, that I don’t know where to start; it is just that I don’t have 4 wheels.

“Cabbie” would seem an obvious choice, I’ve certainly earned that moniker, and it establishes our relationship; they the “customer” and I am for the duration of the journey their employee.

Or “Driver”, factually correct, but rather impolite to our native ears, and please not “Driv”, that just puts you at the bottom of the social class pecking order.

“Mate” or “Pal”, is a little, well, too intimate after all we’ve only known each other for a few minutes. Using “Guv” rather reverses the customer/servant relationship.

Our cousins from America seem to get it right, they nearly always address me as “Sir”, but curiously in a way that they retain their superiority, that is until the journey’s duration has exceeded 20 minutes, by which time Americans have usually introduced themselves and we address each other by our Christian names.

And more importantly, how should I address you – the customer?

“Sir”, “Guv’”, “Mate”, for the male of the species, possibly, but many of my customers would take offence.

And it is far from easy the ladies; “Madam”, “Dear” – both insulting or “Luv” – a bit personal or “Miss” a little demeaning?

Now all these are not just academic questions, because of our association with Europe, what becomes law in France will almost always drift across the Channel. For the French it would seem are taking their famous Liberté, égalité, fraternité to the Nth degree.

They apparently don’t like titles such as mademoiselle that set you apart from your other countrymen – or should that be countryperson? The French Prime Minister, François Fillon, has ordered that the term be removed from all official forms and registries. The decision, the report states, marks a victory for feminists who say the use of mademoiselle was demeaning to women. Insisting that their marital status need not be known every time they sign a form, or presumably hail a cab. Men in France are referred to as monsieur, or sir in English, regardless of their marital status. The campaigners wrote on their website that they “intended to end this inequality but also to inform women of their rights.”

So will the famously grumpy Parisian cabbies find a way that suits both sexes and a term that respects all ages when they address their customer, and for we in London what is it to be?

A Winter’s Tale

Today in keeping with the Christmas tradition of bringing Joy to all Mankind, CabbieBlog brings you a tale from New York with a happy ending; the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Joe Grimaldi was driving his Checker Cab through Lower East Side, wondering what the day would bring. He needed money for his three children’s Christmas presents and there was that little matter of the rent arrears.

Quite unexpectedly he was flagged down in this area of the city not renowned as a honeypot of work.

“Can you take me to the junction of 2ndand 4th? the fare enquired.

“Sure”, said Joe thinking what a great start to the day this was.

“How much would it cost?” enquired the fare.

Joe realised that the fare wasn’t dressed as smartly as many of his customers, but a fare’s a fare these days, so he replied “2nd and 4th would be $20 give or take some”.

“What!” exclaimed the fare, “that’s goddam daylight robbery”?

With that he produced a gun and ordered Joe out of his vehicle. The assailant then jumped in behind the wheel and drove off.

Now Joe a man of few words, but clearly great reasoning powers phoned the police.

So when his assailant stopped 20 minutes later at 2nd and 4th there was a reception committee of New York’s Finest.

Sometimes, just sometimes, it feels good to be a cabbie, seeing your fellow cabbies help protect these people from their own stupidity at this Festive Time.

Happy Christmas to you all and Be Lucky.

Press 1 if you want to report a fault

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

[I] am thinking of reporting a persistent fault to mobile phone manufacturers. It would appear that over use causes the device to adhere to the user’s ear.

Cabbies are getting increasing annoyed by our punters complete inability to communicate in the normal way. They hail you and mumble their destination while continuing a conversation on their mobiles. If you have the temerity to ask for clarification, Mobile Man, as yes dear reader it’s always the male of the financial services species, shoots you an annoyed glance designed to imply that you are a complete idiot.

They continue earnestly talking on their phone for the duration of the journey; I swear if I got a job from London to Manchester (if only) Mobile Man would not stop talking. Ladies reading this might like to reflect on the accusation that women rarely stop talking.

Now comes the clever part. After being told “why have you gone past my house” or “why did you take that route” Mobile Man alights. He then performs a feat worthily of Billy Smart’s Circus; phone in left hand, trying to retrieve money from one’s pocket with right hand and shutting the cab door with his foot, he juggles with commendable dexterity to pay you. Then and this is his piece de resistance, he asks for a receipt without breaking the flow of conversation on the phone.

He then wanders off, still talking; I suppose to find someone to help him prise the phone from his left ear.

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.