Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Short Saga of a Credit/Debit Imprinting Machine

She who refuses to be named said that my last few postings were repetitive.  Though I don't agree I thought that I would tell you a story about a credit card machine.  I challenge her (or anyone else) to find even one personal story regarding the lowly, plastic imprinter that we Seattle cabbies use.  Why this little piece might be unique in the entire annuals of non-fiction literature!  The truth is is that she has just heard too much about taxi. Twenty-two years of hearing the same old, same old!  The poor woman!  God I know the feeling!  Where is that winning lottery ticket?  Or my first best-seller!

Arriving at the taxi lot in the darkened morning I was not particularly happy, calling me less than pleased knowing that my card imprinter was missing. Before I left home I had discovered that it wasn't in the briefcase where I keep my Thomas Guide (map book) and other assorted important tools of the trade.  This little devise is essential as it is one of two necessary steps to process the many credit and debit cards we are offered as payment.  One is the swiping action on the computer which records the card's numbers and provides the authorization code.  The other is the imprinting of the card on an actual paper credit card slip.  After a shift is completed, the exhausted cabbie trudges to the cashier window to do his/her turn (pay the taxi lease), credit card slips and other charges in hand.  Without an imprinted slip the charge will not be finalized and paid. So the cabbie with an imprinter is like a runner minus shoes.  It is going to slow you down.  This then is a story of taxi synchronicity or how the taxi gods occasionally smile upon the dumbbell driver, me!

I had called the night driver, my taxi buddy Ali, and asked if I had been up to my old tricks and had left it in the taxi. No, he said, it wasn't there.  Searching my truck further I still couldn't find it, not surprising given the back was filled with assorted debris from a life disorganized and stupid. Luckily though, now sitting in 478, I found what I believed to be Ali's credit card machine tucked to the right of the driver's side seat.  I was surprised because I knew that he would need it on Sunday when he usually does an extra shift.  Just glad to have it, figuring we could deal with it later. I was just ecstatic that a major problem had been avoided.  Of course the easy solution would have been to buy one but no, they are only available on the weekdays.  It is against all taxi laws to need one on a Saturday or a Sunday when the "taxi store" is closed.

Having not received a call from Ali I optimistically interpreted that Ali had possibly decided to not drive on Sunday.  Definitely wishful thinking. Saturday was so incredibly busy  I conveniently forgot to call him myself.  So busy in fact I didn't even make it to Ocean City for my usual life-saving bowl of noodle soup. After 52 fares I had had enough but wait, feeling beyond death I parked in the University District. knowing I required a nap and immediately fell asleep.  Who knows how long I would have slept beside "The Wide World of Wine" but for Ali calling and asking if I had his credit card machine.  Now refreshed I zoomed over to the Queen Anne and thanked Ali for his inadvertent loan.  Leaving Ali I was immediately flagged for my 53rd fare of the day and took yet another gay couple home to the same intersection of 27th & East Pine.  That was unusual in itself, all occurring within an hour's span.  Strange to have three separate parties heading to the exact same mundane intersection and street, especially at 2:30 in the bloody morning!  Taxi is bizzare, driving round & round in that Yellow car!

Later that Sunday, in the early afternoon, I returned to the lot determined to find my machine.  Daylight plus a renewed concentration rewarded me.  Relieved I thanked the Gods! and went on to my best weekend so far in October.  I have never said that I don't believe in deities.  I am just selective to whom I give my allegiance, that's all!

Other news:

I now have an email address for official taxi commission business:


Use it when you want me to address something before the taxi commission.

and How_____? can you get Category:

The bozo (taxi clown) who kidnapped the DSHS passenger to Vancouver actually ranted and raved about not getting paid for his illegal side trip.  It appears to confirm my suspicions that he was actually being opportunistic when he assented to go in the wrong direction.  That he is still driving at Yellow is extremely questionable.  Did anyone point out that somebody had to take the passenger back to the correct destination?  And the cost to the state of Washington?   Double Wow!!!!

Tomorrow, all of us concerned taxi folks are converging upon Renton, Washington for the third of five statewide L&I hearings that the Labor & Industries Dept. are holding.  I will be there, in a suit. Scary! 

I will provide you an update later tomorrow.

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