2 weeks ago I was in the UK giving a on site training session on Mobile. When I arrived at Heathrow I quickly gathered my bags and proceeded thru customs and on to a Taxi that would get me to my hotel. Just outside the terminal, taxi’s were lined up awaiting their passengers, where I was ushered to a cab. I was given a price that seemed very high, but looking down the row of taxies I was left to believe that each cab was the same. On the way to the hotel the driver let me know that he did not know how to get to my specific hotel, so instead he was going to drop me off at nearby Reading station. I complained but relented. When we arrived the dropped the price by 10 pounds, and pointed me to a cab that could take me the rest of the way. When I finally got there it seems, the hotel was back the way we came. The whole trip was 120 pounds or 240 Canadian dollars.

The next day I called for a cab to pick me up and take me to the local Train station to go into London. Talking with the driver and understanding the distance and the rate that should be charged (34 pounds) I set up a pickup back to the Airport come the end of the week.

What made me think this morning as I was preparing my coffee and getting ready to get into a day long undisturbed coding session was how much my cabbie experience relates to the business I am in. Let me explain.

1. The first cabbie was overcharging for their services. He took a fare not on capability but on making the quick buck

2. When he realized that he could not get the job done, he dumped the project and the customer instead of following through with the prearranged agreement

3. Another cabbie had to resolve the problem that the first caused

4. Communication and planning provided a less expensive solution to the problem

5. The first cabbie lost any further revenue from the customer (me) because they did not want the relationship they wanted the buck

In the economic times that we find ourselves in the value proposition of using services from a company are going to be scrutinized and evaluated like no other time. Commitment to the customer, commitment to quality and service I believe is going to assist in riding out the storm. This episode in my life though insignificant within the whole picture really shows the two types of companies that exist and clearly reinforces the type of company I want to run where the customer is first.


My UK Fish Episode

I was not going to bring this up, but while training Nick and Jonathan I was going on about the meal (and the jokes that ensued) I had one night at the Inn that I stayed at. I decided to have a traditional Fish and Chips, heard so much about it, thought it would be a great meal to have. Well when I cut into my fish….. which was battered by the way, there was skin on one side. If you know me you will understand that generally I am pretty much a meat and potatoes man. Well this fish..skin episode scarred me for the rest of the night and gave us some good laughs the next day. So if you ask for Fish and Chips in the UK, look out for the skin 🙂




  1. This did make me chuckle. However, it does raise an equally important piece of the project puzzle – and that is a client who doesn’t know what he wants nor how much it will cost him is wide open for being ripped off ! (as you were, £120 yeesh!)

    Prior to taking the black cab you could have researched the subject by asking a “local” how much roughly it would be. Having this crucial piece of information would have left you in a much stronger position to barter with the cabbie you chose. You could have chosen three cabbies and picked the best price.

    It would have been highly unlikely you would have the same black cab take you back to the airport so, from his point of view, he wasn’t expecting a return journey and was making the most of what he had.

    Better luck next time Mark – and watch out for the fish !

  2. Skin on the FISH?!!!! Who would want to eat fish skin? I LOVE fish and chips, but may have to pass on that one..

    Funny thing about the cabbie.. did he not know before he left the airport with you he didn’t know how to get to the hotel? Dont they have a dispatcher they can get directions from.. weird..

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