I love India, I love living in India and I have a LOT of love for my Indian friends and the average man-on-the-street that I get to interact with. Taxi drivers and juice wallahs and security guards and shop clerks – amazingly friendly, love love love.
OK, that being said, I have had it up to HERE on a couple of fronts. Let me try and explain.
Complaint Number One: In India “yes” often means “no” or “I have no clue what you’re talking about”, leading to either mildly confusing / funny situations, or frustrating / dangerous ones.
Last night, my aunt needed to go to the airport for her international flight. Knowing that she would need a taxi, and knowing her preference for air conditioning, I booked a taxi from Meru Cabs. Meru sent me a confirmation e-mail and SMS: Your booking status is CONFIRMED. Cab details will be sent to you via SMS. Pickup time is 9:30 PM…etc.
Fine. We went out for dinner, got back to the house by 9:00 and my aunt packed up the last of her stuff. We waited. At 9:25, I’d still not heard from the taxi driver nor the company, so I called. Then, and only then, was I told that “taxicabs are not available in your area at this time. Please wait for 15 minutes and we will send one to you.”
Fine again. We waited. After 15 minutes, I called again, and go the same run-around. “Taxicabs are not available in your area at this time. Please wait for 15 minutes and we will send one to you.” WHAT?!? I need a cab, NOW, or else I’m going to be late for an international flight. You think KLM is going to wait because Meru didn’t have cabs at this time?
So I went out to the taxi stand near my house and was lucky enough to find an available AC cab. My aunt got to the airport. It all worked out in the end. But answer me this: why should I use Meru Cabs again when I can’t count on them? I mean, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s just frustrating when their so-called best-in-class system fails at even the most basic requests: booking a cab in advance? Because yes means no. And the best part? My aunt was in the non-Meru taxi, en route to the airport, and I got a call – from the Meru driver. Then I felt guilty about it all, having to tell the driver than no, the booking has been cancelled due to the incompetence of the call center. I’m sorry, but when it comes to taxis to the airport, you don’t have time to spare waiting! Grr.
And the best part of it is Meru’s motto: Rely On Us.
Yeah, not exactly. You suck, Meru.
Complaint Number Two: Coming tomorrow.