Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You can't get there from here

On Saturday, when Brett and I were in Roseville setting up for a homecoming dance at their local high school, he asked if I would run to the Radio Shack to pick up some cables for him.

Roseville is not my town. Most of the time when I try to find anything in Roseville, I get lost. Even if I have been to my intended destination a thousand times before, I will probably get lost. Knowing this, and knowing we were short on time, I resolved to call the Radio Shack and have them give me directions to their store.

The following took place between 11:03 and 11:04 am.

Me: Hi. I need to get directions to your store. I'm at Roseville High School right now. Can you tell me how to get there.

Radio Shack Employee: I don't know where Roseville High School is.

Me: Oh. Well, I'm just off Highway 80 at the Eureka exit.

RSE: Hmmm... well, we're next to Big Lots.

Me: I don't know where that is. I'm not from around here.

RSE: Big Lots is in the Harding Plaza. You know, where Random Store #1 and Random Store #2 are. We're right next to Random Store #3.

Me: I'm sorry. I don't know where any of those stores are. Maybe you can just tell me how to get there from Highway 80.

RSE: From 80? Well, uhhhhhh...

Me: If I'm on 80, what exit should I take?

RSE: Uhhhhhh... Douglas?

Me: Great. So, after I take the Douglas exit, which way should I turn?

RSE: Uhhhhhhh... I don't know. I, uhhhhh... don't drive that way.

Me: *patient sigh* Okay. When you drive to work, which roads do you take?

RSE: Uhhhhhh... I don't know.

Me: You don't know?

RSE: Well, uhhhh, it's just... we're next to Big Lots. Just go into the Big Lots parking lot and we're right there.

Me: I'm sorry. That doesn't help me at all. I don't live around here, so I don't know where that store is.

RSE: *suddenly excited* Oh! Oh! I know! Do you have internet? I can give you the address and you can get a map... just go to mapquest.com. It's totally cool and will give you a free map. You can even put in the address of the place you're coming from and it will give you directions and everything. That would probably work great for you.

Me: *gritting teeth* No. I do not have internet access right now. If I DID, I would NOT have needed to call YOUR STORE FOR DIRECTIONS.

RSE: Oh, yeah. Tee hee. Silly me.

So, who a) doesn't know where the high school in their town in located, b) can't give a customer any useful directions on how to get to their store from a major freeway, c) can't even tell someone how she gets to work in the morning?

There are really two kinds of direction-givers in the world: Dead Reckoners and Landmark Navigators. A Dead Reckoners will actually give you directions to get to your destination. "Take the Douglas exit. Turn right at the light. Turn right at the second street. Go down one mile and it will be on the left." A Landmark Navigator flails around, throwing out places she thinks you might recognize and then says, "Oh, you do know where the Wal-Mart is? Well, we're right next to Wal-Mart." Of course, this approach is completely useless if the person receiving the "directions" is not familiar with your landmarks.

In the interest of time, I terminated the conversation with Radio Shack #1 Employee and proceeded to call Radio Shack #2.

Me: Hi. I'm at Roseville High School and would like to get directions to your store.

RSE2: I don't know where Roseville High School is.

Me: Okay. I'm on Highway 80 coming from Sacramento toward Roseville. What exit do I take?

RSE2: Oh, okay. You, uhhhhh, take the Highway 65 exit then go to the Pleasant Grove exit, turn left and we are in the first strip mall.

Me: Thank you! Now just to clarify, when I take Highway 65, I'll be going north, right?

RSE2: Uhhhh....

Me: Like, in the direction I would go to get to the mall?

RSE2: The mall? No way! We're not near the mall AT ALL. It's the exit after Galleria Boulevard.

Now, as previously mentioned, I get all turned around and lost a lot in Roseville. But the one thing I do know in that the GALLERIA MALL is on GALLERIA BOULEVARD.

I drove out there and found the Radio Shack. I also found that I could see Galleria Mall from their parking lot. But, dude, if it makes you feel better to think that you are not near the mall AT ALL, whatevah.


momodafoxes4 said...

Can you be a mix of the two? Take the 106th exit go down 2 miles to Redwood Rd, turn left at the light, go to 11800 South, turn right at the light, go about 3 miles, past the Daybreak subdivision and the Copper Creek subdivision and once you pass a power substation on your right, start looking for my neighborhood?????

Andrea said...

Absolutely. The point is that the person to whom you are giving directions can find your house. If your method achieves that goal, then it's fine. It's not okay to keep using the same landmarks over and over in an attempt to steer someone correctly if that person has no idea where those landmarks are.

Andrea said...

Seriously, a co-worker was trying to tell me where the nearest FedEx box was located. She said, "You know where the bingo hall is?" I said, "No." She said, "Uhhh, well, it's uhhh...near the bingo hall. You go down and around and then there's a Del Taco and there's a medical office complex and then there's some apartments that are being constructed..." I just stared with a blank look on my face and then went to ask someone else.

The actual directions were thus: "Go right out of the driveway and turn left at the first street. You're there." That easy. But she floundered around for a good 5 minutes because she couldn't believe someone wouldn't know where the bingo hall was.

Shauna said...

I have no idea where the high schools in my town are located. Probably because I moved here after high school and have no occasion to ever go to the high school. And knowing where the high school is in the city where you work??? That's even less likely. Like when I lived in Cameron Park and worked in Rancho Cordova... did I know where the high school was? Nope.

I think you should have called the Big Lots and asked them how to get to their store.

Kari said...

Meep, I neither know where my local highschool is nor could I give concrete directions to just about most places in my town. <:$ Oh well.

Bertie said...

That is hilarious!! HAHA!!!

Vanessa said...

Next time you're in the Roseville area, give me a call - I can give you directions :)