Wednesday, May 11, 2005

maps and scale

Arriving in Charlotte, NC for a customer presentation last week was accompanied by 3 separate pangs. Firstly, Google, Yahoo, and Mapquest all refused to ascertain the customer location, and so we had to hope our hotel was located somewhere close to it and not 50 miles off in the wrong suburb. Secondly, tiredness from working all kinds of hours for almost two weeks was seriously impairing my ability to judge the quality of the presentation I was about to deliver. Finally, hunger played that role given to it by nature and Maslow's Hierarchy. Gnawing at my insides and brewing a storm in my head that is.

I could not do much about the first two issues until the next day, so eating became the main goal once I got to the hotel. (Aha, the Hierarchy again - shelter and food.) The following dialog of my coworker (CW) with the hotel clerk (HC) gave some food for thought:

CW: Do we go downtown for a nice dinner, or is there anything nearby?
HC: Oh no, there are many places nearby. This is a great area. Here is a map with some of them.
CW: Is there anything you would recommend?
HC: Oh, there are just so many to choose from. Would you like me to order a cab for you?

Impressed by the number of restaraunts on the map, and dubious about their quality, we settled on japanese "hibachi" restaraunt. After dutifully waiting 30 minutes for the cab we got in. And began driving.

In 10 minutes or so the downtown skyline became visible. 10 minutes later it receded back into the night. The restaraunt closed an hour earlier than indicated on our map, so we did not make it. Yep, the map of "nearby" restaraunts actually covered most of the Charlotte metropolitan area. What I still cannot quite figure out is whether the hotel was shilling for the restaraunts or the cab company.

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