It’s a cab, innit

Many British papers have reported the humorous story of a young woman who called the operator trying to order a cab, but instead had a cabinet delivered to her home. Her problem was too much Cockney, and too little Queen's English. From Ananova:

the Londoner, 19, wanted a taxi to take her to Bristol airport, and first used the Cockney rhyming slang "Joe Baxi". When the operator told her she couldn't find anyone by that name, the teen replied: "It ain't a person, it's a cab, innit." The operator then found the nearest cabinet shop, Displaysense, and put the girl through. She then spoke to a bemused saleswoman and eventually demanded: "Look love, how hard is it? All I want is your cheapest cab, innit. I need it for 10am. How much is it?" The sales adviser said it would be £180 and the girl gave her address and paid with a credit card. The next morning, an office cabinet was delivered to her South London home.

Two things make me suspicious of the story. 1) It sounds a lot like the classic "lost in translation" urban legend. 2) It originated from a Displaysense press release, which means that it's probably the invention of a press agent.

Literature/Language Urban Legends

Posted on Tue Apr 15, 2008


Sounds like a load of Jackson Pollocks*, it does.

*Rhyming slang I just invented for "bollocks."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  01:42 AM
Especially considered that rhyming slang for taxi is not Joe Baxi - cos we don't call them taxi's, unless we're hailing a black cab in the street. Rhyming slang for cab is Sherbert Dab. And aseveryone uses 'innit' at the end of a sentence, we're all used to it by now.
Posted by Nona  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  05:18 AM
And Ananova is the strictest in fact checking!
Posted by Leshka  in  New York City  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  07:11 AM
The Register first alerted me to this story - "According to the Daily Mail, the unnamed teen rang directory enquiries two weeks ago..."

After this story popped up on the Museum of Hoaxes, I checked the Register's reference - "Teenager calls for a taxi but ends up with furniture after requesting a 'cab, innit!'"

So maybe it is true after all....
Posted by kraftwerk  in  Sussex, UK  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  08:57 AM
Umm... The Register is not known for being the most factual tabloid out there. And who are they quoting? THE DAILY MAIL!?!?

That's like saying there's a great article in the Weekly World News about GWBush shaking hands with space-aliens. They printed it so it must be true, right?

Please don't take articles in any of these tabloid magazines at face value. Ever.
Posted by fuzzfoot  in  Potland, OR  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  09:56 AM
In this case, it doesn't matter which papers printed the story: Ananova, the Daily Mail, etc... because the story itself was lifted directly from the press release of the furniture store.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  01:45 PM
Another factor that may be in play here, Cockney is supposed to be dying out. At least, I remember reading that in a discussion on another subject a while back. However, given that the store is the source of the story, I also doubt it. I do wonder why the teenager didn't find the number of a cab company and call direct? Wasn't there a phone book around, or couldn't she use the 'Net? Why call directory assistance?
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  05:06 PM
A taxi from South London to 'the airport'? Which airport? (London has three.) For
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  London, UK  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  05:33 PM
...oh, I see - Bristol Airport. There is no conceivable reason why anyone would get a cab there from South London. Apart from a few UK destinations it doesn't serve anywhere you can't get to from a London airport.
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  London, UK  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  05:41 PM
Does this really deserve its 'undetermined' status, Alex? CMG leads me to suggest a new status of "Patent Jackson"...
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  04:27 AM
- She paid 180 pounds for a taxi ride?
- Before she took the ride? (In my world, we pay AFTER the cab ride, not before.)
- And somehow completed this entire transaction (including the payment calculation) without saying "to take me to Bristol airport"? Seems like that would have been bound to come up.
- And she first refers to it as a "taxi" and then changes to using "cab"?

Posted by Frosted Donut  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  12:22 PM
It's a Liver pool, or a liver puddle, Ian.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  03:19 PM
Why she had no question about the
Posted by gardennin  in  San Jose  on  Sun Sep 21, 2008  at  06:46 PM
I can confirm 100% that the story is a complete lie, I used to work for them and the whole thing (Like 99% of their press releases) was made up.
Posted by Whistlebowler  in  UK  on  Thu Dec 31, 2009  at  03:51 AM
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