Saturday, April 28, 2012


Yesterday I went to Materials Unlimited in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  I knew the address, but I didn't bother looking at the map before I left my home because I have OnStar.

Once on the freeway, I pushed the OnStar button in my car and waited for an advisor.  Instead, I got an automated message message that said if I wanted directions and knew the address, I could just say 'directions'.  So I did.  I was then told if I knew the city and state I could say the city and state.

So I said 'Ypsilanti, Michigan'.  The automated response system told me that she did not get that and to please say it again.  So, again, 'Ypsilanti, Michigan'. 

Oh, well, we were having a problem.  Could I just say the name of the state.  'Michigan'.  She got that.  Now we tried the city again.  'Ypsilanti'.  Oops.  She was not getting that and said to wait for an advisor.

I was glad that it was a 45-minute drive, else I might have passed the exit.

Finally connected to a real live person, she had no trouble giving me directions.  I told her of my experience with the computer and she laughed.  I had the feeling it was not the first time it happened.

I can't wait for the next time I go to the Kalamazoo Art Museum.  I'll probably have to sing the song: K A L A M A Z O O I got a girl in Kalamazoo.

Not the first time I've had a few problems with directions.  Once I was on the entrance ramp of a freeway and was told I had reached my destination.  Turns out the restaurant was in a mall alongside the freeway.  It was also closed.  Another time I was told to make a right to get to the Detroit Athletic Club, but having been there several times I knew that it was further up the road.  And yes, I was just testing the system.

Overall, I am very happy with the service and the personal help I have received during traffic jams and complete road closures.  Coming back from my sister's place in Port Austin, the road I was travelling was closed and I was following traffic through a cornfield.  I decided to call for help since I was not sure anyone in front of me knew where he was going.  If you have ever been out in the country, you know that there are NO streetlamps in farmland.  The agent guided me back to the mainroad and I made it home safely.

I am sure glad that live OnStar advisor was there.  Computers cannot replace people in these situations.

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