Friday, January 27, 2012

Yelp No Help

I locked myself out of the house on Wednesday. I was getting ready to leave the house when I received a phone call about work. As I talked, I also walked around the house getting my stuff ready to leave. I was a little behind schedule. I was the last one to leave the house.

As I walked out the door to put a few items in the car, still talking on the phone, I inadvertently locked the door behind me.

I realized what I did as soon as I did it.

“I gotta go,” I told the caller. I assessed the situation. I was locked out, without a coat. The car was unlocked but the key was back on the kitchen counter. I had my phone. I needed a locksmith, soon.

A commenter to a recent post made reference to Yelp, the smartphone app that bills itself as the “fun and easy way to find and talk about great (and not so great) local businesses.” I decided that this was as good a time as any to put it to the test.

I typed “locksmith” into the search window and Yelp gave me two options that were close by and offered service within 15 to 20 minutes. Recall that I didn't have a coat.

I called the first and got an answering machine. That immediately disqualified them. The second was a disconnected number.

I was getting cold. I then thought of a locksmith I used years ago in Columbia, Village Lock & Key. At one time they even had a store in The Mall. The name actually originated from their first store in the Wilde Lake Village Center. I met the owner once, a big guy named Sonny Crosun. They were my third call. They were also my last call. 

Within fifteen minutes a locksmith named Tim pulled up in his Village Lock & Key van and got to work on getting me in. Quick and professional. 

Curiously, they weren’t even listed in the top sixteen on Yelp.

Being good at loco info is not so easy to do on a national scale. 
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