Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GPS - Get Punked System

Many people think GPS stands for Global Positioning System, but if you've been misguided or lead off the beaten highway by your GPS, you know as well as I do it really stands for Get Punked System!
A GPS can drive you crazy!

My sense of direction sucks big time. I'll exit a restaurant rest room and turn the wrong way to get back to my table. It's easy enough to backtrack on foot, but not so much when driving.  I thought my traveling woes were over the day hubby bought me a GPS. I named it Beverly.

Here it is a year later and I believe GPS gadgets are programmed by practical jokers. Actually, I'm convinced of it. Here's a common scenario when I'm trying to follow Beverly's directions:

About a minute into my set destination, Beverly announces: Lost satellite reception.

Of course you did, Beverly.

I find the freeway, no thanks to Beverly, and I know I'm headed the right way when she picks up reception again and instructs me to turn left on Blah Blah Street.

Uh, hello, Beverly, I'm already on the freeway. 

Turn right on West Avenue.

Earth to Beverly, I said I'm already on the freeway.

Recalculating.

Good idea, Beverly.

You are headed the wrong direction. You need to make a U-turn.

I don't think so. What the heck?

Lost satellite reception.

What a surprise.

Isn't my GPS a gem? What a sucker!

My brother told me about one time when he and his wife were traveling in an unfamiliar city. Their GPS instructed them to exit the freeway, navigated them a few miles away, turning here and there, then guided them back onto the freeway in the same area it had them exit. How bizarre.

I've learned I can't depend on Beverly. She'll punk me for sure, so I look up directions ahead of time whenever possible just to have an idea of where I'm going.

It's wise to have a paper map as a backup. That way, you can avoid the mistake three young Japanese tourists made a few days ago. They were visiting Australia and trusted their GPS to guide them from the mainland to North Stradbroke Island.

Things looked fine and dandy in low tide, so they continued straight ahead as the voice instructed. Even when the water got deeper and muddier, the voice announced, "Continue driving ahead." They did and became stuck in the Pacific Ocean. The GPS failed to notify them of the nine miles of mud and water between their location on the mainland and their island destination. Here's a video clip from ABC:

The clip also mentions the funny GPS mishap in an episode of The Office and some real life GPS disasters:

  • A woman headed to a hotel in Washington state, who ended up in a swamp
  • A 12-foot-high bus that was lead into a nine-foot-high bridge
  • A UK man who almost drove off a cliff thanks to his GPS directions
  • A wrecking crew in Georgia that demolished a house at the wrong address, thanks to a GPS


Do you have a GPS? Did you give yours a name? What name? Do you talk to your GPS? Have you had any bad experiences you'd like to share? I love to hear from you!

17 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

Between the GPS and Bluetooth we can all pull our hair out! It seems that mine take turns playing tricks on me. I'll try to make a phone call, and the air conditioning will turn on. Once we were in Israel, and we borrowed a portable GPS from my husband's cousin that only spoke in Hebrew. At least neither one of us got stuck in the ocean! Julie

Old Kitty said...

Welcome back!! Glad you found your way ok to blogosphere! LOL!

I don't drive but my friend's GPS is called Jane - she has a very proper ye olde queen's english clipped accent! She's normally very good and only led my friend and I wrongly once - into someone's private farm and dirt track. Mr farmer man wasn't to pleased to see us but luckily he showed as the correct route to take using our print map! LOL! Take care
x

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Yep, one thing you can count on with technology is it's fallible! I had OnStar for a year after I bought a new car, used it maybe a half-dozen times, and half of those were just to try it out. You do get a real human being with OnStar, at least when you first request directions, but after that, it's so-so. It tends to take you over the most major roads, not always the quickest or shortest route and sometimes a good bit out of the way! I still prefer to use Google Maps before I leave, or if I forget or go somewhere unplanned, the maps on my phone help.

susielindau.com said...

I would consider chucking Beverly out the window or tossing her onto a busy highway, or maybe burying her in the garden. Hahaha!
Love that you gave her a name. My husband and I have similar stories. My car is a 2009 and it's GPS is already dated and has gotten me lost on numerous occasions.
Too funny!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Mine came with my SUV and most of the time is correct. Only on a few ocassions has lead me wrong way, but I have been relying on it for almost five years now and I'm quite happy. But it doesn't have a name! I love the idea of naming her/him something hilarious :-)

Marcy said...

So glad you're back! I loved this post. We've named our GPS Bianca, and she's fairly reliable, but the rental GPS we had on our honeymoon in Australia was terrible. It told us to go off an on ramp on the highway (which we ignored) and then the next day tried to have us turn off the edge of a cliff :P I get the feeling it didn't like us very much.

Marcy

Coleen Patrick said...

I don't have one, but the one time I borrowed one it sent me to a dead end and when I turned around it kept telling me to go back!! :)

LynNerdKelley said...

Julie - I don't have a blue tooth, but after reading your comment, maybe I'll pass on ever getting one. That's so funny about borrowing the GPS that only spoke in Hebrew! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

OC - You're a hoot! Yep, it's amazing I finally navigated my way back to the blogosphere! How cool that your friend's GPS, Jane (love the name!), has ye olde queen's English clipped accent! If mine had that accent, I think I'd be so intrigued listening to the voice that I couldn't concentrate on where I was going! I'm glad Mr. farmer forgave your trespassing and helped you find your way back!

LynNerdKelley said...

Jennette - Thanks for sharing your experience with OnStar. You're the first one I've known who's had one. It's nice that you got a real person, but crazy that it takes the long route, too, just like GPSs. Checking a Google Map really does help, and I think it's cool you can access maps on your phone. My cell is old school - none of that good stuff!

Susie - I probably will get ticked off enough at Beverly one of these days that I'll chuck her out in the middle of no man's land or wherever she misleads me! My youngest daughter told me I should name my GPS. I thought that was a cool idea, too!

Angela - I'm glad to hear that you've had a dependable GPS for almost five years. Let me know what name you pick!

Marcy - Thank you! Hey, Bianca is a neat name for your GPS. Your experiences with the rental GPS in Australia sound like the stories that are on the videoclip in that link I posted. Unbelievably crazy and so dangerous. Good thing you and your hubby didn't trust that GPS! Whew!

Coleen - Yes, that's the kind of problems I have with mine. It mind boggling, isn't it?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife finally turned off the voice on her GPS because it was beginning to scold her when she went a different way.

Joshua said...

The last time my parents drove to visit, I had to leave for work before they got up to leave in the morning. I changed the language on their GPS and went to work with a smile on my face knowing they would call later.

LynNerdKelley said...

Alex - Haha! That's funny! Sometimes the GPS voice does get to be too much and needs to be turned off!

Joshua - That's hilarious! Such a funny practical joke. I come from a family of practical jokers, so you'd fit right in with us! LOL!

Sarah Pearson said...

I have a terrible sense of direction too. It's one of the reasons I can't drive :-)

inluvwithwords said...

I have no sense of direction, but I'm not interested in GPS. I've seen my daughters duped by it too many times. One time they called me to have me look up directions online because their GPS had them stuck in a loop for an hour.

Tamara Narayan said...

Oh, yeah. I'm feeling your pain. My husband and I always joke that our GPS really wants to say, "Recalculating, you idiot!" and we say that over and over, mimicking that robotic voice.

Whenever I use it, I just keep it mind that it is a consultant only. I'm free to use my own judgement whether or not to turn left from the right hand lane of a four-lane superhighway, thank you very much.

LynNerdKelley said...

Sarah - That's a bummer that you can't drive, but I know how frustrating it is to get lost. Been there, done that many, many times.

Inluvwithwords - That's insane that your daughters were stuck in a loop for hours. Reminds me of that scene of Chevy Chase in European Vacation when he couldn't get out of that traffic circle! LOL!

Tamara - Yes, exactly. That's how I feel, too!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lynn,
Isn't it a teensy bit gratifying to know your sense of direction is better than Beverly's? Or am I the only one who needs to feel superior to something/anything.