411 needs a little 911

I called 411 today.

I wanted to know the phone number to the Jewel-Osco on Milwaukee and Ashland in Chicago. Mike and I were buying dinner in preparation for an evening of X2O video recordings and we needed to know if they sold out of their delicious fried chicken. I will leave the discussion of Jewel Fried Chicken to another blog post. It is simply worth noting that JFC is amazing.

I asked the 411 lady for the “number of the Jewel-Osco on Milwaukee and Ashland.” I heard her type on what, to any discerning ear, sounded like an Apple IIe keyboard, and then she said she could not find it. In fact, the nearest one she found was on 1220 S. Ashland Avenue, some 24 blocks south of my location. I then suggested she look for the Jewel-Osco in the 60622 zip code.

“I’m sorry…I can’t search a location by zip code.”

As it turns out, the Jewel is on Paulina, just northeast of Milwaukee and just west of Ashland. Apparently, 411 operators are not given the capability of finding the phone number of a location unless you know the exact street that location is on. Even a zip code, which, according to Wikipedia, was standardized to the familiar 5-digit format in 1963, is of no use to a 411 operator in 2008.

I suggest the next president replace whatever arcane hardware these poor 411 operators use with $250 netbooks and a CAT5 cable. I’d like my 75 cents back too.