The Sociology of a Uber booking

This is what goes on in the background of booking a cab. There is so much that can impact the outcome of using a software that makes software testing and development complex. Note that Uber is very different from other software in that it reaches out into people’s lives. Technical software may not have such an impact.

Mom calls at 8 am on Sunday.

She wants me to book a cab for her.

She sent a whatsapp message, since my bedroom doesn’t get good mobile reception (SMS/calls sometimes don’t come through)

We don’t live together (her idea).

I had a bad night yesterday and didn’t sleep well.

There was heavy rain and the lights went off at night

I’ve been fighting the mosquitos

I live on the first floor — that’s why I have mosquitos?

I am grumpy about booking a cab.

Mom says make sure the cab comes inside the apartment complex. She has informed the guard to expect a cab.

She needs to carry a lot of items

She has organized a party

This is a cultural event which happens every year.

I tell her to let me know when she is in the cab, so I don’t worry

I open Uber. Uber has a surge 1.7x

I try . Is it reliable. I see they also have a surge

There is a surge because it is Sunday. It’s also raining.

The monsoons are late this year.

I don’t want to deal with issues with the cab. Pay more. Go back to Uber

Book — the app complains there’s not enough money. I thought I had Rs. 380. Of course, silly me, the surge requires more?

Add money — should I use a OTP or PIN?

Get going — PIN

Book the cab

Cab driver calls to check the location

It’s a restaurant below my mothers ten story apartment

Cab arrives near the location, my mother’s apartment

I tell him to go inside the apartment

He can’t see the apartment!!!

Oh, yes, he does

I forgot to sms the cab number to Mom

My phone won’t sms.

My apartment is at the end of the lane

Mobile coverage is low (reader let me know if you don’t know why)

I try to call, doesn’t work

Should I whatsapp?

She’s carrying stuff, what if she gets flustered with my call?

I restart the phone

I call Mom

Calls don’t go through

Not sure where she is

Is she in the elevator and phone is not working?

Is she in the basement and the phone is not working?

What do I do?

Will the cab driver call me?

What if he can’t reach me?

What if he cancels?

Mom calls from the cab

Phew!! Back to bed


As I type this I am late for the appointment…for which Mom called.

I missed her Whatsapp message:

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The event which Mom attended:

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Huib Schoots has a nice set of blog posts on the relevance of social science to testing.

Software testing, project management, managing testers

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