How the iPhone Salvaged Our Trip to Friendly's

I had an iPhone experience tonight like the ones that make users of other mobile phones jealous. Kathleen, Jimmy, and I decided to go to Friendly's for ice cream after dinner. We showed up at the Langhorne location only to find a standing-room-only crowd waiting for tables. We were quoted a 20-minute wait.

We're already out, so where do we go for a similar ice cream parlor experience? I get out my iPhone and tell the Maps application, "Friendly's, Langhorne, PA". I find that there is a Friendly's in Morrisville, only seven miles away. I get directions because I am not familiar with the address. We decide to go there instead, figuring we can be seated, order, and be served faster if the other Friendly's is less crowded.

The other Friendly's was a lot less crowded, the ice cream was just as good, and our waitress was very nice. She gave Jimmy a balloon and a small stuffed animal at no extra cost to us.

The total additional cost of going to the other Friendly's was 12 minutes travel time between the two locations.

The reason I'm telling this story is because my wife was completely happy with the outcome of this trip, and my 22-month old son came home happy and went off to bed quickly and quietly.

If we had stood in the vestibule of the first Friendly's for 20 minutes, then ordered ice cream in a very full restaurant, I'm sure that Jimmy would have been bouncing off the walls and would have needed time to wind down when we got home.

Every time I am able to use my iPhone to reschedule my errands on the fly based on conditions I experience on the road, I am amazed. The experience we had tonight cannot be measured in terms of dollars saved or earned; It's entirely about convenience and making a positive experience out of something that would have been frustrating had we stayed where we were.