783: I Don't Want Directions

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I Don't Want Directions
Yes, I understand that the turn is half a mile past the big field, but my GPS knows that, too. This would be easier if you weren't about to ask me to repeat it all back to you.
Title text: Yes, I understand that the turn is half a mile past the big field, but my GPS knows that, too. This would be easier if you weren't about to ask me to repeat it all back to you.


Cueball wants to use his GPS device to find an individual's house, and therefore needs the house's address. The person on the phone is giving him directions, something that is useless because by giving Cueball the address, the GPS can give directions to the address, possibly better than the ones he is getting over the phone. Cueball then decides to tell the person that he would like to mail something to their house, hoping they will give him the address, because you must have the address to mail something.[citation needed]

The title text is a continuation of the comic's joke. By the end of the comic, Cueball has got the information he needs, and has just ignored the directions he did not want. However, if the person on the phone insists on checking Cueball has remembered the directions correctly, Cueball has to be able to learn the useless information he did not want in the first place, and has been mostly ignoring, at least well enough to repeat it once.

Judging by the roads mentioned in the comic (Highland Rd and presumably I-495 and MA-18), the person on the phone lives somewhere around southern Lakeville, Massachusetts, and Cueball is starting from the Boston area.

The superfluousness of giving directions as opposed to using a GPS is also mentioned in 1155: Kolmogorov Directions.


[Cueball on phone.]
Cueball: Looking forward to seeing your new place! What's the address?
Cueball: Mm hmm. Yes, I'm taking 495, but I have a GPS, so I really just need the street address.
[Close up.]
Cueball: ...then south on 18, okay, but I have a GPS, so if you just want to skip to the street address, I can...
[Full body shot, facing other direction.]
Cueball: Thanks, I'm glad to know Highland Road comes a mile after the big intersection, but I keep saying I have a GPS, can you tell me the street address?
Cueball: ...
Cueball: Technically that's just more information on how to get to your place, not the address itself. If you could-
[Close up again, Cueball writing on pad.]
Cueball: ...I appreciate that you want to help, but I'm ignoring you and just waiting for the...
Cueball: Listen, I just remembered I need to mail you a letter. What's your address?
Cueball: Mhm... okay...
Cueball: Great, thanks! I'll see you in an hour!

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Are you sure the postman can find his way? Maybe you need to put the directions on the letter, just to be safe. Davidy²²[talk] 02:33, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Unless you're using Apple Maps on an iPhone 5S. Watch out for those runways. 18:16, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Am I the only one that doesn't automatically assume the GPS knows best? I always look it up anyway... especially in Houston where there are a lot of roads that the system thinks is "divided," so it will try to route you in a circuitous way to ensure you can make a right-turn in (when in reality it is totally possible to make the left turn). 15:52, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

No. In Britain GPS systems usually assume the motorways are quickest when in Britain the motorways are usually clogged.
It was 2010, so it was before when smartphones got this popular. 05:39, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 17:10, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

If someone insists on giving directions, listen to them; it may mean the place isn't where maps think it is, or they give a road that's not there or something. At least three addresses in my immediate family have this problem to some degree. 18:59, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

  • Agreed: in my area, people may have adress "house X", but with "access via dead end Y" 05:30, 28 July 2020 (UTC)