Monday, December 05, 2005

Where to?

I don’t ask a whole lot from my cab drivers. I want them to not get lost, take the most efficient route, and not try to lie to me about how much change they’re carrying in order to swindle more cash from me. Is that really that much to ask?

I was running late yesterday and hopped in a cab to take a quick ride uptown. I gave the driver a 20 and asked for 15 back. He looked at me as if I had insulted his mother and told me that he had no change and needed smaller bills. When I told him this was all I had, he started to lecture me on how for such a short cab you need to bring change. I replied that while I was sorry, my ATM unfortunately did not give me smaller bills for cab rides. Just when things were about to turn ugly, he magically produced 15 dollars and said that was all he had and now I was leaving him with, “Nothing, nothing.” I passed up the opportunity to point out that since he had taken my 20, he was actually 5 dollars richer than a few minutes ago.

After relaying this story to a friend, she shared with me a very similar cabbie experience. If fact it seems that it is not uncommon at all to have a taxi driver-passenger standoff- where you clearly have no intention of leaving a 400% tip and you both sit there waiting for the other to produce the change they’re secretly hiding.

It’s sad that our society has degenerated into one where we attempt to scam each other by being dishonest about how much change we’re carrying. Oh well, I guess it's just one more way that New York has made me bitter and jaded.

Mr. J

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

When confronted with a belligerent taxi driver, the best way to defuse the situation is to begin reciting his/her Taxi and Limousine Commission ID number, which is located on the left side of the car. I've found that cab drivers take the hint and cooperate.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Berry said...

Hee-hee...I like Mark's suggestion. I just reach for the door and say Oh well, I guess you won't be getting paid. If they really don't have change they will go to the closest bodega and exchange the bill for you. To take Mark's suggestion to the next level, whip out the cell and start punching in numbers off that sign on the bullet proof window.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous natalie said...

worse than getting gypped on change from a taxi driver is getting gypped by a not-taxi driver. one time in nyc when i was leaving the grocery store, it started to rain, so i looked around for a cab. but the way it worked at 125th street pathmark, *I* could not look for a cab - special men take your groceries from you and lead you to a cab for a tip. my special man could not find a cab, though, and after he learned i lived only a 7-minute walk away, he started pushing my groceries to my house for me. okay, so it is now *pouring* rain - i am soaked and my groceries are soaked, but so is my special man. so when we get to my apartment, i'm planning on giving him $5, same as i would have given a cab. but all i have is a $10, which he takes, grins, and says, I don't have change. so i ended up paying $10 to WALK in the rain to my house and unload my own damn wet groceries.

1:14 PM  
Blogger J & J said...

Wow Mark & Berry, it's clear I still have much to learn about this city. The nutty thing about this guy was even when I offered to go exchange money at a nearby store, he started yelling that he didn't have that much time to waste. Next time I'm just cutting straight to the #'s.

And Natalie, that man doesn't sound so special to me. You deserve better!

Mr. J

3:41 PM  

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