Walking on eggshells is not my style
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-Or- It never seems to work out right when I'm helpful

Sooooo I pulled up to the airport. There were two guys standing there. We shall call them A (American), B (Belarussian), and later in the story C (Chinese). B seemed an East European student/backpacker. You know the kind. The kind that stands around the taxi stand asking everyone where they are going and if they want to share a cab. A and C were locals.

A and B approached the cab and asked if it would be practical to share a cab to their respective destinations. It would not. It would end up costing more than just taking one cab apiece. B asked how much his cab would cost. I estimated a little over $20. (I know for a fact it is $18.20 but I expected him to haggle.) A told him just to take the cab, he would wait for the next.

At that moment C walked up. B, being B, could not help himself and asked C where he was going and if he would share a cab. Guess what?

C was going about a block away from A's destination.

Me, being me, recognized that both A and C were willing to share a cab, and seeing the potential for A and C to save some money, and I pointed it out.

These were the last 3 guys at the airport. B got a little upset. He was clearly alone in the taxi stand at the airport with no one to share a cab with. (I think sharing taxis with strangers is part of East European backpackers DNA.)

Then C did something unexpected. He started questioning if it would really be cheaper to take 2 cabs.

Me, being me, just blurt out the math. He's going $18 to the east, you are going $15 to the north. That's $33 total. If I take you home first, it is at least, AT LEAST, $20 to get him to his hostel from there. Probably more. That's $35.

Then B piped in. "You said $20 earlier. If it's only $20 from his house we should share a cab."

Oops.

C was all over it. "Yeah. Let's go. We'll share."

But something was wrong.

It was one of those unquantifiable wrongs. C was too eager.

Normally in a cab share scenario, both parties are getting some sort of break. Typically the first passenger to get dropped off pays something less than the meter and the second pays the remainder. For example 2 customers going in the same general direction: the first destination is $15, that guy pays $10, the second destination is $5 further (for a total of $20 on the meter) that guy pays the $10 remainder. Or some variation on that.

I think C was seeing a $10 fare for him, and sticking B with the $25 remainder. There was something wrong with C's demeanor. I really think he was looking to screw the tourist.

All of a sudden, I was in a position of trying to protect a tourist who didn't trust me in the first place from a gentleman he trusted but shouldn't have.

Luckily A had given it some thought and decided I was probably correct. It made sense for him and C to share a cab, and would ultimately be more expensive for B to share a cab.

A and C shared a cab. Dropped A off first, then C.

My thoughts were confirmed, at least to me.

When I dropped C off he waited for every last dime in change from his portion of the bill, (which doesn't bother me in the least, but is relevant to the story) and then asked for a receipt for the entire amount STATING that the government (his employer) would reimburse him for the full amount. I just gave him the receipt and rolled my eyes. Normally I'd give someone a hard time for saying that. I hear it all the time. Boastful dishonesty annoys me.

Anyhoooo, No doubt in my mind. He was out to screw that kid.

That kid will forever see C as a nice guy and me as a jerk.

I know it would only amount to a few bucks, but East European backpackers would rather part with a kidney than $5. He would probably give me his liver if he knew whole the story.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Yeah, if you're going to lie about how much the fare will cost ($20 vs $18), then stick to that number and don't get caught out lying later. And don't be surprised if people think you're trying to take advantage of them after they catch you lying about the fare cost.
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Walking on eggshells is not my style
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Thunkd wrote:
Yeah, if you're going to lie about how much the fare will cost ($20 vs $18), then stick to that number and don't get caught out lying later. And don't be surprised if people think you're trying to take advantage of them after they catch you lying about the fare cost.


In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through, always estimate high. People love it when it's less than expected. And always expect East European backpackers to haggle, haggling is fun.

Edit: here's one for you.

This is s semi frequent occurrence.

Someone will come up to the cab and state a high number for a ride.

"Will you take me downtown for $25?"

It only costs $20. But of course the driver says "yes".

The driver, knowing he is getting the better end of the deal doesn't turn on the meter so the customer doesn't know that he overpaid.

Joke is on the driver.

Invariably INVARIABLY as you are passing Safeway the customer suddenly remembers he needs to get some cat food, and could you stop by Safeway while he runs in? It will only take a minute.

The guy gets out and disappears in the store for 40 minutes.

The meter isn't on. And it isn't on because the driver chose not to turn it on. The driver agreed to do it for $25. What does the customer owe? Legally, he owes what's on the meter, but the driver will have to settle for the $25 whether he likes it or not.

How is that fun?

I can see that scam coming a mile away. I get my money up front, turn on the meter, then take an unexpected route. Sorry buddy, deviations from my chosen, faster but longer and more expensive route void the deal. I said I'd get you there foe $25 and I will, but detours were not in the deal.

Now that is fun.

Edit: most people trying that scam know they are busted as soon as the meter comes on. You can see them get suddenly agitated. The meter is supposed to stay off or the scam doesn't work. many times they will act offended, act as though you are scamming them, and demand their money back.
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Billy McBoatface
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Koldfoot wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Yeah, if you're going to lie about how much the fare will cost ($20 vs $18), then stick to that number and don't get caught out lying later. And don't be surprised if people think you're trying to take advantage of them after they catch you lying about the fare cost.


In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through, always estimate high. People love it when it's less than expected. And always expect East European backpackers to haggle, haggling is fun.

But the key part of Bryan's advice was stick to that number (until he manages to haggle you down to $18.20). As you knew already.
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¡dn ʇǝƃ ʇ,uɐɔ ı puɐ uǝllɐɟ ǝʌ,ı
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Koldfoot wrote:
...always estimate high. People love it when it's less than expected.

Truer words were never spoken.

Pyschologists did a test where they gave 3 people $100 (two- fifty dollar bills) and then took them to an area with a roulette wheel.
They told them that they could bet on either red or black, and double their money if they were right, or keep what they had and refuse to play. Then they physically took one $50 bill from each person and told them that was the cost of playing.
Only one of the three decided to gamble his, the other two kept their $50.

They then did the same experiment but only gave the 3 people $50 each.
When they got to the roulette wheel-- same winning or keeping conditions-- they didn't take any money from them as a charge.
All 3 of them bet their $50.

So even if you have something completely free-- $50 in both cases-- "losing" $50 makes you more protective of the other $50, even though it was all still free money.
If you never had the extra $50 in the first place, then you didn't miss it and you were more open to trying to double your money.
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Bryan Thunkd
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MABBY wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
...always estimate high. People love it when it's less than expected.

Truer words were never spoken.

Pyschologists did a test where they gave 3 people $100 (two- fifty dollar bills) and then took them to an area with a roulette wheel.
They told them that they could bet on either red or black, and double their money if they were right, or keep what they had and refuse to play. Then they physically took one $50 bill from each person and told them that was the cost of playing.
Only one of the three decided to gamble his, the other two kept their $50.

They then did the same experiment but only gave the 3 people $50 each.
When they got to the roulette wheel-- same winning or keeping conditions-- they didn't take any money from them as a charge.
All 3 of them bet their $50.

So even if you have something completely free-- $50 in both cases-- "losing" $50 makes you more protective of the other $50, even though it was all still free money.
If you never had the extra $50 in the first place, then you didn't miss it and you were more open to trying to double your money.
Your example demonstrates the psychological principle of loss aversion. But the more relevant principle at play is anchoring.

When you quote high, you're setting a price that your customer uses as a benchmark for value. When you actually charge less, they think they've gotten a deal because they've set (or "anchored") their valuation based on your initial price. So if you quote $50 and charge them $50 they think $50 is around a fair price. When you quote $100 and charge them $50, they think they're getting a steal of a deal.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Koldfoot wrote:
In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through
Are you trying to throw shade? If so, I'm amused that you think you have a better profession than I.
 
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Walking on eggshells is not my style
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Thunkd wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through
Are you trying to throw shade? If so, I'm amused that you think you have a better profession than I.


You look down on cab drivers?

Who'd a thunk?

I own my own business, set my own hours, do what I want to do, am at the mercy of my own deadlines, have no coworkers half as uptight as you and would get rid of them if I did, and unless you are a ski-bum porn-star I will put my job up against yours any day.
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Michael Berg
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Thanks for sharing another cabbing story. Always interesting, and your frank and honest telling just adds to it.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Koldfoot wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through
Are you trying to throw shade? If so, I'm amused that you think you have a better profession than I.


You look down on cab drivers?
No. I'm amused because you obviously have no idea what I do for a living. Hint: I'm meaningfully employed at a place that doesn't have a drive through.
 
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Jeff
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Koldfoot wrote:
...unless you are a ski-bum porn-star I will put my job up against yours any day.



...what we're not ALL ski bum porn stars?

Relevant to the story ( but perhaps not possible) - I'd have been sorely tempted to create a custom receipt (hand written perhaps; I don't know how the system works) that showed only what the customer actually paid himself.

Well, I say that. In reality, if it took any effort at all to do that, I probably really wouldn't... I'm a lazy ski bum porn star.
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Mark O'Reilly
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Koldfoot wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
In case you ever get meaningful employment in a place that doesn't have a drive through
Are you trying to throw shade? If so, I'm amused that you think you have a better profession than I.


You look down on cab drivers?

Who'd a thunk?

I own my own business, set my own hours, do what I want to do, am at the mercy of my own deadlines, have no coworkers half as uptight as you and would get rid of them if I did, and unless you are a ski-bum porn-star I will put my job up against yours any day.


I was a self employed private hire taxi driver for 7 years. Probably the most fun and rewarding job I have ever done. Pay was great too.
Work when you want, anytime of the day or night.

We had a motto " if your wheels are turning, you are earning".

On a quiet night of the week you may of made a measly £40 but on another quiet night it could be £140 . You never knew where Lady Luck would take you.

I went out on a whim one Sunday evening to do a "few" hours to pay my weekly "settle" with the cab firm and pulled in £180 in 4.5 hrs .

I had some very memorable and sometimes crazy things happen in my stint as a cabby, including having some fairly famous celebrities in my car.

I would definately agree that being a taxi driver can be an extraordinarily good job.

Nowadays I have a more mundane but rewarding job that is more "family" friendly. ( no late nights or long shifts).

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Johnny O aka Johnny Soul
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I do enjoy your cab stories.


I cannot find a video clip but my favorite scene in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie is when Boris Badenov offers a cabbie $100 to get him and Natasha to the train station before midnight. The cabbie takes the money, they all pile into the cab, the cabbie stomps on the gas and makes a big screeching U-turn and stops directly across the street. Damn, still makes me chuckle.

Ever have a story like that?
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kSwingrÜber
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scribidinus wrote:
...The cabbie takes the money, they all pile into the cab, the cabbie stomps on the gas and makes a big screeching U-turn and stops directly across the street. Damn, still makes me chuckle.
Ever have a story like that?


Not really, but...

Years ago a group of us (about six if I remember correctly) went into New York City to catch a show of some sort on New Years Eve. We get outta the show about 11:45, and needed to catch a cab to the train station. Having been raised in Montana, I'm naturally suspicious of all things in the Big City, especially cab drivers with distinctly non-American accents that pull up in ratty sedans. But hey, there's six of us in our mid 20s, so the chances are I'll be able to escape this criminal's clutches with both my kidneys.

The cabbie was a very jolly sort, even inviting one of us to sit up front so that we're not quite so crowded. We get near Times Square right about midnight, people all over the place, traffic comes to a stand-still. “Crap!” I'm thinking, “this is really gonna put a lot of time on the meter. Scum bag probably took this route on purpose!”

Just as these thoughts are going through my mind, the guy reaches over and turns off the meter!

We sat there chatting and joking with the guy for the next 10 or 15 minutes until we were able to move again. He turned the meter back on and dropped us at the train station a couple minutes later. The fare was probably about $12, and split among the six of us, a pretty darn good deal.

Needless to say, he got a $20 tip.

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Michael Hyland

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It's interesting the psychology you pick up from doing that job.

You get to view all levels of society and all levels of behavior. Tell me the good outweighs the bad.
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Joe Salamone
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scribidinus wrote:
I do enjoy your cab stories.


I cannot find a video clip but my favorite scene in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie is when Boris Badenov offers a cabbie $100 to get him and Natasha to the train station before midnight. The cabbie takes the money, they all pile into the cab, the cabbie stomps on the gas and makes a big screeching U-turn and stops directly across the street. Damn, still makes me chuckle.

Ever have a story like that?


Actually, I did. I was in Madrid on a business trip with a woman from my company. On Saturday, we decided to go sightseeing. We were walking down the street and she was looking through a tourist guide. She showed me a picture of the Royal Palace and said we should go there. I agreed. We got into a taxi and she showed the driver the picture. He gave us a strange look and said something in Spanish (which we didn't understand). My colleague pointed at the picture again and the driver started driving. After about a block, he turned a corner and we could see the palace - - larger than life. We could have walked to it.
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Walking on eggshells is not my style
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I picked up a car load of drunks from the Elbow Room. They got in the cab and then tried to decide where to go. I pulled away from the curb, it was a one way street, no matter where they were going I'd have to go that direction.

One guy suggested something, it got vetoed. Another guy suggested something, it got vetoed. Another guy suggested the Cabaret. Yeah! Let's go to the Cabaret! It was unanimous.

You had to actually walk through the Elbow Room to get in the Cabaret. The Cabaret was a big room with a dance floor and its own separate bar that the Elbow Room opened on the weekend.

I went around the block. Came to maybe $2.50, but there is an extra $1 for each additional passenger. I tacked it on. Everyone was happy.
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