Thursday, July 31, 2008

Honest or dishonest?

I believe I spotted a pattern (no Beautiful Mind jokes, please). A customer gave me $20 on a $13 fare and it took me a while to get him the change. Usually I'm organized, but when it gets busy, I stuff money into my pocket and organize it later, and it takes time to dig through the mess to make change. So I'm digging through my wad, trying to find the correct change, and the customer got impatient. "Just give me $2."

It has worked many times since then, and I'm certain the tips are bigger. Some people are so anxious to get out of the cab and into the next bar, they'll settle for a couple of quick singles to expedite matters. Sometimes they watch me fumble with the money for a while, then say, "Keep it," and jump out. I don't believe this is dishonest. I'm trying to make the correct change, and they're impatient. If they want to pay for fast service, that's great! I'm all for it.

Does anyone think this is dishonest?

If they're too drunk, the trick doesn't work, but there are other tricks for them. I don't use them, but we have drivers who do: ask for the money up front, saying that "at this hour, it's policy." If they're drunk enough, they'll wake up at their destination, look at the meter, and pay again.

Some guys leave the meter running from the last ride, and a properly inebriated person won't notice, and they pay for their ride and the previous one. I hear there's an art to this. You have to judge the person correctly or they'll cry foul. The fix is to apologize and say what the fare normally would be, and if they are still angry, you can tell them the ride is on the house.

The term for these games: You pay to play.

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