Monday, June 04, 2007

taxicab confessions

Everyone knows that cabbies are what you might call "scary" drivers. They need to pick up as many fares as possible so that they can make enough dough to pay the rent on the cab they are driving. I rarely take cabs. From the airport to home, yes. But generally not around town. I'm fine with the subway, even though it can take an exceedingly long time in the middle of the night on weekends.

But cabbies can also be jerks. They perpetuate it by not ever going to Brooklyn because they assume nobody in B-town wants a cab. But we Brooklynites never take cabs because they refuse to go where we need to go. The airport cabs will do it, grudgingly, but they have no choice. Vicious cycle it is.

Whenever we are coming from the airport, we always print out directions to our house. It's easier then trying to tell them, and it ensures that they can't take a longer route for no reason other than to get our money. Last time we came home from the airport, we gave the cabbie the directions like normal. We were sharing a cab with someone, and he was just visiting - not too familiar with the 'hood. The cabbie didn't like our directions and so told the other guy (while they were outside packing the trunk) that has was going to take a different route. That guy didn't know better, so he agreed.

After a while, Craig asked the cabbie "Why are we in Queens?" which is expressly not the way to our house. The cabbie basically explained, in not so many words, that we were going completely up and around the area, so as to charge us way more money and take an extra long time to get home. It was too late to go the right way, so we were stuck.* The other guy realized why we had given directions and felt really bad. So when we got to our house, the other guy would only take $20 from us for our share, because that's how much it should've cost had Cabbie not decided to take us on a tour of the Outer Boroughs. So that was ok, but it was still really late when we walked inside.

Then this weekend, we were returning from BAM watching the Joe Strummer movie I already mentioned in the last post. It was after 1:30am because the movie started at 11:30. We didn't feel like taking a train home, and because Craig's a big shot law-talking guy now, we voted for a cab home. One stopped, we got in, and we told him where to go. As we approached our house (really it was just up the same street a coupla miles) there was more and more grumbling from the cabbie. The grumbling turned to flat out bitching. "This is Bed-Stuy, isn't it? If I had known you were going to Bed-Stuy, I never would have stopped. I'd rather go to the city." And so on, basically reinforcing what I said earlier about cabs never coming to Brooklyn. We won't mention that we were in Brooklyn when he picked us up, and it was very likely that we were going to stay in Brooklyn, but I guess he didn't think that far ahead.

If it was up to me, Cabbie would not have gotten any tip at all. Nobody forced him to pick us up. Nobody forced him to already be in Brooklyn. His job is to drive people where they want to go, and we pay him for it. If he's going to complain about it, maybe he should live with the fact that he might get paid less.

But the guilt trip worked on Craig. "We" gave $15 for a cab ride that was $10.60. That's almost a 50% tip. I can see the benefit - use positive reinforcement, and maybe more cabs will start to come to our 'hood because we pay well. I, however, am for negative reinforcement. Be bitchy and unpleasant, and you don't get any extra money. We didn't complain about his stupid cab. He could have at least held off complaining about us until we were out of the car.

And this is the real reason why I prefer the train.

* There was Jimi Hendrix music playing in the cab, making the experience very surreal, and it kind of felt like we were being kidnapped, because I have an overactive imagination like that.


karrie said...

How annoying!

One of my friends literally beat the crap out of a Boston cabbie when he refused to let her sister out of the cab, after deciding that the two women were "not ladylike, and needed to respect men." She punched him and smashed his head against the hood.Finally, he opened the door and let her sister out of the car, and both of them took off running. It was months before either dared hail a cab again.

The kicker? My friend was in law school at the time.:D

super des said...

Wow, I would definitely not ever take a cab again after that! Kudos to your friend for doing that though.

flutter said...

How fucking irritating

Gunfighter said...

Listening to Jimi HAD to make it better for you, Des... well, it would have for me.

super des said...

It was better than talk radio, but I would have preferred a short stint of 1010wins to the whole Jimi cd, just because it would've meant we got home faster.

Suzanne said...

Incidentally, it is illegal for a cab driver to not take you where you requested or on the route you requested. I don't know why this is making over-the-top angry, but it is. I want those license numbers! Heads will roll at the Taxi and Limousine Commission! And this is why I don't knit - had I been carrying knitting with me, I would have been very tempted to stab these bad people in the eyes.

MsLittlePea said...

Jimi Hendrix scares me a little too-in the good way.

I don't know if this is relevant but I'm going to tell you anyway a cabdriver where I live is on trial for serial killing. Kind of makes me feel thankful about tipping all the cabbies who ever drove me around really well-thankful they didn't serial kill me that is. Also while I was in England a few years ago, two of my cab drivers called me Babe and Chicky as in, Don't worry Babe, you'll make your appointment or, Where you going Chicky? They were both Italian-Is that something?

Suzanne said...

OK, now that I am calmer, I have a funny cabbie story. Husband and I came back from a trip on Dec. 29, 2005. Hannukah started late that year, so it was maybe the second or third night when we arrived at the airport.

As we clambered into a cab, I realized that our cab driver was Jewish. Probably the last Jewish cab driver in all of New York City. Then, out of nowhere, the soundtrack to "Fiddler on the Roof" began playing. Who plays "Fiddler" in a cab? It was so surreal.

As I sang along to my favorite songs, I thought about how wonderfully strange New York can be at the least expected times.

super des said...

That is a good story.

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