Sunday, 22 January 2012

The taxi bargain

I finally make it through the immigration. It’s now time to follow the advice from Topsi: get a free mobile chip, exchange money and get on a Taxi and insist to go on meter! What a laugh. At the taxi booth that explicitly says “On Meter”, no taxi driver would take me this way. They proposed a price, which is a rip-off compared to what my friend had warned me as the fair price.

My first bargain strategy is to use the competition, so I say that I will check with another taxi company. They don’t seem to bother at all. No other taxi company would do it on meter, which ruined my bargain strategy no. 1. I decide to give in and go on with the first taxi driver I negotiated.

But it’s hard to accept it. So, once in the car, I look the driver on the eye, smile, but firmly ask him why he would not take me on meter if the booth proposed so. My Asian instinct says it’s very impolite to stare people in the eye around here, but my Western experience says it’s the best way to impose yourself.

He mumbles no convincing answers. But the eye confrontation eventually worked! 50 meters later he tells me out of the blue “ok, fine, you wanna go on meter, I put the meter on, but you will see the price will be pretty much the same”, which of course it wasn’t. Then he spends another 2km complaining that the gas is very expensive nowadays, that he needs to pay the cooperative etc. etc. I don’t mind this type of lies as long as I get the right price.

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