Saturday, 11 April 2009

Beanz Meanz Heinz.

You know where you are with a tin of beans. Comforting, reliable, versatile - baked beans are the answer to anything. Hungry for breakfast? Beans on toast. Hungry for lunch? Jacket potato with beans. Dinner time? Get me some toad in the hole, and draw for the beans.

If there was a rival, a stark opposite, an anti-bean if you will, it would be taxi cabs. With taxi cabs, there is no Heinz; no reputable brand where you know, no matter where you are you'll get the same product. Taxi cabs are that dodgy supermarket brand which might proclaim to be the real deal, but they sure as hell don't taste it.

At least once a week on breakfast news, after they've reported on yet another sex-crazed maniac who has finally been caught after molesting a cacophony of women whilst posing as a cab driver, we are warned about the dangers of illegal taxis. Go licenced, get home safe. I can run with that. I've got a selection of cab numbers stocked up in my phone for precisely that reason.

What fails me every single time is the pricing. The wildly different quotes you'll get for the same journey time and time again. This Thursday AND Friday night me and my friends were quoted a price, only for it to magically increase the minute the destination was reached. I wouldn't fuss, but I'm nearly always the last one to get dropped off, meaning I'm always the one who gets to end her night with a confrontation.

On Thursday, the cab office gave us a 'round about' estimation, but refused to write a price down for the journey. Meaning we spent the journey home bargaining with the driver, appealing to his better nature for a reasonable price. On Friday, given our experience the night before, we used a different local company. The £8.50 we were quoted on the phone somehow jumped to £11 when I was dropped at my house. I argued my point, then eventually rang the cab company and passed the phone over to the driver for them to sort it out. £8.50 it eventually was.

A few weeks ago, I got a cab home from the tube station. £4.50, he said as he pulled up outside my house. I handed over £5 and gathered my stuff while he got my change. Except, he wasn't getting my change. He was getting ready to drive off. "Sorry, did you say it was £4.50? Can I have my change please? Unemployed person here, every penny counts n that...". I felt embarrassed asking for my 50p, but sod it - if I want to tip, that's at my discretion...not his.

Surely - surely - it's not too much to ask that a legit taxi company has a legit, unchanging tariff. Otherwise all that separates them and the illegal ones is the fact they're less likely to harbour a fetish for drunk girls. Nor do I want to spend my journey home directing someone to my house, particularly when they have a sat nav wired up showing them the route. Is it too much to ask that they know their way around? I want to use local companies for local journeys, because although companies like Addison Lee are standardised, you pay more for the privilege.

Going home is getting to be the part of the night I dread - but without any other option to get home after 2am, it's enough to make a girl give up drinking and drive herself.

(ok perhaps not. But you catch my drift - I'm fed up with it)

I'm staying in tonight in protest. Yes, thats right, in protest against the anti-bean. Definitely not because my friends put the L in Lame and aren't going out (or inviting me. One or the other).


Jessica said...

I wouldn't bother feeling embarrassed about the tip thing. My dad's a taxi driver (a good one, I promise) and even he supports always asking for your change if the driver assumes that you're tipping him, and only tipping the driver after he's offered you your change back.

Anonymous said...

I am not keen on beans but if I were going to eat them then it would have to be Heinz.

Living in a small city I can always arrange to use the same taxi firm. But yes, the tipping thing winds me up too. Some of them do not deserve a tip - they take a longer route than is necessary, or yes, they ask for directions or bore me with endless questions about my holiday or night out. I like peace and to get where I am going quickly.

My sons like taxis as they nearly always find coins down the backs of the seats! I am too embarrassed to hunt for them when I am on my own.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Jessica - I'd hope that would be the common way of thought with taxi drivers. Its my choice whether I give a tip or not, it will usually be 'not', but it depends a lot on the situation...and how flush I'm feeling ;)

Relucs - Yeah I like a bit of quiet time in a cab too. Scored big the other night though, found a five pound note on the floor in the taxi office. Nabbed that pretty quick.

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

I hate cabs too .. `mini' version or otherwise, they are the devil's spawn, but unfortunately completely necessary (at times).

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Necessary a lot of the time for me :(

You always seem to get particularly annoying cabbies, if your blog is anything to go by.

Robbie said...

This has happened to me quite a lot in the last few days.
With my dad visiting and not getting a hire car we got a lot of taxis to and from his villa. Almost same journey twice a day in to town.
Now the prices varied between 6€ and 9€ each time, which didn't really bother me, what I found funny was when the taxi drivers, at our destination would say an amount "seis(6) er, ocho(8)." Thats a thats a two euro price increase in the space of a breath.

And me dad still tipped.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Ha, it's like they spend the whole journey trying to gage how much they can get away with charging. Me and my friends have got bartering the price down to a tee.


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