Thursday, June 21, 2007


I may have to do it; institute a policy I'd rather avoid. I've been told by many drivers that, after dark, I should require payment up front from black passengers and if I pick them up from less than nice neighborhoods I should always require up front money.

I really don't want to do this, it seems so rude and honestly it seems wrong to have one policy for one group of people and another for others. It seems wrong but... I have been stiffed less than 10 times since I've been driving a cab, and every one of those people who didn't pay was black. I guess it could be a coincidence; it's a pretty small group of people, but the fact is that of all of the cab drivers I've talked to... it is pretty much never anyone but the black customers who are going to stiff you.

And the fact is that most black customers pay their fare. I've been driving for a year and a half and I've been stiffed fewer than 10 times... I guess you could say with those odds I shouldn't worry about it and just deal with losing a few bucks every so often. Well you could say that but 1) I hate the idea of accepting that its going to happen, and 2) With gas at nearly $3 a gallon, I can't afford to lose that money... I'm barely making anything as it is.

grrr... I hate this. What can I do? I could demand up front payment from everyone, just to be fair, but there is a biiiig problem with that. People are offended by that demand, and I don't blame them, and they usually will not tip if you ask for payment up front. and... this is so politically incorrect to say... since 95% of black passengers do not tip anyway, we don't lose money by asking for up front payment.

So many stereotypes in this post. I know it's bad to generalize and etc... but the thing is that I am only reporting my honest experience with you. Yeah, it's a stereotype that black people are more likely to not pay than other races... but (in St. Louis, at least) it is also the truth. Yeah, it's a stereotype to say that 95% of black customers do not tip... but the fact is that I am probably being generous by saying 5% do tip (In contrast to 95% of white customers who do tip)... though I can say that, for some reason, Indian passengers are unlikely to tip (particularly South Indian) too.

so... I'll end up doing this, imposing this rule, and hating having to do it. The truth is, though, that I can't afford not to and I'm really tired of being stolen from.


Anonymous said...

Of course, it may not be legal. I guess this one of those spots where the rubber of race relations meets the road. I can't blame you if your empirical observations are correct; I just wish it weren't so. Nice to see you blogging, BTW; your writing on OKC is missed.

Juliette said...

Thanks. I wish it weren't so too :) luckily I will soon be able to move on and forget it ever was so, since I'll be retiring from the cab business in a few days :)