Monday, October 24, 2005
Somebody fucked up, but, thankfully, it wasn't me. This piece of work was dragged into the garage this afternoon when I was waiting for my cab.
Overall, it was a boring night. I drove around, picked people up, dropped them off, and sat at traffic lights. Apparently, people weren't in the mood to tip tonight. I guess it's time I addressed this, so here are a few helpful tips on tipping for clueless cabbers:
1. Most basically, tip like you would if you were in a restaurant. This means add about 15 to 20 percent of what's on the meter, or even more for exceptional service. This means if your fare is $15, don't just tack on a single precious dollar. Give at least two, but three or more is preferable and customary.
2. Try not to ask for a quarter back. That's just cheap.
3. If you ask your cab driver a million questions about his or her life, and he or she is nice about answering you and pretends like you're not the millionth person to ask these questions, give a little extra. Remember, most of the time we are just humoring you so that you'll give us more money. We are not necessarily driving around looking to make friends, though, if that happened, it'd be a nice bonus. However, this is a rare occurence. Driving a cab is an exhausting job, made even more so when at least half of our passengers ask us the same tired old questions night after night, expecting some sort of entertainment. A nice friendly conversation is one thing -- and that is certainly welcomed and helps us get through the day -- but being repeatedly grilled about who we are, where we come from, and why we are doing this job, well that's something entirely different. And please don't get offended if your driver doesn't want to answer all the personal questions you may be asking. We might just be too tired and bored with ourselves to be able to force ourselves to answer.
On a related note, do not ask your cab driver about the money he or she makes. We will not tell you the truth. It makes us nervous, mainly because we don't know if you're just innocently asking, or if you're trying to figure out if we're worth robbing.
4. If you need a cab to wait for you, compensate. We do not, by law, have to wait for passengers, since this means we will basically be losing money. Yes, the meter is running, but it is running at a much slower rate than if the cab was actually moving. The meter adds 40 cents for every two minutes of waiting time. This translates into $12 an hour. If we sat with the meter on for the entire 12 hour shift, we would ultimately end up paying out more money in lease fees and gas than we made for the night. Additionally, do not act like it is your god-given right to have a cab wait for you. It is not. If you ask nicely, the driver will probably do it, but don't feel entitled to it.
5. Obviously, overtipping is very welcomed. Just know that when you give even just a dollar or two more than the driver might have expected, it has a huge impact, not only financially, but mentally. I will never forget the people who surprised me with amazingly generous tips. But even just mildly generous tips have helped to revive my ever-fledgling faith in humanity. On the other hand, it's also hard to forget those who leave no tip at all.
6. If you fart in a cab, tip extra.