“Asshole Tax” is one of the terms used by the drivers in my company (mostly by night drivers). It’s part of our vocabulary, but not on-the-record. It basically means this: If you’re an asshole to your cab driver, do not expect them to call attention to the fact you’ve left something behind in the cab (like phone, camera, extra money) or that you have overpaid them. This is the tax they charge for you being a douchebag. Depending on the severity of the assholery and the mood of the driver, this could either mean that you’ve lost your camera/money/cell phone forever, or you just have to drive YOURSELF to our office to pick the item up. The driver will NOT spend extra time to take it to you if you recall forgetting it later that night.
Now, this does require some evil on the part of the driver. It’s really easy to get jaded enough to become this evil, because generally customers that are drunk at night forget their manners… and eventually it adds up.
Here’s a previous story of when I got to collect asshole tax:
I had 4 passengers in my taxi, all completely wasted: two couples. I picked them up at the Nitty Gritty, where one of the passengers had gotten themselves kicked out for being too obnoxious. Their destination was a hotel across town. Along the way, the guy in the front seat mentioned he was so drunk he couldn’t see ANYTHING, and that he blew about $500 at the bar (which is really hard to do in Wisconsin, generally, because booze is SO CHEAP). The two girls in the back expressed feelings of nausea, so I pulled over once to help them out, but they didn’t produce anything. I figured since they had the opportunity and nothing happened, they’d be fine until they got to their hotel.
A little farther down the road… One of the boys mentions that he’d like to go to the Perkins (Denny’s, basically) instead of their hotel across the street. The other boy starts talking about all the different greasy foods he wants to eat which sets off one girl vomiting. I’m in the middle of a 6 lane road. She’s trying to get it out of the window, but there’s her friend between her and it. Then the second girl… she starts to vomit, too. They both refuse to get out of the car, but both continue to stick their heads out of the same window, getting only half the puke out of the car.
I mentioned the $50 clean up fee the first time we stopped for this, and the boys seemed fine with paying it… as long as I still took them all to Perkins. These boys are forcing their sick girlfriends to still go to Perkins, and they’ve been loud and obnoxious to me the whole ride.
Once we get to Perkin’s, the guy in the back starts to pay the $23 on the meter. I remind the guy in the front about the $50 cleaning fee (which actually doesn’t get doubled if you have two people vomit). So i get $21 from the guy behind me… and the guy in the front hands me these bills: $10, $20, $100, $10. He thinks it’s $50, not realizing there’s that extra 0 in there. I fan it, notice it, close up the money and say “That’ll be $2 more please” without batting an eye.
This is pure evil, and I know this, but I did it anyway and it paid for my groceries that week which I was hungry for. Besides, when the dude was fishing out his money to pay me this, he had at least 4 other $100 bills in there. He doesn’t need it nearly as much as I do.
This story happened last night, and it’s not nearly as epic:
Guy gets in my cab on the west side. He hands me $20 which i put in my visor in plain view for the whole ride. He asks me personal questions the entire ride, I refuse to answer half of them. He gets offended I didn’t let him sit in front, and he is a general misogynist jerk the whole way. He’s totally trashed and mentions the mafia and how much money he and his business make.
When I finally get him home (not the way he told me to go, but my own way), he gave me $20, and then gave me another $20 and said he’d need $16 back. The meter was at $19, so he was thinking he was giving me a $5 tip. He completely forgot about the $20 he handed me at the beginning of the ride, and I was not inclined to remind him. Normally, when someone tips me nicely or is just nice, I will remind them, and I’ve done so countless times in the past… But this time I just didn’t feel like it. The guy was a douche, and I am poor with little patience. Summers are slow. I needed this break badly, and I took it.
I’ve joined the dark side, and I’m 99% unrepentant. I’ll redeem myself later by an act of kindness to someone who actually deserves it.