Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saudi taxi driver 'learns' a lesson

We have just returned from a vacation abroad and I have to share with you a saudi story about our travels. On our first attempt to leave the country we realized at customs that we were missing our saudi visas and we had to retrieve them quickly. We normally would have called a driver but couldn't afford to wait for one to arrive so we decided to take a taxi from the airport to our destination 10 minutes away. A saudi taxi driver approached us first out of a whole mob of drivers and led us to his car where he started putting our bags in the trunk. Before opening the car door I insisted on coming to a price, though he kept trying to get us into the taxi. He finally quietly quoted an exorbitant 80 riyals, to which I offered a more reasonable (and still overpriced) 50 riyals because we were in a rush. Unbelievably, he said no to this with about 30 other drivers watching the whole thing and ready for business. So we removed the bags and just went to the next car, much to his dismay. Upon returning to the same airport about 2 weeks later on our way home, the same taxi driver was hawking his services to us again. Comically, he remembered us and kept repeating "ok ok 50 riyals, 50 riyals" to us, but our driver was already on his way so we had to decline. I'd like to say we taught him a little lesson in free markets and dealing with foreigners, but I'm really not so naive...

7 comments:

Lost.In.Riyadh© said...

LMAO! I had had such experiences.. but my husband usually handles our taxi rides from the airport.. so I never had a problem there. There is a case I remember, My baby sister works in Dhahran (Eastern Province of RIyadh).. and lives in a compound. Anyway, we were at the mall one day and wanted to get home. We didn't want to wait for a ride from any of our cousins, so we decided to take a taxi. As soon as the guys heard we wanted to go to a compound (mind u its less then a few minutes drive away!!!) he quoted us with 50SAR, which is ridiculous, most taxi drivers would request about 15 SAR. Then this idiot starts telling us that compounds are hard to get into, and a bunch of crap. Anyway, we got him down to 20SAR in the end.. (I know how to bargain.. lol)... and he told us that he usually charges Americans 80SAR... I told him we were Canadians.. lol.. so we don't get ripped off as easily!

Orchidthief said...

Thanks for sharing - it never ceases to amaze me how taxi drivers try so hard to scam people. I am one of those people that just detests having the wool pulled over my eyes, so I can identify with the bargaining for sure.

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