On my first full day in Mexico City, I challenged myself to visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in a single day.
At dusk, I completed the trifecta with a visit to Mexico City’s Historic Center, which was both hurried and overwhelming.
The heat, air pollution, crowds, and grandeur of the neighborhood was enough to manage in itself, let alone trying to appreciate the points of interest.
I took a few pictures of the Cathedral, and hopped in a cab for the short ride back to my nearby hostel, thus saving me a twenty-minute walk.
As the drive began, I realized the meter was off, so I asked the driver about it.
He shrugged me off, saying it wasn’t needed, which instantly set off alarm bells that this guy was positioning himself to overcharge me.
I tried to regain some control, asking for an estimate of the fare, but he shrugged me off again.
Too tired, or perhaps too complacent to push harder, I allowed the ride to come to its conclusion at my hostel, where he finally declared a value, 100 pesos ($7.80).
I responded angrily, knowing this was well above the actual rate.
He refused to budge.
In the heat of the moment, I lacked the confidence to argue any further, and handed him a 100-peso note (conveniently, he asked for a value that can be paid with a single bill), and entered the hostel.
Flustered from the exchange, I peppered the young receptionist with questions about the incident, to which she responded the ride should’ve been about 35 pesos ($2.75), or three times less than what I was asked to pay.
Expletives spewed out of my mouth as I trudged upstairs to my empty dorm room, where I continued to fume for another hour at the gall of the driver.
I opened up Go Backpacking’s Facebook page and let off a rant involving cheating taxi drivers, and karma, which generated quite a few responses, including one girl telling me to “get over it” because it’s just a few dollars.
She was right, of course, but it wasn’t the money that bothered me, it was the driver’s ability to lie to my face, and ultimately rip me off without hesitation.
The following day, I would take several, longer taxis covering large distances, and they barely tipped over the 100-peso mark, which hit home how obvious it was that the driver the day before had ripped me off.
But by then, I’d truly gotten over it.
What would you have done? Paid the asking price knowing it’s too much? Given less, and left the car without apology?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.