tech and taxis

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Here I am, in the back of a cab again, only this time heading to my hotel near the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m excited about this trip for several reasons, primarily because I’ve never been here before. and I’m taking a few personal days before the meetings that I’m actually here to attend will begin.

Secondarily, travel as usual presents myriad opportunities for learning and personal development, and this cab ride is another great example. Specifically, more in-situ training in how to deal with cab drivers that don’t want to accept credit cards.

In general, I don’t travel with cash. I don’t like the idea of possibly losing my cash or having it stolen from my purse. At least if I get my debit card stolen, my bank has a policy that will help me regain any money lost to the scoundrels that stole it. Cash, though…too easy to spend and too easy to lose.

So, one of the arguments I have, with pretty much every cab driver in every city I’ve ever been to (with the notable exception of Seattle), is whether they will accept credit cards. I ask before I get into the cab even, and they say yes, and wait until we pull away and I can’t get out before starting the story about why it would be really better if I could pay them cash. How the card takes two weeks to get the money to them, how it’s a hassle, etc etc etc. honestly. One guy tried to get me to charge gas to my card instead of paying the fare! Another guy tried telling me that I have to pay cash because all credit card machines across Los Angeles were broken. Yet another guy pulled out one of those antiquated credit card things where you put the card in the machine and push a slider over it to take a carbon copy of the raised numbers on the card face.

In contrast, every cab driver I’ve had in Seattle has a slider hooked up in some way to their phone or other digital machine where I can even just get my receipt emailed to me. Not once have I ever gotten hassled by a Seattle cab driver for using a card instead of cash.

I have gotten out of a cab before because of this – the guy started fussing at me before we even pulled away from the curb and so I just got out and made him get my bags out, and I grabbed the next cab. Who, by the way, accepted my card handily.

I don’t get it. In this world where we can pay money to people or businesses in so many ways that I’m quite certain there is a way for these drivers to easily accept cards AND get their money sooner, faster, with less of a fee, whatever. I have complete confidence in this.

Not to mention: I’m fucking tired of these guys thinking they can bully me because I’m a girl. I would bet they don’t give guys as hard a time as they do me. Too bad for them I have zero sympathy.

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