Thursday 17 November 2011


As a longtime taxi driver, I met a lot of cheapskates. People who are rich, living in big bungalow but asks for a 10 cents change back at the end of a trip. I always wonder what these people gonna do with that 10 cents, make a phone call at a public booth or throw it into their private wishing pool?  No ordinary working people would be so petty as to ask for a 10 cents change back. If they do ask back for the change, its understandable because they are NOT RICH. Wealthy people probably don't remember what a 10 cents looks like and I purposely give them change in lots of 10 cents coins as a way of reminding them.

I would like to share with you two of the worst cheapskates I met in my driving history.

The first one happen on a evening many months ago. A fashionably dressed Indian woman hailed my cab outside the gate of her huge bungalow at Napier Road and asked to be taken to the Victoria Theater Opera. She emphasised the word "Opera" to impress me that she was a high society socialite. Meekly, I asked her what opera she was going to see, and she began a lively explanation of the beauty of opera. It sounded greek to me. This well-heeled passenger asked me whether I've ever attended an opera. I told her that I never been to one because I've no interest and the tickets are too pricey on a taxi driver's salary, anyway. She replied: "Well, I agree with you about how expensive the tickets have become. Even though I can afford it, I am very discerning about which performances I attend. My box seat is costing me around $500"

When we arrived at the theater, she told me how much she enjoyed the ride and that I was a great cabdriver. The meter read $7.80 and she handed me $8. I thanked her profusely, thinking she intended for me to keep the change of 20 cents.

She then said, "I'd like the 20 cents back, please."

As I drove away, I wondered if that 20 cents was going to help pay for that $500 opera ticket!

The second horrible cheapskates happens to be a China National woman. She was dressed to the nines, with a diamond studded "Rolex" watch, gold bracelets, broaches, "Prada" handbag, high heel shoes and black laced stocking. Without any doubt, she looked rich like a socialite. She boarded my cab at IBP (International Business Park) in Jurong during the evening peak hour. I had been in the slow moving rank for almost half an hour and was hoping that my next customer would head to city on a long trip.

"IMM, please." she asked snobbishly. On hearing it, my heart sunk because IMM was just half a kilometer away. My hope of a $15 trip towards the city melt away. The fair meter showed $4 when we arrived at IMM. "Master, please give me a discount on the $4 fare?" she asked without shame.
"What?". I replied looking straight into her eyes and holding back my shock and frustration.
"No, please pay $4". I wanted to offload a barrack of sarcastic remarks at her but restrained. She paid and left fuming.

I admire people who choose to have a frugal lifestyle. I'm one of them. The less you spend, the less you need to earn. One can choose not to commute by taxi instead take the train, bus, bike or walk. Drink water not alcohol, no smoking or eating out, stay at home, no credit card or subscriptions, do things yourself and save energy. There are countless ways to live frugally but don't bitch on a ten cents tip for a taxi driver, please!.


Viper said...

I have 1 incident involved with 3young chinese nations. I picked them up at the airport. I asked them where is their destination? They told me, "Admiralty, near Naval base". So I asked them which way they prefer? They told me the fastest way. After I have reached there, I asked them where they want to alight. They told me is not this place, so I asked them again what is their actual destination. Then they told me is "Blk 638 Woodland Ring Road". On my way to Blk 638, they requested for discount on the taxi fare. I told them how much they want to discount? They told me that normally is only $20!!!! My meter show $27.20 upon arrival.So I just alight them, take $20 n drove off.

These CHEAPSKATE chinese nation from CHINA are really a disgrace to other China nation in Singapore. And I really change my view towards these "YOUNG" chinese nation. So fellow drivers, pls be wary with these kind of situation. Cheers.

Diary of a Singaorean Cabby said...

Thanks for your comment. It's a rare commodity in my blog. Appreciate it.
Yes, most Chinese National are cheapskates. Don't expect any tips from them. You are lucky if they didn't request for discount. I'll never give them discount no matter what unless I took the wrong route and it's solely my fault. Take care and good luck, buddy.
James Lim

From Abidjan said...

I usually round up my fares to the nearest dollar. If the fare is $13.60 and I paid $15, will usually ask the driver to keep the change.