This evening I had a couple of beers at Bar Rouge with Spil Games colleagues from Holland and took a cab back home afterward. I let the driver stop outside my compound and gave him RMB 100 to pay the RMB 45 fare. A second later he had an old RMB 10 note in his hand and told me that I had given him only RMB 10. For a moment I thought I made a mistake and took another RMB 100 from my wallet. But then I realized that he was cheating me, because I had just spent my last RMB 10 in the cab to Bar Rouge and I remember thinking to get some change in the bar for my taxi ride home (which I then of course forgot about in the bar).
So I looked at him and told him angrily he was trying to cheat me. He said no, I made a mistake and showed me he did not have any RMB 100 notes in his wallet. I repeated it again and then he said, ah, sorry I made a mistake. He then tried to give me RMB 25 back instead of RMB 55, which made me really angry. So he then apologized again and gave me RMB 55 back. I asked for a receipt, but he refused. Then I got really angry and tried to write down his taxi number, but he ripped the card out of its holder so I could not see his number.
That was too much for me and I told him I was going to call the cops. He started pleading me not to do this, offering me several hundred RMB (suddenly he had RMB 100 notes!) if I would let him go. This confirmed to me that he had probably played this trick before and may have gotten a warning and would lose his taxi license if he would be caught again.
I told him I did not care about money, but that it’s about ethics (well, at least I tried to explain that to him in Chinese, not sure if he understood what I meant), and that I hated him for trying to cheat his customers. I was very angry now and sort of felt that he deserved to lose his license, this kind of cab drivers give the others a bad reputation. On the other hand the punishment would be a bit too harsh, but at least I wanted to teach him a lesson. So instead of the cops I called my wife who turned out to be at home. The driver was almost crying when he saw me calling, probably assuming I was calling the police. In a way I felt bad for him, even though he was the one trying to cheat me.
My wife came out and the driver apologized to her many times and told her that his receipt printer was broken so he could not give me a receipt. She then said she would call his company to check if his printer was really not working after which he also offered her money not to do this and pleaded her to please be generous.
My wife argued with him for a while but was smarter than me and eventually let it go, telling him that he should never try this trick again. So I went out and tried to take a picture of his license plate. When he saw that he jumped out, standing in front of his plate and pleading me not to do this. So I just took a picture of him instead in front of his car. I had planned to put the picture above this post, but it’s probably better I leave it like this. He got his punishment and I don’t think he will easily try this trick again.