Something I’ve been having issues with since coming to the Philippines earlier this month (and really on every trip to the Philippines before this) is being overcharged. You can get around that by going to stores where the prices are clearly marked on the items before buying them, but then you miss out on all the good deals keep your wallet thick. This problem goes for the markets and for services, like public transportation.
If you’re not familiar with the Philippines there are tricycles, which are a motorcycle with a sidecar, that are used for short-range transportation. The prices are set by organizations and the local government and those prices are posted inside the vehicles with a sticker. Set routes to neighborhoods outside the town proper are set by the organizations. Even so, I’m constantly arguing with people that are trying to overcharge me, like I have pesos falling out of my butt every evening and can afford to just give away extra on every transaction I make.
Tonight, we came out of the grocery store with a buggy full of items and got into a tricycle. We needed transport over about 1 km (or less) of distance to pick up our laundry. Our bags were too heavy to walk that far, especially given how crowded the streets are in the evenings in Antipolo. So, the fare should have been 20 pesos. That’s the standard. When we pulled up in front of the laundry place, my wife handed the driver 20 pesos and the jackass started demanding 40. The night before we took the same route and the jackass in that tricycle was demanding 30. I like to call this the “white tax”. While arguing with the guy I quickly pulled all of our stuff out of the sidecar in case he tried to take off with our things. Then we ignored him and went inside.
When we got our laundry we packed it away into a bag we had bought. We’d actually taken our laundry to the cleaner in black plastic trash bags because we hadn’t found a proper bag for it yet. When I looked out the window, this prick was still sitting there watching us, as if he expected us to come out and say sorry and then pay him what he was demanding.
I told my wife to ignore him and not give him anything more than what he was owed. I’m not in the Philippines to make everyone rich at the expense of our livelihood. So, when we walked out and started up the street, he started his tricycle and shot past us screaming “You will die!” Ya, good job dude. We wrote down his plate number and we’re going to report him in the morning. The fines for tricycle drivers who attempt to overcharge are pretty steep. I hope he enjoys his 1000 peso fine for trying to be a prick.
When you live on the local economy you can’t afford to let people nickel and dime you to death, and even if I had a huge wad of cash, I wouldn’t be handing it out for free, or to someone who tried to rip me off. I’m nobody’s chump.