Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Every city has a rip-off

Boston - Is it just me, or does every city have a rip-off. Ya'll know what I'm talking about. Every city has something - a service, a quirk, an unusual trait - that, in the end, is weird and a total rip off. I've been thinking about rip-offs during my visit here this week. Boston has a TON of rip-offs, and it made me think about how every city has them. Below are my quick list of rip-offs from various cities. Feel free to add on.

Washington, D.C.
1) Zoned cabs. Zoned cabs seem cool: you pay based on what zone of the city you're in, and only pay more if you cross zones. But, what if you have to go less than a mile - which would cost, say, $3 in a regular cab? If you happen to cross a zone in that mile, that same cab can cost you around $10. Rip-off.

1) When you order Chinese or Thai food at a restaurant, you have to pay extra for rice. They will not give it to you. They charge. Usually a dollar. Now, what kind of shit is that? Rice is the cheapest food staple around. It costs, what 50 cents to make a whole pot? So why do Asian restaurants here insist on charging for it? Doesn't make sense.

2) The coat check. This is a HUGE Boston scam. Basically, every place you go has a coat check. Malls. Clubs. Conventions. Now, that would be cool, if it were FREE. But these places usually charge $2 or $3 to hang your coat in a stanky closet with a bunch of other folks' musty coats. And, of course, given that it's Boston and cold as shit, most of these places are making serious cash.

3) The bus scam. Peep this: until a few months ago, riding the bus in Boston was .75 cents. The bus people wanted to raise the fare to $1. But, a lot of advocates for the poor protested, claiming that that was a 25 percent increase. So what did the bus people do? Raise the fare to 90 cents, instead. But here's the rub: most people are likely to have either quarters, or a dollar bill. (How many of us have exactly 90 cents in change?). So, guess what? If all you have is a dollar bill, you can still pay with that...but you won't get any change back! Rip-off!!!

1) Valet Parking. You go EVERYWHERE in Houston and there is valet parking. And, 9 times out of 10 (whatever that means!), the prices are high. So, in a city with a billion cars, you pretty much end up paying to park when you go eat bad Mexican food. Rip-off!!!

2) High property taxes. Don't even get me started. We have some of the highest property taxes in the country.

1) Tolls. Orlando has toll roads EVERYWHERE. You can't even drive to the damn grocery store without going through a toll road. Total rip off.

Ok, what's your city rip-off? I know I've forgotten about Detroit (home of about a million rip-offs) and New York City. Add to the list. What small thing or quirk in your city usually ends up costing you more money?


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Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, but here's my rip off: NYC. I got a haircut in Brooklyn while there on biz a couple of years ago, and damned if the barber didn't charge me an extra $5 for a part in my hair. I was doing the old-school thing then and having my short caesar cut "garnished" with a part. I was used to my hometown barbers throwing something like that in as a courtesy. After all it's one little line, pressed into your head with an electric clipper. Dude insisted that it was standard there to pay extra for everything beyond the literal shortening of your hair. If he was telling the truth, that is a total rip.