Ripped off by Joe Iley of Hot Wheels Cab in Austin

Just a quick story and rant here.  For background: I have a terrible sense of direction.  TERRIBLE!!  I am the perfect target market for a GPS and I own one and I love it.  If I’m with anyone else and we’re supposed to GO somewhere, they’re automatically in charge of getting us there, and I turn off the part of my brain that pays any attention to location.  That part of my brain is small and frail anyway, and likes to get as much rest as possible.

So here we are last Sunday: me and my buddy Jay are ready to head from our hotel to our last day at Zilker Park for day 3 of the Austin City Limits music festival.  At this point I admit I’ve taken 4 cabs to and from the park – I should know what’s up.  Still, I think my crew had been rotating who was paying for things and/or splitting cabs.  I don’t think I had been in charge of paying for any of those cabs, just either contributing or buying the payer “a couple beers.”

So Jay and I get into the cab, announce our destination and the driver asks “do you want to get there fast?”  Come on!  That’s a rhetorical question, right?  We said yes, and quickly inferred that this guy was a weirdo.  Jay and I were mid conversation and he turned on the radio and turned it UP on the speakers in the back of the cab.  We asked him to turn it down.  He muttered some more craziness during the drive.

Then Jay realized we had been on the highway for a while.  He asked what route he was taking us.  The cabbie gave some BS answer about how going all-highway would save us some time.  This was at about 3PM on Sunday – I don’t think it was rush-hour anywhere.

We get finally get there, fairly happy to get out of the cab with mr. looney tunes, and the meter says $25!  I can’t remember what the other cabs cost.  In the back of my head I thought it was a lot less than this, but I just didn’t know.  I paid him.  We got out and talked about how crazy he was, and how we thought he ripped us off, but we were glad to be out of the cab.

On the way back to the hotel from the festival that evening I confirmed my suspicion – the cab cost only $12 on the meter!!  This bastard took us some crazy ass way that DOUBLED the price of the cab.  It made me mad in so many ways, but mostly because I felt like an idiot and a total sucker for not saying anything about the fare to the driver. Soon enough I was absorbed in beer and sun and fun of the festival, but I didn’t forget Mr. Iley.

HE GAVE US HIS BUSINESS CARD – UNSOLICITED.

It is a despicable thing to take advantage of tourists, and he is a criminal in my mind.  But what a dumb criminal he is.  He literally left his calling card.

So this story has two morals:

1) Don’t be a dipshit like me and get taken advantage of like this.

2) Don’t ever call Hot Wheels Cab in Austin at (512) 589-0167.  If you find yourself in Austin in a cab with a guy with a goofy voice and a monkey doll holding a rainbow flag behind his meter, get out.  Or at least keep your eye on the meter.  And give him the finger for me please.

Coming up…My commentary on  the bands we saw and the prevalent trends of ACL 2008..

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