A few days ago I arrived at Lisbon airport, took a cab (registry nr 283) for a journey I’ve done countless times and which usually costs a bit less than 10 Euros. I chat in Portuguese with the cab driver, give him directions, signalling that I know my way around. The meter indicates 9 Euros when we arrive. After offloading luggage, the driver *switches to English* and says it’s 30 Euros, that from the airport it’s a special tariff, pointing at a page of a prospectus of unknown origin (maybe the fares for Oslo airport?). I say – in Portuguese – that I’m paying what’s on the meter, which I do after yelling a few things at him.
What upset me most was not that he was a crook, but that he was so rubbish at it. How is this country gonna get out of the recession if even the tourist scam business lacks the appropriate skills? I am all for conning German and British tourists, but I clearly signaled that I was Portuguese and knew my way around. I was almost tempted to give him advice on how to choose targets, hide the meter in some way, etc. At least do it right, for God’s sake.