A few weeks ago I had a taxi ride from Asoke to Sukhumvit soi 56. Before setting off, I explained to the taxi driver that the exact destination was on the third sub-soi (yak) off soi 56 and off we went.
When we turned into soi 56, I kept repeating that we needed the third sub-soi but he kept on asking for the name of the building which I did not know. He drove on, missing the turn, to the end of soi 56 and then he stopped. He refused to turn around to look for the sub-soi, claiming that I did not give him the name of the building (even if I did, in order to have a chance to see it we should have been on that bloody yak 3). He told me to pay, get out and take a motorbike taxi. Things started to heat up. In principle, I did not take a taxi to end up stranded in an unknown neighborhood at dark and pay another extortionate fare to a motorbike taxi. On the other hand, I was also very aware of the context: I was a farang in a dark alley in Bangkok, out there just to be ripped off. Nevertheless, I thought I would give him a bit of a hard time, so I told him that I could not pay him if he didn't take me where I wanted to go. At that point, he raised his open hand threatening to slap me mumbling something in Thai and went with the classic line: "you pay now!" . I was not that impressed by his physical threat, as he was quite old and not in shape, but after weighing the multiple consequences, I decided to pay. Not the fare on the meter though, which he had kept running for the whole discussion, but I knocked off 10 baht, just to piss him off.
I was upset for the rest of the evening, thinking that I had been ripped off for the 100th time and even physically threatened. What were my options or what would you have done in the same situation?
1) Respond to his threat by raising my hands
2) Walk away without paying
3) Call the police (yeah right...)
I feared he would pull out a knife and/or call for the help of fellow nationals to beat the crap out of me, so I swallowed the pill and payed. It was not for the money, because the fare was around 100 baht, but it was a matter of principle. But then again, how many fights/beatings between farangs and thais happen over just a few hundred bahts...