People. You are being RIPPED OFF.
Being "ripped off" is one of life's annoyances, to be polite and it happens to everybody at some point in their day. If it doesn't happen to you today, then be on your guard tomorrow. Everybody is out to rip everyone else off. Everywhere. Every single day. I don't know about you, but it winds me up something shocking. Conmen (and women). I'll give a few examples...
We'll start with taxi drivers. Over in my old stomping ground in good ol' Blighty, a taxi driver was blatantly trying to rip off a couple of foreign students by charging almost 50 pounds for a ten minute journey when the cost should have been about 8 pounds.
Similarly, in the capital a man was caught trying to charge tourists a whopping 206 pounds for a one mile journey up Oxford Street on his rickshaw. And THAT was at a discounted price! Oh, I had to chuckle. It was only when he was challenged by passers by and police he eventually accepted 40 pounds.
I read there is to be a taxi strike here in Spain. At the airport. In August. Oh, dear. Drivers are not happy because all the foreign unlicensed cabbies are taking their business. Unlicensed taxis are everywhere, but be honest, it's usually a friend of a friend who won't charge you an extortionate price to take you ten minutes down the road to your apartment. Spanish taxis are not cheap. Ok, an cab from the airport to our place is 20 euros. It doesn't come cheaper. If you're lucky you might save yourself a fiver if you go with the friend of a friend. When I was over in England recently I could travel anywhere within the town's limits and not pay more then a fiver with one cab firm. Not bad when there are kids involved and it's actually quite possibly cheaper than taking the bus.
Another rip off merchant is the supermarket. Yes, the BIG supermarkets both in the UK and in Spain seem to think it's ok to sell something dirt cheap one week and then hike the price right up a few days later. A pack of 4 Fruit Shoots 1 pound. A couple of days later 2.46! How do they justify that? The only ones over this way whose price seem to stay consistent are the "cheap" supermarkets Lidl and Aldi. More and more people are shopping in these places because they don't claim to be the best. They're cheap and they're honest about it. Thret don't claim to be the best. They just say they're 'as good as'.
Theme parks. Where do they get their crazy ideas for prices from? You have to be super rich to be able to afford a family day out at Thorpe Park! They charge almost 230 pounds on the gate for a family of four. That's before you buy food, drink, pay to park your car...and then you spend the day standing in a queue! Yay! What fun! Compare that to a family ticket for four at Terra Mitica in Benidorm for 129 euros. Bit cheaper.
It might actually be cheaper to take your kids out of school during term time (yes, that's with the fine) and jet off to the sun for a couple of days. Holiday firms and flights, MORE rip off merchants. WHY can they get away with charging prices during 'peak' times that have been plucked out of thin air? Why does nobody say anything about it? If they are, why are there not enough people saying anything about it? Because we don't want to be seen as rude, perhaps? I understand these people have to make a living. But is is REALLY necessary to send prices into the stratosphere? Just because it's "peak" season? Airlines: Does it REALLY cost 40 euros in fuel for EVERY bag in the hold?
Always negotiate at the market. Home or abroad. That's half the fun. They start with a price you laugh at, then after walking away and having the stall holder practically chase you, and then they say "Ok, how much you pay?" (if their English skills are good enough)You tell them, and you may or may not walk happily away with your purchase.
I know I am getting older. (Probably grumpier, too) I know prices rise. But come on now, these prices are ridiculous, and you know it, all you Fat Cats out there, rubbing your hands together in glee, laughing at the folks who work hard to line your pockets. I'm sure YOU can afford school holidays during the allocated times and to pay for a legitimate taxi from the airport, eh? I think ordinary people are treated unfairly most of the time and need to find a voice to speak.
I also think it's shocking that conmen (and women) seem to get away with it...