If you only knew how strange it is to take a taxi in Milan. The story
We like to think of Milan as a European city, fit for the 21st century, and very often we succeed. Then just a Saturday afternoon in the center a few weeks before Christmas, that is, a little scratch on the surface is enough to discover one an arch-Italian reality that has nothing modern about it and which refers to certain black and white comedies of half a century ago.
Forget the shame of the no-vax demonstrations, the inconvenience suffered by the shopkeepers, the folly of a minority left free to derail the train of economic recovery. This happened on the other side of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele where I was on Saturday 27 November, and many have already written about this.
On the side of the Gallery where I was staying – towards Piazza della Scala – a different but representative fact happened, just like the absurd tolerance towards the no-vax people, of the malpractice that weighs us down, anchoring us to a past that the others, to the abroad, they have long since shrugged.
At 17:30 I take a taxi, white, of the Municipality of Milan, with 6969 written on the front, therefore not an abusive, and I ask to be taken to Lambrate. Arrived in front of the house, at the time of paying the 22.50 euros for the ride, I take out the teait was for payment via POS and I hand it to the taxi driver. Ma the taxi driver replies that he does not have a terminal, says he it only accepts cash payments and that “if you had the POS you had to say it first and I wouldn’t charge you”.
It’s late, I’m tired, I don’t want to argue with a guy who, among other things, has taken on an aggressive tone bordering on intimidation. I ask to be taken to the nearest ATM to withdraw. But this POS thing the taxi driver took as a personal affront, and there he was shouting – yeah, shouting – that he is there to work, “not like you (my partner is in the taxi too) that you are around to do shit “. At that point I would like to point out to the gentleman many things, but there is no need, because my partner has already pointed out to the gentleman that paying with the POS is a customer’s right and that certain inappropriate offenses would do better to keep them for self.
And it is then that the taxi driver of the Municipality of Milan extracts the POS terminal – therefore present on board, take a look! – adding text: “pay and get rid of your balls, but ‘it’s worse for you ”.
At this point it is clear to me that from the Italian comedy we have transcended into the grotesque, and above all into the criminal. Being threatened by a taxi driver because I ask to pay with the POS, I would say no. So I get out of the taxi, I photograph the license plate and license, and I tell my partner – much more combative than me – to go into the house and save the bags of gifts; yes, because in the meantime the taxi driver got out and started throwing up insults, with a street-level attitude that makes me ask what this gentleman did in life before obtaining the license to drive taxis in Milan.
Unfortunately for him, being (also) an MMA fighter, to scare me it takes nothing but an alfetta male: ignoring his provocations aimed at obtaining a physical confrontation, I still approach with the POS card to make the payment. After other insults the man allows me to pay, and in handing me the receipt, the poor thing takes care of tear off the piece of paper with its references, thus thinking of becoming untraceable.
At that point I approach home, but the taxi driver just doesn’t want to know: he follows me to the gate, continuing to provoke me (“Are you afraid? Go back …” and other suburban bully stuff), all of which I react to calling 113 on the spot.
It is not over: while I am waiting at the switchboard, the man arrives right at the gate of my house, clings, and threatens me again, saying that if I call the police “it will be my business” and that “we will definitely meet again”. Maybe he thinks he scares me since he knows where I live but again, it takes more to scare me, so I stay on the phone with the police reporting the license plate, and then report the incident to 6969, to the Municipality of Milan and soon to the Police Station with regular report.
We know what they say in these cases: it is a single, not all are like that, and God forbid. I take about ten taxis a week and I have certainly never had a guy like that before.
But beyond the particular case (even if I ask myself what preventive checks are made on those who ask for a license to drive a taxi, being that the taxi driver is the most stressful job of all given the traffic situation) the general problem relates to your own card payment.
Without getting to the physical threats that the gentleman will have to account for, everyone – in restaurants, in shops, in a taxi – we are used to hearing excuses (“I have a broken car, he wouldn’t have the cash …”), unsolicited advice (” we can’t do it with cash, it’s done sooner … “), grimaces, raised eyes to heaven, and so on. An attitude that, in 2021, does not exist in any other city of international level. To stay with taxis, in many cities you pay automatically, with your card, on the display placed in front of the parking seat: the fact that payment by card represents a nuisance, a hindrance, an inconvenience, is an all-Italian anachronism, which finds no other justification than the merchant’s willingness to evade taxes: the same taxes that are used to finance healthcare and intensive care, for example.
But as in the case of the no vax, who cares about the others: the important thing is the crest of € 22.50 spit, the personal gain even if microscopic, the filthy cunning elevated to a cardinal virtue.
The day we are able to take off this ballast, then we will truly enter that future that others have long ago entered.