Thursday June 7, 2007
A couple of weeks ago I was left needing a jump-start in front of my apartment on South Beach. I don’t have jumper cables anymore. I asked a few people, and they were all very sympathetic but nobody has jumper cables anymore, so I marched down to a busier street to find a cab (cabbies will sometimes jump you, but they charge). Against all odds, I spotted a tow-truck from one of the two great towing companies we have down here before a cab. I flagged him down. How much for a jump?
“If you’d called the station and they dispatched me, it would have been $75, that’s how much we’re supposed to charge,” he said. “I’ll do it for twenty bucks.” And sure enough.; I got a ride the two blocks back to my car, and in another minute I was on my way.
Reflecting on this, the $20 seems like a perfectly reasonable and appropriate fee, consider the inconvenience caused the jumper and the benefit to the jumpee. And so I propose that the $20 be formalized as the informal going rate for a jump with someone else’s cables. Henceforth, if somebody gives you a jump with their jumper cables, hand them a twenty. If it’s a private citizen, they’ll be grateful, and the price is commensurate with the help they afforded you. If a cabbie asks you for $40 for a jump, wave an Andrew Jackson in his face, proclaim loudly, “I’ve got twenty bucks,” and watch him melt. On the other hand, if someone gives you a jump and you’ve used your own cables, I say all they get is a friendly handshake and a sincere thank-you. After all, this is still a society, and we’re all helping each other out here.comments powered by Disqus