Bait and Switch Strategy

Sep 23 , 2023
By Kidist Yidnekachew

Heading to an unfamiliar destination recently, I ordered service from one of the taxi-hailing companies. I had a chance to discuss several aspects of life matters with the driver including inflation and the rise of rental fees.

It was a decent conversation. As the dropoff point approached, he turned off the distance meter, counting the fare I was supposed to pay. With some distance left to travel inside the compound, he insisted on taking me to the entrance as an act of benevolence.

I paid the indicated amount but he refused to return the 50Br change, claiming it was for the distance travelled after the meter was off.

I attempted to explain that such a short distance could not round up that high. To my astonishment, the driver responded in entitlement that he deserved praise and a tip since he drove to a remote area that would make getting a client upon return difficult.

That was not supposed to be on me, but if he had approached me politely and provided me with a clear explanation regarding the reason for the additional payment, I would have considered it.

However, individuals who attempt to deceive or outwit others possess the ability to pinpoint and take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Quite often, they target those who are trusting and inclined to believe in the good intentions of others.

Many service providers mask their exploitive traits behind friendly and empathetic conversations. Those who avoid confrontation are particularly susceptible to exploitation and manipulation.

I empathise with the inconvenience of not having exact change, but some drivers might take advantage of this situation. There are also those who are willing to waive specific amounts for the customer.

But, it is disrespectful to declare that the fare is a certain amount and refuse to give back even the smallest amount of change simply because the driver feels privileged. Being charged a random amount just because I seem willing to pay is greedy.

Not too long ago, I had a great encounter with another driver in the past who went above and beyond to help me while I was carrying a lot of items. Despite driving me to multiple locations, he did not take advantage of the situation and charged me a fair amount.

Although he was content with the indicated amount, his service compelled me to tip a generous amount.

Tipping should always be optional and at the discretion of the customer while any additional charges, such as excessive wait times, should be calculated by the meter.

I believe it is unethical to charge consumers exorbitant prices for a product or service worth less amount.

Salespeople may employ various tactics to persuade clients to purchase. Through their strategies might come false promises and discounts that are not actually available. This is particularly prevalent when shopping for clothing and footwear with the usual justification being that the product is of quality and bought at a higher price.

Profit-making is a personal preference depending on expenses. A 50 Br margin is sufficient for some while others take it up a notch to double what they paid for. Although they have a right to set their own prices, there are ethical considerations that should be taken into account. Fairness should be a guiding principle.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 23,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1221]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at

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