Friday, 14 December 2012

Plastic Wrap Left On Taxi Seats.

Not in any other country have I ever traveled in a taxi with the plastic wrap left on the seats. I'm not talking about car seat covers.  I mean the manufacturers plastic that wraps the seats of new cars to keep them looking brand spanking new as they head for the car dealers shop floor.

For some reason, taxi drivers and car rental companies in Riyadh like to leave the plastic on the seats for weeks, nay months, after obtaining the car.  Sometimes they even leave the plastic that covers the steering wheel as well.  And, to complete the package, the delivery sticker is still on the windscreen even though it's turning a baked on brown, the writing is fading and the paper is curling up on it's edges.

When I first came across such a vehicle my immediate question, mixed as it was with skepticism given the car looked a bit used, was "oh you have a new car?". 

No ma'am this is last years model.
Oh, right.  So, why haven't you taken  the plastic off your seats?
To keep the car new ma'am.

For just a second I figured the practice does have a modicum of reasonableness - the plastic protects the seats from the bodily grease and grime of the numerous clients who utilize the transportation and it's nice to know the drivers care about the condition of their vehicles. 

However, moments later, major doubts arose about the value of plastic covered seats in taxis because the current client (moi) was slipping all over the back seat.  While attempting to balance myself I wondered whether the slip sliding activity was occurring solely due to the double layered plastic or whether the combination of plastic and synthetic abaya was the issue.  It also occurred to me that any grease left behind by former taxi clients, having worked its way between the folds of plastic, probably wasn't helping matters and added an 'Ewwww' factor to the whole situation.

Maintaining an upright position with a driver who doesn't know how to drive - start, stop, race up behind the car in front that has only moved forward a few meters, swerve to miss the guy racing up beside him, stop, start  (that kind of driver) - is definitely made more difficult with plastic wrap draped over the seat.

It's not unusual, in Riyadh, to come across taxis with plastic on the seats and big dings in their bumpers - not that I'm suggesting there is any correlation between the two, I'm just saying.

Ka Kite,

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