Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to: Bribe an Official

Although I try to avoid bribing when I can (and have successfully talked my way out of having to bribe the police a few times), sometimes it's necessary.  When?  When I've messed up, that's when.   
Scenario: Something has gone wrong, and the official is acting like he is going to do something bad to you.

Your Magic Words: "I'm sorry about this.  Is there a fine?"

The Rationale: Of course there isn't a fine, but this is the official's way of taking money without looking like it's for him/herself.

After They State the Fine: HAGGLE!  Yes, haggle.  I had a Moldova train attendant who wanted $100 and I got him to $60, and I had Cambodian border guard who wanted $20 and I got him to $10.  There is no harm in trying, and it saves you money.

Your Magic Words: "I wish I could pay that, but I don't have that much.  I only have ___  on me!"

After They State a Mid-way Price: "But sir, if I pay that, I will not be able to eat tomorrow.  At most I could pay..."

And so it goes.  Just remember that when someone gets a bribe out of you, it means they will try to get it out of others after you.  So use sparingly.

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