Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Crabbie Cabbies

Some Muslim cab drivers in Minneapolis are fighting for the right to refuse to carry passengers who carry alcohol in or on their person. This is just the latest in the ongoing culture war in this country, and I for one love it. I would urge these cabbies to unite with Jewish cab drivers and insist on pork-free taxies as well. In fact I think some enterprising company would invent breathalyzers for both booze and bacon that would warn a cabbie that his or her potential fare is an infidel and not worth driving anywhere.

Not surprisingly, some Minneapolis citizens, especially those who drink responsibly and need taxis to carry them home after a night of binging or who worry that having a BLT for lunch may force them to walk rather than grab a cab, are up in arms. Personally, I think the cabbies are well within their rights to refuse to drive these people. If Christian pharmacists can refuse to sell the morning-after pill to a woman who was raped, I think it only fair that Muslims can refuse to pick up anyone who violates their religious sensibilities. But, more importantly, this culture clash offers the rest of us the chance to capitalize on a unique niche marketing opportunity. Just when you thought the taxi cab business was dominated by huge companies driving out the little guy, we now have an opening for mom and pop taxies to flourish in culturally diverse cities such as Minneapolis.

Here are just some of the options, complete with tag lines for advertising, that an entrepreneurial cab driver might try:

Clean and Sober Cabs (“You Drink, We Drive”) would focus on drunks, offering hot black coffee to inebriated passengers, and supplying then with breath mints when they arrive at their destinations to help them convince others they are not drunk.

Heaven’s Hacks (“Cab Outta Hell”) might focus on people in search of salvation through Jesus Christ. Christian radio would play on the stereo, cabbies would be trained evangelists, and rear seat camcorders would record backseat conversions to mark the rider’s coming to Jesus.

Kosher Kabs (“Have we got a ride for you!”) would feature rabbis who would teach Torah during the ride, and help male passengers learn how to lay tefillin. These cabs would be equipped with mikvahs (ritual baths) in the trunk for women riders who wish to participate in this ritual.

CrossTown Taxi (“Every street is a Cross street”) would be for the saved only, taking them to destinations approved by their denominations and avoiding all family planning clinics, pharmacies that provide the morning after pill, offensive movies, and stores that don’t allow employees to say “Merry Christmas” during the winter solstice.

Without belaboring the point, I would also license Crusader Cabs for Catholics (“Ride with us—God wills it!”), Hurry Krishna for Hindus (“We gita you there fast!”), Buddha Bus for Buddhists (“You’re already there!”), and a fleet of Mazda automobiles called Ahura’s for Zoroastrians (“Get there faster with Zoroaster!”).

You get the idea. As America becomes more diverse and more divisive those with real imagination can make a killing. At least until the real killing starts.

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