Markets in everything

by on April 18, 2010 at 4:09 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, Travel | Permalink

British actor John Cleese of Monty Python fame opted for a daylong cab ride halfway across Europe after the dust plume from an Icelandic volcano left him stranded.

Cleese paid $5,100 for a Mercedes taxi Friday from the Norwegian capital, Oslo, to Brussels, said Kjetil Kristoffersen, managing director of Publicom, his agent in Norway. Cleese was in Oslo to appear on the talk show Skavlan.

The article is here.  Cleese and Monty Python, of course, were the original inspiration for the MR "Markets in Everything" series.

Bock April 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Assume the eruption lasts for two months and assume planes in Europe continue grounded. Who will be the economic winners and losers?

afinetheorem April 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I’ve seen similar figures quoted for taxi rides in Europe during the volcano. But why are they so expensive? It’s less than 1000 miles from Oslo to Brussels. Surely many people would be glad to take John (or anyone) for a couple thousand bucks?

zbicyclist April 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm

1500 km, so afinetheorem is right on the money.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=oslo+norway&daddr=brussels+belgium&hl=en&geocode=FVw2kgMdNdyjACm9EgiZwm1BRjGaHiPTX2CSfg%3B&mra=ls&sll=59.91382,10.738741&sspn=0.662268,1.766052&ie=UTF8&z=5

For a 2000 mile taxi ride (a taxi is going to assume deadheading back) and some lodging and meals — really $5100 doesn’t seem horribly out of line. It probably includes the requirement that the driver not quote from any Monty Python or Fawlty Towers sketches.

I’m sure lots of us would do it for free, but we aren’t in Oslo.

Pedro April 18, 2010 at 6:30 pm

(read on the Daily Mail website about this same piece of news): What was he doing in Norway? Simple, he was PINING for the FJORDS. Sounds dumb, but I laughed for a good 5 minutes when I read that.

Mo April 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

RTFA. He tried the trains, they were booked.

“When the plane did not go, we tried to book tickets on the train, but there was no possibility in the whole world,” Kristoffersen said.

Ed April 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

Europe’s trains are overcrowded and overbooked at this point, and it may be the same with rental cars.

I’ve found hiring cabs (price negotiated up front) to be surprisingly cost effective for some trips, for example connecting between two parellel train/ bus routes. Given the ferry tolls involved and the lack of other transportation options, I think the price in this case was reasonable.

Anthony April 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm

The cabbie(s) may have set a price based on the assumption of deadheading back to Oslo, but they may be able to find stranded Norse Eurocrats in Brussels to take back, making the trip very profitable.

Eric H April 20, 2010 at 7:39 am

“Cleese and Monty Python, of course, were the original inspiration for the MR “Markets in Everything” series.”

No they weren’t. [Waits for counter-reply...]

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