We’ve all been there. We took the taxi home, made small talk with the driver, made sure to tip extra out of courtesy, and then watched as the blood drains from his face when we slammed the door violently shut. Reckless door slamming (or ‘RDS’ as it is called among thought leaders in this vertical) has plagued the continent since Christopher Columbus nonchalantly battened down the hatches with callous indifference as he set sail for the Caribbean. Ever since, RDS has been a constant source of tension between the gringo and latino communities. Countless taxis, vans and camiones have endured irreversible damage in addition to the financial and emotional dents that the drivers have incurred.
Things came to a head in 2013 when damage caused by RDS peaked at an all-time high and resentment began to breed within the Latino community. Some gringos, in the attempt to assimilate better into Latin American culture, resorted to extremes by choosing to forego the use of car doors altogether and entered cars through their windows instead.
So much so that one vibrant Uruguayan startup has looked into how it can ease the conflict between the two warring ideologies. “We realised that it was in our hands to do something about it,” CEO and founder Miguel Portazo said, “And we knew it was time to act now before this window of opportunity shut on us. We hope to eradicate RDS by 2023.”
And so ¡Gringo Please! was born, an app that sought to alleviate tensions between the two communities. The app works by sending over an intermediary–who for some reason is always called Sergio– to carefully open and shut doors with the exact force required for the vehicle in question. The intermediaries can be located within minutes of the vehicle whose doors you intended on slamming and, for more premium members, Sergio will also drive you to your desired location.
“This app is a necessary thing for us,” a taxi driver said, who spoke to LATAM.tech on condition of anonymity. “If gringos continue to slam doors as hard as they do, we lose our livelihood. A colleague of mine had his car beat up so badly he can barely use it.”
Others however appeared sceptical about ¡GringoPlease!’s chances of success in disrupting the market. Dr Thorsten noted that “I believe it was Hegel who once said that tragedy is the conflict between right and right. But in this case, this shit’s just out of control! The excessive sensitivity about door slamming is exaggerated and ridiculous. Doors are built to be slammed and my family shall continue to do so.”
So ¡GringoPlease! have their work cut out for them if they are to conquer Latin American hearts, one car door at a time. This dark chapter in Latino-Gringo relations is not yet closed but if this promising startup has anything to do with it, in 5 years time it may be firmly shut.
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