— Most of life’s problems can be solved by thinking “What would Mike Lowery do?” —
Location, Location, Location
Like I said previously, people who want bribes want the deed to go down smoothly, away from public eyes. You are less likely to get beef in areas of high human traffic, or at least the chance of things going nasty is greatly reduced. If you’re in the middle of nowhere with no one around, the crazier these bribe-takers can act without repercussion. If this person gets violent who’s going to save your own sorry ass?
Cloudy With A Chance Of Imprisonment
— Bad Times —
If you’ve broken the law and the officers wants an exchange of money for freedom. I’d personally take freedom. You’re between a rock and a hard place here. Also there are very real dangers to spending night in jail in certain countries.
If you haven’t done anything then it might be worth taking a stand and asking questions. Make this person explain themselves. Verbalising the lie will help make them realise they don’t have a leg to stand on. Remember though, innocent people also get taken to jail.
In a few circumstances the bribes not even about the money. For whatever reason this person’s ego has been hurt and he wants to take it out on you.
It could be the fact that as a traveller you have the wealth and freedom that this person is jealous of. It could be the fact that this person is a dick and he just doesn’t like the way you look. A small minority people are just looking for a fight. Don’t give these people a reason unless is absolutely necessary. Stay calm and polite but make it clear you’re no push over.
Means To An End
Look no one wants to pay a bribe. There is truth to the fact that by paying a bribe you are perpetuating the behaviours that are keeping these acts, and the system that allows/causes them, to keep going.
That being said do you really want to spend 5 hours at a border crossing, going round in conversional circles, with some random guy, for 30 pence. Some battles are worth fighting and some are not. What else can you be doing with your time instead of being a moral justice warrior?