Friday, December 22, 2006

Promises made does not mean that promises will be kept! or Patience pays off!

I am at a car rental place where, as in classic Seinfeld mode they apparently know how to take a reservation, but they don't know how to keep it. They have to fetch me a car from hither and yon. They say 15 minutes. I'm betting 30.

I rent a car most Christmases since I have no car and visiting family and friends on non-existent holiday transport is impossible. I suppose I should write more about my experiment in refusing to own a car in a car-based culture (and I have occasionally, I suppose) but it seems insufferable to keep doing it. Suffice it to say, I like my choice generally (although it makes dating awkward). Whenever I fill out one of those carbon footprint calculators, my score comes up teensy.

But back to why I am sitting her writing: the kind car rental agents offered me a truck for triple the rate of the car. How nice of them! They are also now pressing the collision damage insurance, which is a load of bollocks in that my credit card covers it all (trust me I've checked several times) with no deductable and no shenanigans.

They are also quite good about pressuring clients to upgrade because of the nasty weather. Oh well: this is how these guys make money, I suppose. Does everything having to do with cars, however, have to be extra sleazy?

A rather dizzying older woman comes in seeking a car. She has no reservation but "needs a car." They are booked up solid. No cars are available. They are closed on Sundays, as well. After she leaves, the gang of agents guffaw at her idiocy.

Now they are offering me hot chocolate and holiday cookies. I refuse, politely, and continue to type. I sense this is because the officemates have started some banter about clueless customers that I assume they engage in when no customers are present. This, of course, is standard office practice, but they momentarily forgot I was present.

Now they are discussing video games. Apparently 2 like the Wii and 2 hate it: "The point of video games is that you don't have to move around."

The guy who offered me hot chocolate and holiday cookies seems to be the boss and he tells one of the men that they need to work on close outs or something like that.

It has grown quiet in the office save for the nervous whistle of one of the agents and the crack of sunflower seeds. I amused suddenly about how much this is like the office. There seems to be a lot of pointless staring at computers and flirtatious telephone conversations with women on the other end of the line.

More customers come in.

It has been 15 minutes.

"You are brave coming up from Arizona to drive in this weather," the representative jokes.

"I know!" The woman has huge rings on wrinkled fingers. She is with a guy who must be her son. He says things like "she needs a small car."

Apparently there have been many accidents this morning and a lot of insurance reservations. There really is not very much snow on the roads. It must have just been bad this morning. The usual topic of discussion in these circumstances is that people forget how to drive in snow. No doubt that is the case, but I'm not going to belabor it here.

Apparently they have lost the keys to a car that was to go out to the women with rings. They are willing to offer her an upgrade to a truck. Funny. For me it was triple the rate. The woman refuses. She doesn't want a large truck. Ah her initial rate is much higher. They ask for patience from the customer. The customer seems most accommodating, but that is because they have offered to bring the car to her.

21 minute ago I sat in this chair. I completed the contract 23 minutes ago.

"Everything is slower because of the weather!" the boss says to someone on the phone. That is a very adept assessment.

It is snowing lightly. My leg is falling asleep.

The representative is dancing around the insurance issue. The woman with the rings is surprisingly adept at seeing through his shenanigans: "But you already insure these cars."

"Yes," he admits "but what about rock dings!" It is an exclamation rather than a question.

My guy is getting nervous, I think, he looks out the blinds.

28 minutes.

This rep is a hard sell. He is trying to scare the woman now about how complicated things are making claims out of state. Now he is boldly lying that they don't push the collision damage. The guy the ring woman is with is in cahoots with the rental car guy. She folds. Score another 75 buckaroos to the company. I'm sure they have some sort of competition going on selling the insurance. No one would work so hard to sell it otherwise.

My bet was 30. It is now 35 minutes.

Wait a minute: something's afoot!

5:28 pm

Hah. So the truck that was going to cost me 3 times as much as I was going to pay for the car was given to me. They called it a free upgrade. Patience pays off: you see. Well that and typing away in their waiting room. Apparently the 35 minute wait was even too much for them because suddenly there was a "glitch" with the car.

So now I am tooling around in a Ford F150 with four-wheel drive. So much for my carbon footprint being tiny.


  1. I'm pretty sure there's a free upgrade exception to the carbon footprint thing--it's in the fine print.

  2. Anonymous9:19 AM

    It sounds like you were in the office.

    I know a guy who used to work for Budget and another guy who used to work for a chevy dealership and yes, everything that has to do with cars is sleazy right down to Nascar dads.

  3. Anonymous2:31 AM

    Scary in very monotonous sort of way. I knew a guy who worked for Enterprise and wanted to slit his own wrists because of it. Do you have pics of your monster truck?