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Surprise! I Pick Door Number Three!

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 11, 2021

A few years ago, I had a rental car reservation in Los Angeles. After I filled out the paperwork, the agent asked:

Agent #1: “Do you want the full insurance or just the basic?”

Communication is more than simply words; body language, tone of voice, and context actually give more information than the literal meaning. It was obvious he was presenting me a binary choice. I wasn’t having it.

Me: “I’ll take the ‘No Insurance’.”

I got the car without further upselling.

As it happened, I was in Boston a few weeks later, this time renting a car from a different company. When I got to the counter, the agent asked the same question, word-for-word, with the same implication that I HAD to take one or the other. Funny how the con magically migrated across the continent AND between companies.

This time, I was prepared.

Me: “Would you like me to complain to corporate or just your manager?”

The agent got a deer in the headlights look and stammered:

Agent #2: “I was just telling you that you have those options.”

Me: “I’m sure. Let me speak to your manager.”

The manager came out but brushed me off when I asked if this was a sales technique he condoned. I wrote to the corporate office but never got a reply. I can’t wait until I have to rent a car again.