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We’re Downgrading Ourselves To Former Customers

, , , , | Working | January 6, 2022

I’m on business and arrive at the airport, quickly finding the car rental booth.

Sales Guy: “Good news! We have upgraded your car.”

Me: “No, thanks.”

Sales Guy: “Sorry? It’s a free upgrade.”

Me: “No, I understand, but I would prefer the car I booked.”

Sales Guy: “Oh, I’m not sure how to un-upgrade you. Are you sure you won’t take the better car?”

Me: “Really sure. Last time, you upgraded me to some oversized four-by-four — completely inappropriate for the roads I will be driving.”

The sales guy starts acting like it’s my fault.

Sales Guy: “Well, I will need to call my manager.”

Me: “Okay.”

I can see him on the phone, making big arm gestures, clearly not happy. But I don’t care; I booked a specific car for a specific reason. Driving a massive car around rural single-lane roads and tight bends won’t work without losing paint. He eventually comes back.

Sales Guy: “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any of the cars you booked — hence the upgrade.”

Me: “Okay, well, I’ll talk to my company, but I think you will need to refund me.”

Sales Guy: “No refunds unless there’s three days’ notice.”

Me: “You failed to provide me the item I ordered; you are breaching your own conditions by not providing a suitable alternative vehicle. Like I say, I will talk to my company, but their external legal team will certainly be in touch if your company wants to be difficult.”

I get on the phone with my company. It’s not the first time they have had this complaint. The rental company offers cheap cars that they don’t have, so they can advertise cheap prices and hope most people go for a bigger vehicle. My company gives me the go-ahead to find any other similar car from any other rental company. By the time I get off the phone, the sales guy is coming back to the desk.

Sales Guy: *Smugly* “I spoke to my manager and they said they can offer an extra free day hire if you take the upgrade.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s no benefit to me whatsoever. I’ll take the refund now, please.”

Sales Guy: “I can’t override the deductions.”

Me: “That’s fine. My company is a legal firm; you can bet they will get it back.”

I managed to find a car that was actually more suitable and still struggled on some of the roads. I’m told that we got a full refund, an apology, and a new hire company.

This was at a time when we had twenty-plus guys going out every week and using hire cars. Then, when the lease contracts were renewed, they lost those, too.

Sometimes treating the little customers well pays back in dividends.

Is Your Brain Mid-Sized?

, , , , , , | Working | December 22, 2021

Our daughters moved out in 2017 to share an apartment together. My husband and I helped as much as we could, including renting a truck for all their stuff. Because they had several large pieces of furniture, we selected a mid-size truck.

On moving day, we headed over to the place from which we’d rented the truck. It turned out to be a tiny convenience store, which seemed a bit odd, but whatever. I found my confirmation email and gave the clerk all of my information. He looked a bit confused and then he led us outside and pointed to a very small truck.

Clerk: “You can have that one.”

Husband: “Um, no, we rented a mid-size.”

Clerk: “We don’t have any mid-sizes left. We only have that small one.”

Me: “What about that mid-size over there?”

The clerk spoke slowly, as if to a not-bright person.

Clerk: “You can’t have that one. It’s already been rented to someone else.”

At that point, I was starting to get very upset. There was no way we’d be able to fit some of the larger pieces of furniture into the small truck.

Husband: “This isn’t right. We rented a mid-size. We’re at the right place on the right date; I checked. Why don’t you have one?”

Clerk: “We only have one mid-size, and it’s already rented to—” *checks his system* “—[Badly Mispronounced Version Of My Name].”

Me: “That’s me!

Clerk: “No, you said your name was— Oh.”

We finally got the truck we’d rented. The rest of the day was extremely stressful, and we were so glad when it was over!

Ah, The Confusing American System Of Setting A Price And Then Charging That Price

, , , | Right | CREDIT: HenriquesDumbCousin | December 18, 2021

I work for a car rental company as a specialist. Basically, when a customer demands a supervisor I take the call.

Caller: “Hey, so I just made a reservation at [Hotel] and I liked the rate.”

The rate is around $200.

Caller: “But then I realized that I made the reservation wrong. I selected both pick up and drop off at the hotel, but I need to return the vehicle at the airport. When I tried to fix my mistake, the rate of the reservation increased! What’s up with that?”

Me: “I do apologize for that, sir. Most of the time round trips are cheaper when compared to one-way rentals.”

Caller: “But the hotel and the airport are very close!”

Me: “If that’s the case, in order to avoid any issues, I’d strongly recommend you return the vehicle at the hotel and take a taxi to the airport.

Caller: “No, no, you don’t understand, I don’t want to return the vehicle at the hotel, I want to drop it at the airport.”

Me: “Then I’m truly sorry, sir, but there’s nothing I can do.”

Caller: “But it’s like a one-way rental, I mean, I’m dropping the vehicle in the same city.”

Me: “But you’re dropping it in a different location.”

Caller: “There has to be something you can do for me.”

Me: “My hands are tied, sir. That’s the best rate we have for you. If you don’t like that rate I’d strongly recommend you shop around.”

Awkward silence.

Caller: “What… what did you just say to me?”

Me: “Um… you’re welcome to shop around? I mean, you may find a better rate with another company.”

Caller: “Are you even allowed to say that?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Caller: “I need to speak with a higher-up; who do you answer to?”

Me: “I can’t share that person’s information and he doesn’t take any calls. Sir, I’m sorry, but this is the best rate we can offer. If you don’t like it we won’t force you to pay for it; this is America after all.”

Caller: “This is America”? So now you’re mocking me. Do you think I wouldn’t know that? Of course I can go with another company! Do you think I haven’t thought about that? Let me tell you, I own several businesses, and if you were one of my employees…”

I am now totally done with this guy, so I say:

Me: “Not impressive.”


Rates are not up to the agent. Don’t like the rate, you’re more than welcome to shop around, and if you don’t find anything better, we’ll be here for you.

Vorsprung Duh Technik

, , , , , | Right | December 9, 2021

I arrive at the rental car counter and get in line. A young woman is at the counter, sighing and rolling her eyes.

Customer: “You don’t understand. My car is at the Audi dealership being repaired. Audi gave me $45 each day for a rental car. Why don’t you have any Audis for me?”

Agent: “As I have explained, all SUVs and higher-end cars are much more than $45 per day, so unless you can make up the difference, I don’t have anything for you.”

Customer: “You don’t understand. I drive an Audi Q8. I only ever drive SUVs. They gave me this money to use, and now you won’t give me an SUV?”

They go back and forth like this for several minutes. The woman keeps explaining how she is only accustomed to higher-end SUVs and constantly name-dropping the make of her SUV as if we would be impressed, but she refuses to pay the difference in the paltry sum the dealership gave her.

When she finally leaves with a dismissive “Fine! Ugh!”, I walk up to the counter.

Me: “You know they only gave her money for an Uber, right?”

Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4

, , , | Right | November 17, 2021

I am preparing to return a rental car at the airport. It’s the type that you have to queue to check in and there’s no dropoff. I’ve been standing in the exact same spot for about half an hour. A lady comes in and says out loud:

Customer: “I’m not standing in line.”

She then sits on a couch off to the side. Fine.

My turn is up next, and the lady says:

Customer: “Excuse me, I was ahead of you. I came in first.”

Me: “You didn’t. I’ve literally been standing in the same spot for forty-five minutes.”

I suspect that because I’m sort of brown (half-Filipino) she thought my English would be subpar, because she seemed surprised when I started speaking in my fluent American English.

Customer: “You weren’t there when I came in.”

I turn to the people in front of me with whom I made polite conversation when I first arrived.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’ve got a funny question: I was here right after you, wasn’t I?”

They confirm it. She sits down with a harumph, saying:

Customer: “I don’t think that’s very funny.”

Then, she got up five minutes later and literally tried to skip over the entire line to get her car, but the man at the desk wasn’t having it, saying, “Let me help this gentleman first,” while pointing at me.

Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
Not Even In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
Not Even In Line And Out Of Line