Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How do they come up with this?

I am in the States. Visiting my sister who lives in Orlando. She has eight children. Do these short sentences make the text seem like a school report? Ok then, I will make them longer.

As a tourist one of the things I dislike are car rentals. The endless list of things they try to push on you is highly annoying when you just want the keys to the stupid car so you can get the hell out of their sparsely furnished offices. When me and my husband went to NYC for Christmas shopping we rented a car, something that was categorized as a premium model. My husband, tired of having been coerced into upgrading the past one hundred times we have rented a car, had decided that this time he would stick to the model he selected while reserving. When we got to the car rental office, tired and in a post-airplane mode, the salesman began the spiel about the upgrades he could offer, the gas package so we could return the car empty (as if that was possible) and the extra insurance we so badly needed in his company’s opinion.

At one point the guy offered us something he called an illness protection plan (I am not making this up). We did not bite so I never saw what that was all about but would not have been surprised if the guy had handed us two of those white masks you sometime see people from Hong Kong wearing on the street. But my husband dug his heels in and refused – no upgrade, no gas package, no extra insurance no illness protection. Just give us the keys please. Oh… and a GPS and an Easy Pass thing.

Finally we were shown the four cars we could select from – the so called premium range. The lot was full to the brim with cars, all better looking than the premium scrap heaps. These looked like the plane we arrived in had passed the speed of light and we had been transported back in time. To the seventies. They were even that light blue color that hasn‘t been seen on vehicles since. But my husband refused to budge. To give him credit he did ask if we could get a downgrade, we would be willing to take any other cheaper car for the price of a premium. Just not the premium. But the salesman said that was against policy and not allowed. So we ended up in a light blue monstrosity that reminded me in some way of a yellow cab. Probably in the way that it sort of almost came apart when going over bumps in the road. When I mentioned this to my husband he said that it was no wonder I felt this way, the car was a Ford Crown Victoria, the same as the yellow cabs. Just light blue.

Anyway. To get back at the stupid car rental we decided to use the Easy Pass a lot. A lot a lot. You only pay a fixed fee per day so the plan was to surpass that amount “somewhat” so that we would feel better about them not wanting to downgrade us. My husband googled the most expensive bridge we could cross and we decided to make some trips over it, since it was more important to get even than to do what we came to do – enjoy ourselves and shop.
Guess what. The most expensive bridge was the George Washington Bridge. The one that rotten politician decided to partially shut down while we were there in some dirty scheme that I have not yet understood what was to accomplish. We ended up spending three hours on the Cross Bronx Expressway, making our way to the bridge, incrementally – measured in inches. Next to us was a school bus full of small children that suffered the same fate. Wait, wait, wait and wait.

So our revenge backfired. Badly. We ended up averaging less per day for the Easy Pass than they charged us. But we did get some of our own back. We bought a GPS. Never will a car-rental charge us as much per day for an investment of a hundred or so bucks (the navigation systems) as they do for the car – which in the case of the disguised taxi cab was probably not a lot higher.

I just read an article on the top ten things not to buy as they are becoming obsolete. Number three was a GSP. Can’t win.

Yrsa - Wednesday

1 comment:

  1. Finally, I have a moment to escape to enjoy the sanity of how only you can tell a story. Well, let's say you're my kind of sanity. I agree with you that blue rental cars are an absolute No-No, They are the true life embodiment of Stephen King's "Christine."

    I once rented one in Florida with friends and EVERY time we got into the car it rained. And as soon as we stopped the rain stopped. I suggested we drive the car to drought plagued areas and make a fortune. They preferred to shop. I'm sure you can relate:)

    Those same friends own some of the best restaurants in NYC so the next time you're in town let me know and we'll have dinner at one of their places to verify the tale!

    And yes, GPS are all in your smartphone these days...but the software costs almost as much as the separate device.