Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Renting A Car - A Study In Complexity

On a recent family trip to Massachusetts for a wedding, I had the real pleasure of renting a car at the airport. If there is a more complicated transaction on the planet, I am unaware of it. Two people in line at a fast food restaurant can constitute a minute or two wait, two people in line at a car rental company means you better hit the restroom, because you are going nowhere fast.

When I finally was called to the counter by the helpful and eager employee, he asked for my name. “David Meyer,” I said, and then I spelled it, “M-E-Y-E-R.” I did this because it forty-one years, no one has spelled it correctly the first time – being it is so complicated I guess. The most common mistakes are adding and “s” or forgetting an “e”.

Anyone that possesses basic math skills understands there are ten letters in David Meyer. Why is it then that the agent appears to have to program each letter individually starting from the original Sanskrit in order to find my reservation? To replicate this, randomly punch keys on your keyboard for five seconds as quickly as possible. There, you just entered, “M.”

After this, you begin the delightful insurance up-sell. You can be insured for: collision, body damage, body fluid, sexting while driving and anthrax. Wish to decline the coverage? Not a problem, just finish that steak dinner while the agent keys that in.

By this time, my wife has finished her Christmas shopping and we see the bride and groom – they have returned from their honeymoon.

After I sign and initial in enough places that the agent has placed a box of pens on the counter, we have to wind our way to the second rental counter – which is somewhere in North Dakota. Here I get to examine a car in a darkened garage for scratches. Unless the previous renter was involved in a game of hide the drive train with a locomotive, it looks just fine with me – declined insurance be damned. By this time, I would be happy to rent the family truckster from the movie Vacation if it means I can get on the road before we have to catch our return flight.

When we finally load up, I need to turn on the headlights. This means that I have to turn on the windshield wipers, air conditioning, open the sun roof, and engage the hydraulics – everything before I find the correct switch.

This is also about the time that I tell my wife that if we would have driven our own car, we would already be in the hotel. Back at the rental counter, the agent just filed a claim for carpel tunnel.


chris whitney said...

A great travel piece Dave. We usual, I love the humour.

Dave Meyer said...

Chris, one of those things that is funnier after the fact.