Saturday, 20 August 2011

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The Most Interesting Car Rental in the World

A couple of months ago I posted about car rental codes, and specifically about a discount code that I wasn't sure I'd be able to use.  At that time I was looking for a rental in Orlando, and I didn't end up using the code as I found something else.  Of course a couple of weeks later, I needed a rental in California, and nothing was even coming close.

Sometimes you just gotta take a shot, but that doesn't mean they have to make it easy for you.

We'd made the decision that if we were turned away at the rental counter we'd just take a cab to our hotel for the first week and deal with a back-up plan from there.  While it would be a great convenience, a van wasn't a necessity for us during the first week.

When we came off the plane, there was a huge line for the rental place.  I tried using the machine but as expected I got the "Your rate is ineligible for kiosk use.  Please see attendant" message.  So I got in the back of a long line, hoping that at least the huge number of people renting would have the counter guys just trying to get people through as fast as they could.  

Of course, for the first time ever, tons of new counter people showed up to help everybody who was waiting, and the line started moving really fast.  This never happens to me when I'm actually in a hurry.  To make matters worse, there was nobody new getting in line behind me.  When it came my turn to rent, I was the only person left to help.  Great.

I gave over my license and credit card to the gentleman at the counter, who began pressing keys.  It took a minute or two and then it came.  The Look.  His head went back a couple of inches, eyes widened a little, and a "What the..." came out from under his breath.  I wanted to lean around and look at the monitor, but I was afraid I'd see something like "Call Airport Security Immediately!" stamped across the screen.  I waited patiently.

The gentleman resumed pressing keys, and then leaned over to the guy next to him and asked "Do you know what we do with this code?"  He shook his head and my guy went back to pressing keys.  It occurred to me that if nobody ever had this code come in, that maybe it was for a very specific situation.  Perhaps I had stumbled upon the Dos Equis code for the most interesting man in the world.  I stood a little taller, tried to look mysterious, and considered whether or not I could pull off the accent I might need to qualify for this rate.

Then something clicked.  Papers started printing and a huge smile came over the face of the gentleman who was helping me.  He began to explain the rate to me and what it included, then folded some papers, gave them to me and asked if I had any questions (Oh so many, but the correct answer here seemed to be no.)  I thanked him and headed out to find our van.

I felt a little bad using a rate that I'm not sure I was eligible for, but I justified it to myself by noting that I wouldn't have rented a vehicle at all for their original quote.  They got a decent amount of money out of me, and I got the van that I needed.  I have decided though, that it couldn't have been a Dos Equis code.  There's no way that the most interesting man in the world would be booking a minivan.