Monday, July 23, 2007

Our traveling day on Saturday went pretty smoothly. By the time we landed in Vermont, the only hitch we had encountered was a 45 minute delay at JFK airport in New York where they forced us to sit on the tarmack for 45 minutes while our plane waited for for its turn to take off. Apparently this delay is routine enough that they just build an extra 45 minutes into your itinerary schedule, so we still arrived in Vermont on time. It's convenient that the airlines know that they're incompetent when they compute your flight arrival times.

Once we got to the transportation hub and mecca that is Burlington, Vermont, Hank went to go pick up our reserved rental car. However, the clerk at Hertz informed us that they were out of cars. I glared at the clerk and was reminded of the Seinfeld episode where the same thing had happened to him despite the fact that he had a reservation. He famously quipped, "Anyone can take a reservation. It's the holding of the reservation that's the important part."

I refrained from quoting Seinfeld or making the excellent arms-windmilling gesture that went along with it. The clerk suggested that perhaps we could rent a car from another agency, but because the Burlington airport closes down each evening when the maple tap runs dry, there were no other rental car desks open. So, we decided to take a cab into town and get some dinner while Hertz waited for "our car" to be returned by the previous renter.

Two hours later, they still had no car for us. This was a big drag because we were due to drive to Hank's mom's house which was an hour away, over the river and through the woods. By this point, the other rental car companies had found their backup stash of maple syrup and had reopened their desk, so the Hertz manager went to procure us a car from another agency.

The clerk then confided to us that they'd had a steady stream of angry customers all day (which is amazing, because it means that they overbooked BY A LOT). The clerk smiled and said that we were the nicest customers they'd had.

What? I'm glaring and I'm the NICEST customer?

That kind of put things into perspective. Maybe the clerk was having a worse day that I was. That took a bit of the wind out of my anger-fueled sails.

45 minutes later, the manager had found us a car. He sheepishly explained that this car was more expensive than the cheap-ass one we had rented, so would we mind returning it the next day so that they could give us the cheaper one? We assured him that we did indeed mind, but if he wanted to drive out to Vermont boonies on his dime, and exchange our semi-crappy car for the crappy car we requested, he'd be welcome to do that.

So far, he hasn't showed up. So, the fabulous luxury of the Ford Taurus is all ours for now. Lucky us.


newnorth said...

after all that he still asked you to trade the car out for the one you were supposed to get... WOW!

Mike said...

Indeed! Had I not still been basking in the glow of being Nicest Customer, I would have spun my wheels for several seconds trying to make him feel bad for that. Afterwards, walking away, I would have then thought of the perfect retort.

carey said...

Oooh, a Ford Taurus. That's hot. What, no Yugos on the lot?

The 4th Sister said...

a ford taurus what a POS..I rented one in 88...I still remember has only a few hundred miles on it,,,really brand new...I slammed the drivers door and the whole door pannel fell off...I threw it in the remained there for my whole trip! I have never driven one since,,,

Mike said...

Carey, no kidding. And the manager claimed that the Taurus would normally cost $700 for the 8 days that we'll be here.

4th sister, I'll close the doors carefully.

David said...

^Wow. Around these parts, you can buy 3/4 of a car for that amount of money.

Mike said...

David, I'll sell this Taurus to you for $999.