So a couple of weeks ago my car was rear-ended getting onto the Baltimore beltway and now it's in the shop getting fixed until they feel like giving it back to me. Car repair guys: the frenemies you love to hate. But that's another post. This post is all about getting a rental car to tide you over until your real car is fixed. My insurance pays a pittance daily for me to rent a car from Enterprise Car Rental, a company that has apparently figured out, brilliantly I might add, how to run a business that not only generates easy income, but also gets it's customers to perform the work that any other business' actual employees would be expected to do. To wit: I got the car that was deemed covered under my pittance of a rental allowance and, no surprises here, it was a run-down, tiny, kinda scuzzy (lots of old spills of what I don't want to know staining all the upholstery and black spots of unknown origin or identity on the ceiling [black mold is a strong contender]), make that VERY scuzzy Hyundai Accent. With fucking CRANK windows and manual door locks. Really, Enterprise? Really?
So anyway, I picked it up and drove off the lot already feeling the beginnings of a headache induced by the atomically powerful odor of whatever industrial cleaning agent they used to expunge Lord knows what from the interior of this car. So basically I'm driving around in a hoopdee that smells 24/7 like the inside of a gas station restroom. YAY! I'm already planning how I'm going to call the repair garage hourly with escalating outrage that my CAR ISN'T READY YET, when I turn on the windshield washer to get some shit off the windshield only to find that the passenger side wiper blade is literally hanging off the frame in shreds. What the FUCK!? So now I've got those incredibly ANNOYING streaks that come from a wiper blade that isn't quite making total contact with the glass and the weather man is calling for storms. I'm in a pickle, aren't I? I figure I'll head home and deal with it tomorrow because by now my head is thrumming and I can't feel my nose.
So, brand new day I call Enterprise and in my best, most polite professional voice explain my windshield wiper dilemma and ask what should be done? I'm told to bring it in the NEXT day at 4:00 PM (apparently the only people that hold jobs are the desk jockeys at fucking Enterprise Car Rental but I need my wiper blade replaced so...) and they'll be sure to get it fixed right up. Praying it doesn't rain I plan MY schedule around Enterprise's bewildering timetable because, well, I have to.
Next day, at the appointed time, I drive the little rattletrap onto the Enterprise lot and head on into the waiting room. Nobody is apparently all that busy but I still wait a good five minutes for someone to acknowledge my presence. When they do it's as if I just then walked in because I get a cheerful, bright:
"Well, hello there! Welcome to Enterprise, how can I help you?"
Uh, OK. I explain that I had called ahead and that I'm the one driving the "car" with a shredded wiper blade. Here's what went down:
"OK, well I can switch you out to another vehicle or you can drive down the street to the Firestone place just past the next traffic light and get them to install a new wiper blade."
"Excuse me but the car's right out front; can't you just install a new blade here?"
Now she's getting a little annoyed with my lack of understanding of just how much (or how little) Enterprise actually does to keep it's vehicle fleet in good repair. Listening to her I'm starting to worry about other things...like the brakes.
"Oh, no, no, no, we don't actually SERVICE the cars here. That's done somewhere else. So do you want to swap out to another car or just drive on down the street?"
"Well, if I take another car will I be charged for getting the gas tank from one half to three quarters full which is where it was when I picked the car up?" As I ask this I'm looking at the little white board whose numbers are clearly updated with an erasable pen daily on just what that gas will cost me per gallon, Enterprise-style. I see that today's special price is posted at $5.25 a gallon. I just drove past at least three gas stations posting prices around $3.45 a gallon. Oh, Enterprise, you silly goofballs! You can take your fucking gas prices and go fuck yourselves.
"Oh, yeah. You'd be charged the gas for getting it back to where it was." This followed by a tight, "customer service is SO annoying", smile.
"So just to be clear: my two choices are either I get another car and pay the gas cost, which I see is $5.25 a gallon, or I drive it myself down the street and get the wiper blades replaced?"
"That's correct; of course we'll pay Firestone for the wiper blades."
"I see...well then I guess I'm driving down to Firestone."
She walked away from the counter, made a 30 second phone call to someone at Firestone and told me I could just go ahead down there.
Out I went, back to the rank, scuzzy hoopdee, and drove it, on MY TIME, down to the Firestone station where they replaced the wiper blades and sent me on my way. Thanks Enterprise Car Rental for letting ME help YOU do your fucking JOB because everyone knows just how critical that job is and that, in comparison to the criticality of your job, just how insignificant MY PERSONAL TIME is. Yeah, thanks for that.
So there you have it. I don't remember putting in the application. I don't remember ever being interviewed by anyone but apparently I am now a low-level, car-shuttling jackass who works FOR FREE for Enterprise Car Rental. Folks, it don't get any better than that.