The Rental Car
My husband called me last night to tell me how his trip to Seattle was going. He just arrived there in the late afternoon. He was pretty proud of himself before he left because he had used Hilton points for a free stay at his hotel for a week and Hertz points for a free rental car. I should put “free” in quotes here. When he called, he seemed quite indignant about something.
“Facility fee!” he said.
“Facility fee?’ I said. I am used to him having facility fees because he is a pilot and you have to pay a certain amount of money for an FBO to keep your plane overnight. They also like you to buy fuel. The thing is, my husband didn’t fly his plane to Seattle – it was too far and he would be too exhausted to function at his conference, where he has to speak.
“Facility fee!” he said again. “They charged me a damn facility fee for my “free” rental car!’
“What is a facility fee?” I asked him.
“They are charging me to house the car until I pick it up,” he said, highly indignant. “They are charging a thirty dollar facility fee. I’ve rented a car for a whole day before for less than thirty dollars!”
“I thought that thing was supposed to be free,” I said.
“SO DID I!”, he said. “And not only that…”
“What else?” I asked him.
“When you use points you are supposed to get a free upgrade to a premium car.”
“OK, so, did you get one?”
“Oh, yes, I was very excited about the upgrade. The lady asked me if I wanted a premium car and I told her DEFINITELY.”
“So what did you get?” I asked.
“A NISSAN MAXIMA,” he said. “That’s what’s going for a premium car these days. A Nissan Maxima. Here I was all excited; I thought, maybe I’ll get a Cadillac or an SUV or something. When I was heading to my parking space to pick up my car I saw a Mustang right there, and I thought, wow, perfect, I would love it if I got a Mustang. But no, that was the car in the space ACROSS from my car. I got a Nissan Maxima and it had scratches all over the back. And it smells like someone’s been smoking in it. And it doesn’t even have XM radio. Most rentals I get at least have that. All I can say is, there must be several levels above premium these days, because this sure wasn’t it.”
“Premium is the new forty,” I said. He laughed.
“Not only that, but I blew up my GPS.”
“Whaaaat,” I said. “How did you do that?”
“I tried to set it for my destination while I was still in the parking garage. It went crazy trying to triangulate three satillites that it couldn’t pick up. It finally gave up and put me at my last location: home. Then it told me I had two thousand three hundred miles to my destination and started giving me directions out of our neighborhood.”
“So what did you do about the car?” I said.
“Well, I decided not to complain. It seemed like a lot to complain about for a free car. I did tell her I was furious over the facility fee. And I told her I was shocked that a Maxima was a premium car. She agreed about the car. Then I drove twenty miles to my hotel.”
“Well, get some rest,” I said. “You’ve got some mingling to do tomorrow.”
“Good night,” he said. “I’m still pissed about the car.”