This week, I needed to rent a car for a work assignment Thursday, to return Friday night. This trip was about 640 miles; mostly interstate. I live about 5 miles from the airport, so I looked there for a rental. Thrifty had a good rate on compact sized cars - about $17/day, or $50 for the 2 days after taxes. I reserved one on line.
I got to the rental office and parked in a spot labeled “Customer Parking”. I went in and start the rental paperwork. We are almost done, and the guy started telling me about the rental vehicle - it’s a Dodge Caliber, with manual doors and locks. I was surprised. I’ve never had a stripped-down rental before. I went out to look at the car. It also has no cargo cover, and no cruise control. That wouldn’t be too pleasant for the six hours each way on the interstate!
I went back into the office and asked what they had that has cruise. He told me they had the Dodge Avenger, classified as midsize, but that’s $80 for the 2 days. I told him I’ve handed in my voucher at work, and to increase the amount would be a huge problem. No reaction from him. I went back out and noted they have PT Cruisers on the lot with cruise. I went back in and asked about that. Sorry, that’s also midsize. WTF? What makes that midsize? It’s the exact same size as the Caliber. He told me it’s a midsize because it has - wait for it- satellite radio!
Finally, I gave up and took the Caliber. I did ask if it’s all right to leave my car parked in the customer spot (they have 10 of them, and all except the one with my car were empty). He said no - I have to go park in Long Term Parking because leaving my car there is “a liability”. :eek: Long Term Parking is across the streeet, but the entrance is a few blocks away. I went to park there, and the shuttle picked me up. I asked the shuttle driver to drop me off at the Thrifty lot. She said no - can’t do that - but she could take me to the terminal so I can take the Thrifty bus back. So I’ve parked 80 feet from Thrifty (with a fence between the two) and would have to go 3 miles or so to get back. I just have her drop me off at the parking entrance and walk the 3 blocks back.
I know I’m gonna sound pretty old here, but I’ve never owned a car with cruise control in my whole life, my current vehicle is the first one I’ve ever had with central locking, and I’ve managed to drive the whole fucking way across the country in such poorly-equipped vehicles without missing these features.
Anyway, now you know why the rate was $17 a day, which I think was a pretty good deal, regardless of how the Caliber may have been equipped.
Sorry, I’d like to be more sympathetic, but rental agencies are not obligated to provide power door locks and/or cruise on all their cars, they can (and usually do) arbitrarily define vehicles sizes however they want, airport rental sites usually do not have long-term customer parking on the premises (you do understand that nearly all the customers arrive by air, without their cars, right?) and your beef concerning the long-term parking shuttle is with the airport authority, not with Thrifty. Other than that, I’m right with ya.
Next time, try Dollar. Just about every time I rent from them, they seem to upgrade me whether I ask or not. Or Enterprise: I hear tell they pick you up.
Enterprise was an option, but they are about double the price of everybody else.
Can they be arbitrary if they want? Sure - and I will be equally arbitrary when I go elsewhere next time.
More Trifty goodness: While I was waiting, they finished up with another customer. The staff then complained about his rudeness. That’s a pet peeve of mine. DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT CUSTOMERS IN FRONT OF OTHER CUSTOMERS.
I didn’t want a midsize. I just wanted features that are standard on 99% of cars today and have been in every rental I have gotten in the past.
A car with no cargo cover at an airport where people come in with luggage is just plain stupid.
And, if I had reserved a midsize and they gave me a PT Cruiser, I’d also be pissed. That’s no midsize.
Makes you understand just how tough those drivers were back in the 1970s and before.
I mean think of the work involved in rolling down a window, and then have to roll it back up. It must use, what, 2 Calories? My God, the physical condition you would have to be in to be able to do that amount of work.
In the case of the OP, to have to walk all the way around the car to lock the other side door. The inhumanity of it. Won’t someone think of the children?
Then you have the entire subject of no cruise. To have to push against a spring with upwards of 1 pound of force. What do we look like Are-nold? How can any normal person be expected to exert that level of force for more than just a moment is beyond me.
Granted, I have the stamina of an anorexic squirrel and am about as twitchy, but it’s always surprised me just how physically tiring driving can be, especially on the highway. Twisty country roads where by the time you get up to speed, you’re slowing down again for the next corner, fine. Highway, I wants me some cruise control dammit!
Could I drive for six hours without cruise on? Sure. Would I choose to if I had other options? Hell no.
As far as the rest…it would surprise me to see a new car without those features, but it wouldn’t bother me.
I have to say my sympathy for the OP is limited by the fact that my car has no cruise control and no power locks or windows, and I bought it new in 2006. And even when I did have cruise control, I never used it.