When There Is No Fine Print: Adventures in Car Rentals

On Saturday, I was slated to leave Tennessee at around 1 p.m. to drive to Florida so I can visit my parents before I head back to California. The plan was to go to the airport, pick up the rental car, drive the car to Florida, and then return the rental car to the airport in Florida the next day.

Reader, that is not what happened.

First, we were a little late to the airport because my friend had to pick up the grocery order. That part was fine except that she forgot some of the groceries in the car, which meant my daughter and I were out of some of our road snacks. This was not entirely my friend’s fault because it wasn’t until we were almost to the airport that I realized I had forgotten the fruit. So that was sad, but you know. Easy enough to deal with.

Then, once I got to the airport I discovered that they wouldn’t rent me the car.

As I have mentioned before, I am committed to getting out of debt. Part of that commitment means that I cut up my credit card over a year ago and have gone cash/debit only. Now, on the rental car company’s website it says that they take debit cards. The website even says to double check that the location you are using takes debit cards. So I double checked, and the location does indeed take debit cards. Yet, NOWHERE on the ENTIRE SITE does it say that you cannot use a debit card for the security hold thing if you’re going airport to airport UNLESS you are scheduled on a flight FROM the airport you are returning the car to. And I know it doesn’t because I read through the fine print AND double checked the debit card policy.

So obviously I didn’t find that out until I got to the actual counter of the rental car company.

The explanation seems to be two-fold. One: it’s some kind of airport policy. Two: Because they have to put an additional hold on the debit card, I guess they don’t want to because it’s a financial thing. Which…okay, I planned for the latter and also THE FORMER SHOULD BE PLAINLY STATED ON THE CAR AGENCY WEBSITE. I mean, honestly, it’s not that hard.

Anyway, the guy at the counter told me that he thought maybe one car rental agency or perhaps another might let me rent using a debit car. I knew the one car rental agency wouldn’t–but only because they were out of cars since they were my first choice anyway. The other one–Thrifty–I had never used before so I went and stood in line for the very nice agent to tell me that, yes, I could rent using my debit card, but I could only go to Georgia, not Florida.

HAHAHAHAHA OF COURSE.

I thanked her for her time, went to find my friend, and told her what was up. She decided we go get some food and then brainstorm some solutions, which was a great idea because I was starving and all I could think was that my parents were going to have to drive to Tennessee to come get me.

After eating (and consulting with my mom and friend), I decided to rent the car to Georgia, and my parents said they would drive up there to get us. There were two options for airports, so I chose the one further south, which meant I had to drive for about six hours so my parents could drive three hours to meet us and then drive the three hours back.

Now, the original car I requested was a Toyota Corolla (or similar). What I got was Dodge Ram pick up truck with a quad cab because that was literally all that was left. It was HUGE, but also a delight to drive. For one thing, I love sitting up high when I drive, and also it was just a smooth ride.

The point is that eventually we made it, but, man, what a deviation from the plan. I couldn’t do anything I planned to do on the drive (call into my book club meeting, mostly, but also call my friend) because I had to completely focus on driving that ginormous truck. I only swerved a few times, but it was about one time too many for my daughter who admonished me to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

(The truck was SO NICE. It only had 735 miles on it, which means it was basically brand new. SO GREAT.)

it's me, standing in front of a truck!
Me, with the actual truck. You can’t tell but I’m giving a thumbs up.

So, yes, we made it. But when I dropped off the rental car in Georgia, there was a couple at the counter in front of me going through the exact same thing. No credit card, debit card only, needed to get to Virginia, but Virginia was out of the rental car agency’s service area. I have no idea what happened with them, but what a nightmare all around.

These rental car companies really need to make these policies clear. There’s literally no excuse–especially if it’s a known issue.

It’s Wednesday & I have an ashy eye

Okay, I’m going to get into the ashy eye story in a minute, but also I just want you to know that I got a COVID test after flying across the country, and it is negative. So…whew.

But, yes, I have an ashy eye.

So I discovered this ashy eye issue the day I was packing/prepping to fly across the country. My eye had been bothering me since Thursday. It kept watering for no reason, which honestly happens to me quite a bit, but I thought it was just allergies. You know, a fire was raging, and debris was flying through the air, so it seemed logical. But that night I couldn’t sleep with my eye mask on because it felt like something was stabbing me in the eye.

Then, on Friday, my eye was still bothering me. It was still with the leaking and all, but I could smell smoke in my house, so, again, I just banked on allergies. Also, my daughter told me I looked like I had gotten punched in the eye because my eye was swollen. “Yes,” I told her. “It’s the allergies.”

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It’s Monday & This Post Is a List #IMWAYR

I think I have too many books to read. No, I know I have too many books to read. And by read, I mean have finished by a deadline because I am in two book clubs and also clearly hate myself. I mean, obviously, I want to be in these book clubs and want to be reading the books but also, like, why do I do these things? I do not know.

Anyway, since my last post, I did some stuff:

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It’s Monday & My Birthday Is Friday

So I made a wishlist: 2020 Birthday Wish List.

Also, I am having a hard time remembering what I did this past week. Oh, I know why. It’s because I spent the first part of the week prepping my summer course and the rest of the week recuperating. I also participated in a virtual coffee date through the #RaiseThePercentage incentive and had a fun phone conversation and then a work date with a friend of mine. Oh and fun (unexpected) conversations with other friends! So that was nice.

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2020 Birthday Wish List

My birthday is in a week and a half so here is some stuff what I want!

ETA: Someone asked how you could know if someone bought me this stuff, and I guess you can’t, but friends, you could also just get me gift cards to the stores and I will buy the thing myself! Every little bit helps!

1. A NEW DESK

Okay, I desperately need a new desk to improve my work from home situation. My current desk was fine when I only used it occasionally, but it is too shallow to comfortably get any work done now, especially since my new monitor winds up being too close to my face. I need this monitor to be further back and I need more surface space for putting books and/or papers.

Something like this perhaps? Maybe this one? Or this one? Basically, I like the clean lines and that it looks kind of invisible and the LEVELS. But I am also open to other suggestions! Because your girl also really needs storage that is largely invisible.

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It’s Monday & I’ve Forgotten How to Teach #IMWAYR

No joke. I submitted grades on Saturday for the end of our spring semester. I was doing prep for my summer class that starts Wednesday, and I could not figure out what I had done in the class before. Or what I was planning to do. What are assignments? How does one organize a class? Part of it is that I’m teaching the class online for the first time. But the other part was that my brain was seriously just like, “I don’t know, man. You tell me.”

I said to my daughter OUT LOUD, “I am a terrible teacher who doesn’t know how to teach.”

f-this-im-making-meth

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It’s Tuesday & I Fell Asleep Before I Wrote My Post Yesterday

I fell asleep then talked to one friend and then another friend and then my mother and then another friend. And that was all after going to a #BlackLivesMatter memorial protest and Target. So what I’m saying is yesterday (okay, technically, it’s still today since I’m still awake from after my nap) was a lot. But it was, all in all, a good day. Just exhausting.

I wrote some posts this past week:

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Y is for You #AtoZChallenge

You, meaning all my friends and readers.

Listen, this pandemic sucks. The worst part is that people are actually dying, which is why we’re in self-isolation in the first place. It’s sometimes easy for me to lose sight of that when I’m sitting in my air-conditioned apartment, sad because I’m limited in my movements. (I mean, it goes deeper than that, of course, but you get what I’m saying here.)

But here’s the thing, and you know it’s coming:

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U is for Uncertainty #AtoZChallenge

Okay, so I actually 100% hate uncertainty. It is probably one of my least favorite things ever, and this stupid pandemic is full of uncertainty. We don’t know exactly when it’s going to end. We don’t know exactly how it’s spread. We don’t know exactly how long it incubates. We don’t know anything! It sucks!

uncertain
I don’t watch Rick and Morty but perfect pic is perfect (source)

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O is for Obligations #AtoZChallenge

I’m glad I still have things to do.

My biggest obligation right now is, of course, my job, which will get its own letter. But besides actual teaching, I’m actually a little grateful for the meetings. Go figure.

See, the thing is that meetings and scheduled calls give my day some structure. And sometimes, they force me to get out of bed when I may be more inclined to just…not. In the Before, I always had places to be or people to hang out with and the loss of structure hasn’t been great for me. I often spend my days wondering what exactly I did all day–and that’s even when I do have work. Like, I know I did things, but I often used my calendar to SEE what I did and have a record of that. With nowhere to physically go, I don’t have times to physically be places, so I don’t have activities on my calendar and therefore don’t know what’s happened in my day.

Continue reading “O is for Obligations #AtoZChallenge”