It Hertz real bad (Day 115)…

My mother and I are on a mini vacation at the moment, visiting a friend, and we had to rent a car (there was no getting around it, I swear). Unfortunately, my dad made the booking, and despite the fact that my mom said she wanted the smallest car in the lot, there was some miscommunication about whether this meant a compact or a sub-compact (I would’ve requested a hybrid or something from their Green Collection but by this point it was too late and none were available).

To make a long story short, we show up at Hertz, are handed a set of keys and make our way out to discover a ginormous SUV, a Chrysler Pacifica, in white of course. The words “Oh my GOD” came out of our mouths in unison as we gawked at the gas-guzzling monstrosity before us. We practically needed a set of ropes and carabiners to haul ourselves up into the seats, after which we were greeted with that “new car” (read: off-gas) smell. Yuck.

Driving around in this thing, I feel like I’m undoing every single change I’ve made so far. From now on, whenever I have to rent a car in the future, I’m making sure it’s a Prius or, at the very least, it’s as small and efficient as possible.

12 Responses to It Hertz real bad (Day 115)…

  1. I haven’t a clue why rental cars always seem to be so freaking boat like. In LA all you are able to rent is the giant Chrysler Sebring that has a trunk that may be bigger than my apartment. And I am sure you recall the story of my going to Winnipeg for the weekend and requesting the compact and they roll around in a minivan for little me. Somehow we managed to settle on a white (yes… they are always white) Buik LeSabre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_LeSabre) which I think is what police drive. All I know is that for the weekend, I was able to seat myself and three friends comfortably in the front seat with me. And so when I go to LA this summer, I decided that rather than stay for free at a friends house where I will need to rent a car to get to my doctor, I decided to rent a place to stay (costing less than a car for the week) and borrow my old bicycle back as my set oh wheels. Have fun out East!

  2. Green man says:

    Once a car rental company actually gave one of my coworkers a Hummer when they didn’t have the car he reserved. No one ever wanted to rent it so they gave it away as an upgrade all the time. Everyone mocked him relentlessly the whole time he had it. I considered it a good sign when they can’t rent Hummers and the person driving one gets made fun of for having it.

  3. sandy says:

    I once took my car in for service, and I needed a loaner to get to work (they were keeping it for several days) This is what they gave me to drive:

    http://autoreview.belproject.com/item/28

    It was a Mercedes GL. Have you ever seen one of these? It makes a Hummer look petite! It has two (count them) sun roofs. It is huge. Monsterous. I just stood there with my mouth agape. I asked if they had any senior citizens I could shuttle around in my spare time. Maybe I could replace the airport shuttle after hours. Did it come with it’s own refuling tanker like those airplanes that refuel in midflight? Are you kidding me with this?

    The guy looked at me like I was crazy and said, yes, I know, but it’s a Mercedes!

    I decided not to argue with that kind of logic.

    I was razzed the entire time I had it by everybody I knew and given dirty looks by people that didn’t know me because that thought I owned the damn thing! (I live in the cruncy pacific northwest).

    It was so big that I couldn’t even fit it into my garage. I was afraid manic environmentalists were going to spray paint “fur is murder” on the side of it. I’m telling you, it was BIG!

    My next car will be a hybrid, but I intend to drive the one I have until it falls apart. Hey, it’s paid for!

  4. Nevermind that. Let’s get to the important stuff – do you know your blog was mentioned in today’s Washington Post Sunday Source section? I linked to you before the article – honest – I knew you when… 🙂

  5. gettinggreen says:

    Meg, I totally thought of you in that white BOAT from when you were in Winnipeg… so funny, especially ’cause you’re so small!

    I wasn’t sure if I’d be in the WaPo… I answered some questions for Eviana but didn’t know if she’s actually use them or not — thanks for pointing it out, though! I’ll have to go check and make sure I wasn’t misquoted 🙂

  6. activistmommy says:

    I guess that’s a warning to the rest of us to always reserve a specific car before hand. Or else we’ll get stuck with a big gas-guzzler too.

  7. Lori V. says:

    Ooooh, Vanessa… I’ll have to do this when I fly out to Oregon to pick up my birthday Prius! 🙂 Thanks for mentioning the Green Line!

  8. Hellcat13 says:

    From experience, it’s really important to FIGHT with the rental company to get the car you want. I’ve had that same experience. I requested a mid-sized car on a trip to LA with three other people, and when I got there they said they were “upgrading” me to a freaking van. I said, “Thank you very much, but there’s no bloody way I’m driving a van downtown LA. Get me the car I reserved.” After much dilly-dallying on their part, I ended up with a mid-sized luxury car. Generally they have what you want, but only if you’re willing to be a troublesome customer. Otherwise, they’ll try to pass the crap on to you.

  9. Jenny says:

    I found this to be the case as well, Hellcat13. They wanted to “upgrade” us from our economy car to an SUV for free. They claimed they had no cars. After arguing with them for awhile we got a big ol’ Grand Marquis. But at least it was a car. The guy next to us accepted them at face value and was stuck with a giant gas guzzling SUV.

  10. Emma says:

    wait….lemme get this straight….the car was WHITE?!?!??! ewwwwww

  11. Josh Rachlis says:

    What city were you in? There are hybrids you can rent in LA now, and they’ve become more common in just the past year. So that’s a tip for healthycookie who says she’s going to LA. You can get them at Fox Rentals or EV Rentals (they share the same fleet). But be careful. I was traveling to LA with some colleagues in March and got the producer to reserve a hybrid at Fox. They have Priuses, but my producer wanted something bigger. So she reserved the Highlander Hybrid. But when we showed up to pick it up, they were out of the Highlander Hybrids. And they gave us, get this, a Jeep Commander! I was livid. This is a car that you now have to pay a $2000 eco-penalty to buy in Canada. Anyway, we were driving it back to the hotel and I was trying to cover my face, in case Laurie David saw me and said: “Hey, isn’t that the guy who entered his film into the treehugger.com eco-film contest?” and then disqualified me for driving the Earth Destroyer. Anyway, when I got to the hotel I sent off a scathing email to Fox Rentals, cc’ing everyone on the idealbite.com website, from which I’d gotten the Fox Rental recommendation. The subject line of the email was: “The evil, polluting lies of Fox Rentals” or something of that nature. Suffice to say that the next day Fox sent someone to the hotel with our Highlander Hybrid to make the switch. So, yah, a little adventure there. But it worked out in the end. And if anyone has to rent a car and can’t take their bike around or whatever, you should for sure encourage car rental places to keeping stocking hybrids by insisting on getting a green car when renting. And hopefully electric cars will be rentable one day soon.

  12. anon says:

    I have to rent cars regularly for work, and I usually complain when they give me a bigger car than I’ve requested.

    Enterprise seems to be pretty good on this – they’ve usually got a Yaris available and they’re about the most efficient non-Smart non-hybirds out there.

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