Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fuzzy logic!

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

This post is a little outside my usual photographic posts, but it's priceless to me and I wanted to share the experience with everyone.

I am in the middle of a one week vacation in Washington State. We spent the first part of the week visiting family and our grandchildren in the small town of Cusick, Washington. It was great and the family picked us up at the airport and we then used their second car while in Cusick. 

Tuesday evening, I got on my AOL account on the internet to make a car reservation for the latter part of the week, that we are spending in Spokane, Washington. After checking prices from most of the rental car companies located at the Spokane Airport, I decided to rent from Thrifty car rental. I wanted the car from Wednesday at noon with a return of Friday night at 6:00 P.M. Our plane leaves at 8:00 A.M. Saturday and we were not going to drive anywhere Friday night plus the Hotel offers free shuttle to the Airport.  Since I was booking for two days and 6 hours (Pick-up at noon Wednesday and returning Friday at 6:00 P.M.) there was going to be a surcharge of $32.00 for the extra time from Friday noon to 6:00 P.M. The total was going to be $71.90 plus tax for their smallest economy car.  I changed the reservation to return the car at noon Friday instead and save the extra cost of  $32.00. After all, the daily price, not including all of the taxes, was  $19.95 and it seemed excessive to charge for an extra 6 hours at a  rate higher that a full day.

We were set, so we thought. We showed up at noon Wednesday to pick up our small economy car. To our surprise, the attendant informed us that our reservation was for Thursday, and that they didn't have any economy car available. All they had, he said, was a Ford Explorer at $95.00 per day. I got a little upset and showed him the reservation we had through AOL.com.  He replied that AOL must have made a mistake as Thrifty's computer showed the reservation for Thursday. He wasn't exactly rude but offered no help. He wouldn't budge. Upset, I decided to skip the $95.00 SUV and our son drove us to our hotel, before going back to Cusick. I was planning to pick up our economy car Thursday at noon.

Upon arriving and settling in our room, I thought I would check the rental price on the Internet. I logged on to Thrifty's website and proceeded with trying to reserve a car right then, with a pickup of 2:00 P.M. To my surprise, the reservation went through for the economy car for one day, Wednesday from 2:00 P.M. through Thursday at 2:00 P.M. @ $19.95 plus taxes.

I took the free shuttle from our hotel and showed up at Thrifty's counter. The same attendant was still on duty. He recognized me. Before he had a chance to say anything, I showed him my new reservation. Of course he said they didn't have any economy cars at the moment. I know, I said, I guess you will have to give me a free upgrade, as I have a valid and pre-paid  reservation.  So I got the Ford explorer for $19.95.

Stay with me, It gets better...

I showed him my original reservation from AOL and upon looking at his computer, the original economy car had been booked from Thursday noon through Saturday noon, at the weekend rate of $16.95 per day plus taxes. I told him, do you want me to bring the SUV back tomorrow, and exchange it for the economy car? That meant that he would have had to clean the SUV, write a new contract and provide me with a clean economy car. In the end, I got the "$95.00/day" Ford Explorer for $19.95 the first day and $16.95 per day  for Friday and Saturday with the weekend rate of the economy car. I will be returning the SUV Saturday morning, just in time for our flight at 8:00 A.M.

The bottom line, I got the"$95.00/day"  Ford Explorer for three day at a total price of $53.95 plus taxes. The original economy car reservation was going to cost me $71.90 for two days and 6 hours. I ended up with the SUV for three dayand  for less money. Is it just me or did I beat the system? This is what I call "Fuzzy Logic" from a rental car company. Maybe I just confused him so much, he screwed up big time.

Go figure :)

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque
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