Back In Blue.

Only seven months after being rear-ended we finally have our own car back. I’ve been driving the rental car since December and, in a funny coincidence, got a notice that it needed to be returned because it was being recalled shortly before I was due to return it because the repairs on our CRV were finally done. And it was a relief because I was in a cold sweat every time I had to drive the rental car anywhere. I was afraid any scratch, dent, or major collision would mean starting the whole process of dealing with insurance companies all over again. The company that covered the person who hit me back in September made that experience so frustrating and difficult I didn’t want a repeat of it.

Dealing with the car rental place, on the other hand, couldn’t have been easier When I returned the Ford EcoSport there were three or four employees there at the time. The young woman who’d helped me back in December when I came to pick it up was still there and she asked me, “How did we do?” I said, “It’s been the nicest part of the whole experience.” And then I realized that might sound like damning with faint praise so I added that they’d been so nice and so helpful and I really appreciated how easy they’d made this one part of what was otherwise a terrible experience.

They all seemed surprised and really pleased by this feedback which surprised me. Of all the professions I’ve heard criticized throughout my entire life “car rental office employee” doesn’t even make the list. Aside from occasional inventory flubs—giving someone a compact when they’d asked for a pickup truck, maybe, or having to charge someone for returning a car with an almost empty gas tank—I’d guess most people find the car rental experience as enjoyable as I did. And in fact I had plenty of time to see that was the case. They told me Carl, their regular pickup-and-dropoff guy was out but that he’d be back soon to give me a ride to the car repair place. Then they asked me to take a seat in the waiting area and they went back to work.

Fifteen minutes went by. Half an hour. Forty-five minutes.

I started to feel taken for granted. Hadn’t I told them what a great job they’d done, just under an hour ago? But I wasn’t going to be the one to ruin their day and went to the desk and politely reminded them I was still there.

They all apologized and one of the guys said, “I’ll give you a ride.”

We climbed into a pickup truck and had a nice five minute conversation—honestly I could have walked to the car repair place in less time than I spent waiting. And we passed by Carl, headed back to the rental place.

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  1. Arionis

    Boy, don’t get me started on Insurance companies. Had a wreck last year that took them six months to pay off on. Only took them one month to raise my rates!
    Arionis recently posted…One Step Forward Two Steps BackMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      No surprises there. I’m grateful for the insurance company I’m with–grateful I haven’t had many occasions to call them–but one of my first thoughts after getting rear-ended, and after getting over all the shock, was that I was not looking forward to dealing with someone else’s insurance company. I guessed they’d make the process as difficult and unpleasant as possible and I was right.


    I am often tense when I’m renting a car, no matter what the circumstances, and usually the customer service people are perfectly helpful. Nevertheless, I still worry about doing the wrong things, including not finding the car or returning it to the wrong place, not to mention the horrors of backing up and causing severe tire damage. But that’s me.

    Reading your blog posts are often one of the nicest parts of my day, Chris, and I hope I’m not damning you with faint praise.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I still feel tense even after returning the rental car so I’m really glad you’ve helped me feel a little better–especially by not damning me with faint praise.


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