Saturday, June 2, 2012

Avis - They Try Harder?

Dear Avis,

Thanks so much for a totally awesome end to our cruise – NOT!  In case you weren’t aware (and I’m sure you aren’t because you aren't answering your phone), here’s what happened:
A few weeks ago, we found an awesome deal on your website.  For only $38-ish, we could rent a car and drive back from our cruise, which represented a huge savings on three airfares (which we probably spent on various sundries while on the cruise).  Anyhow, since we were going to spend that night at Disney World (isn’t that the way to end every cruise?), we would also then have transportation in case some outlet mall shopping was needed.  We went ahead and procured (or so we thought) a mini-van, thus insuring a comfy ride back to Nashville with plenty of space for luggage and anything else we decided to bring back with us.

So, Saturday morning we disembarked our cruise ship with our bags and headed to the Avis shuttle stop.  Only there was no shuttle.  Budget and Herts and Bubba’s Rent-A-Wreck shuttles were there, but no Avis.  We were sort of in a time crunch, because we wanted to get to our resort before the rest of our cruise party, since Anne had sprained her ankle riding a bike on Castaway Cay and we wanted to make check-in as quick and painless as possible.  But I digress – let me get on with my story.

After a phone call to your local office, soon the shuttle arrived, with Consuelo driving.  First of all, please direct her to drive all the way to the end of the shuttle parking lot – it would save a few steps from having to lug our heavily-laden-with-Disney-cruisecrap suitcases to the road and back when she decides to move the van.  Second, please do not ask her to work on her religious holiday.  I assume it was her religious holiday as she seemed to be praying every time she lifted a bag (I assumed that was why she was calling out our Saviour’s name every time she hoisted a bag – was this the first time she did the cruise route – did she not know the added loads of returning cruisers?).  

Anyhow, once she had herded all of us and our bags onto her shuttle, we were off to the Avis station.  We had a second religious service as she unloaded our bags.  One of her co-workers came out and told her she could go back to her regular route, and she quickly sped off to what I can only assume is picking up lunch for the guys back at the office.

So, Molly and I were sitting with our six suitcases (we volunteered to bring back unneeded luggage for those members of our party who had enough to handle with a two-year-old, much less three tons of luggage).  And here’s where the fun began.

Steve came out with the paperwork for our rental.  We say, “Which van?”  He says, “The white one.”  We say, “Oh, this one right next to us?”  He says, “No, that one over there.”

And there it was.  Was it a mini-van?  No.  Was it an SUV?  No.  Was it a Jeep?  No.  What was it?  A 15-PASSENGER VAN!!!!!  

At first, Molly and I thought he was joking.  Then he said that the Avis guy said there were no mini vans headed back to Nashville.  But had Avis called/emailed/texted/tweeted us about it?  No!!  Did they offer anything other than the church van?  No!  But reality sunk in when he clicked the remote lock thingy, the headlights flickered,  and Molly and I went into shock.  Had we not been in shock, we would have marched right back into your office and pitched a Grade A Southern Girl Hissy Fit, but instead we just loaded all the bags into the back of the van, which was a pain because apparently the back-back-back seat will not fold down.

So off we went to Orlando, Tigger-ing it all the way (in case you were not aware, riding in a 15-passenger van with only 3 people means the shocks go bouncy, bouncy, bouncy).  Adding insult to injury, the console kept telling us that we needed an oil change soon.

We finally got to the resort and got half-way checked in (the studio was ready, the 3-bedroom was not) and got everybody situated.  By that time, the gravity of our situation was sinking in, mainly that we were going to have a lovely ride back to Nashville, not in the car you promised and we contracted for, but in a van that you want taken back up North.  Can you say bait and switch?

Molly decided to call your 800 number.  She spoke to someone, and after explaining our situation, she was told to call the local branch where we rented from – 50 miles away.  Still being nice, she did – but nobody answers the phone and it switched back to the 800 number.  So, Molly hung up and called again – three more times, each time the phone switching back to the 800 number.  On the fourth call, Molly just lets the 800 number answer it, and she explains the whole situation again, including the fact that Avis Port Canaveral will not answer the phone.  She finally asked, “Is there anybody there who can help me?”  And the answer is – No!  Molly promptly replies with her version of “Go jump in the lake.” to which your phone person said, “Thank you for calling Avis.”

Later in the day, Steve and Molly decide to visit the Orlando Avis branch, who also are unable/incapable/unwilling to help.  So we are left with our huge van to relocate for you back to Nashville.  We considered putting a sign on the van that said, “Davidson Singing Trio” in hopes of raising funds for the gas, but want to get home as soon as possible.

Avis, your slogan says, “We try harder.”  My final question for you is this – “When?”
Today's blessings:  Bay Lake Tower rooms; watching the fireworks at the top of BLT; Olive Garden takeout with the cruisers

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