Sunday, August 26. 2007
Some of my friends will know that Mads works at a car rental desk in Edinburgh Airport. Which entails 12 hour shifts that run from 7:00 or 10:30 in the morning (depending on what shift she's working) and working every other weekend. She gets up at 5:15 and gets home at 7:45 on a good day. She has more days off as a result, but the job, which she's had for three years, is so tiring that she spends most of her time off just resting!
Well, no more. A few weeks ago she got a new job doing what she does best, which is working as a travel consultant in a business travel agency (the people who take care of booking your flights and hotel rooms at work). She's always worked in travel and the car rental thing was a vaguely-related stop-gap. Today was her last day at the airport and she's understandably delighted to be finished there. I'm slightly pleased too because, as she doesn't drive, I've been getting up at 6am on alternate Saturday and Sunday mornings to save her the walk and bus journey to work.
I promised her I'd write a light-hearted blog about some of her experiences. So here's some car rental advice that you might not find useful, but will make you popular with car rental staff, probably the world over
1. If you're talking to someone at the desk and your mobile phone rings, don't answer it! It has a cancel button. You can probably return the call in a few minutes when you've finished talking to the person who's serving you. They could even call you back. That way, everyone in the queue won't need to wait for your call to finish and you to get back to the matter at hand.
2. Believe it or not, the pick-up/drop-off area at an airport is not where you park your rental car so that you can dump your keys at the desk. The correct destination is that clearly sign-posted car rental drop-off area. There are even numbered bays for you to use. We don't do valet parking round here. If we did, I expect valets would arrange that, not people with a queue of customers to attend to.
3. When a car rental agent asks to see your driving licence, don't react as though they asked you for a banana sandwich. You're hiring a car. You need a driving licence. (Serious tip for UK drivers - that *includes* the big paper counterpart thing. If you don't have that, it will add the time and expense of a call to the DVLA.)
4. Don't joke about the possibility of being upgraded to a Porsche or a Ferrari. They've heard that one once or twice.
5. (I thought long and hard about this one, because I know it's normal good manners elsewhere, but Mads insisted.) Just because the company insists that their employees wear name badges, that doesn't mean that you are familiar enough with the wearer to use their christian name like you're a long lost friend. It might be normal where you come from. It's not here.
6. The rental counter is a desk, for filling out forms, handing over your paperwork and so on. It's not a temporary creche, where you should park your excitable infant while you're busy with the forms. Get a seat or something. On the same note, if you're a party of 6, you probably don't need all 6 people to engage in the rental process.
7. (This one's from me.) When you get in the car, try familiarising yourself with it before going out on the open road. Driving along at 10mph whilst weaving around on the road is likely to prove distracting to cars behind you. If nothing else, you'll be a lauging stock.
8. Probably the most important one. Yes, you have a right to decent service, but when things go wrong, the person on the desk probably had nothing to do with the reasons (including cars being returned late) and will do their best to fix things but shouting at them will not help.
Ah, Scottish hospitality, don't you just love it
(Page 1 of 1, totaling 1 entries)