Ploggers, we are officially on holiday! After a week at work that can be best described as “challenging”, tube journeys which can be politely described as “fucking shit”, a car drop-off at the airport which I would euphemistically describe as “wank”, a two-hour delay at Gatwick, a flight where our row was sandwiched between two screaming babies I would nicely describe as “cunts” and two hours standing in a line at Customs at Orlando which was staffed by someone whose ability would be better suited to cleaning the toilets at McDonalds, we finally, finally made it to the car rental place.
Because TheBloke (TM) and I are super-organised, we had already booked our car, and just needed to go to Alamo Car Rentals to pick up our compact car, as ordered.
After another 20 minute queue at Alamo (I guess the Floridians are just getting us ready for Disney by testing our ability to edge forward in sheep pens), we finally made it to the front of the line.
“Evening!” said an employee, who – like all Americans was called Brad, Chip, Brett or something of the kind.
We handed over our paperwork. “Oh,” said Brad-Chip-Brett disappointedly.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. My normally dangerously-low blood pressure was already at near boiling point from the debacle at Customs.
“Oh, nothin’,” said Brad-Chip-Brett. “It’s just you’ve booked a compact and they’re SO small. You’ll get like a Fiat Panda or something. It won’t even have a trunk. And I see you have two large cases.”
“Oh, it’ll be fine,” I said. “The back seats will fold forward. We got them here in a Mini."
“Yeah,” said Brad-Chip-Brett, “but the Panda won’t have cruise control like you’ll be used to.” I didn’t dare tell him that my Mini doesn’t actually have anything more advanced than electric windows.
“Listen,” continued the Alamo man, “I can do you a deal. Normally for $11 more per day I could upgrade you to a Toyota Yaris, but what I’ll actually do is for $11 per day, upgrade you to a Toyota Corolla. How does that sound?”
I looked at TheBloke (TM). He said, “I think we’ll be fine with the compact. Really, it’s not a problem.” At this stage we had been awake for about 20 hours and still had a drive (on the wrong side of the road) ahead of us. We wanted a bed, more than we wanted anything else. Well, apart from me. I still wanted to punch the twat at Customs.
“OK, OK,” said Brad-Chip-Brett. “Hmm. OK. I probably shouldn’t do this, but I can get you an amazing deal. For just the $11 per day, I’ll upgrade you to an SUV.”
TheBloke (TM)’s little South African face lit up. Which is why, dear readers, our Fiat Panda looks a bit like this:
“Oh, one more thing,” said Brad-Chip-Brett. “Your contract specifies that you need to pay for a full tank of fuel with the car. So that’s an extra $100. So that’ll be a total of just $211.”
A tank of fuel (at rental car places) is quite a lot more expensive in an SUV than it would have been in a Fiat Panda.
I am beginning to see why Americans make great sales people.