The “Manager’s Special”

After I recently booked a flight on an airline website, they gave me the option of renting a car, which I would need for a few days at my destination. To my surprise, the most affordable option that popped up was from Hertz. Usually they are the highest priced rentals, so I usually go with Alamo, Thrifty, Budget, whatever. I was taken in by a nice low daily rate, and also the promise of the “Manager’s Special.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded good. I booked a car for a few days.

When I got to the airport and went to the rental counter, everything was in order and I was directed to the area where I could pick any car I wanted from section 3. I walked through aisles and aisles of cars in sections 1 and 2, and finally arrived at section three, where just three cars were parked.

The first one I went to, a Hyundai Accent, didn’t look too bad. But when I walked around, I saw it had a cracked tail light. So I decided to check out the small Toyota just a few spots away.

It was an iA. Never saw one of those before. When I tried the doors, though, they were all locked. The keys were inside the car, but I couldn’t get in. I looked around to see if anyone could help me. The little rental hut for Hertz was about a mile away, and there was no other human being in sight. So forget that one.

I still had a third choice. An even small white Toyota Yaris was parked at the end of the row. It was a little smaller than I wanted, but it was just for a few days, so I figured why not. When I reached in to get the key, it was just that, a key. No fob, no automatic locking doors. Roll up windows, too. When I tried the key in the hatch to put my suitcase in, the key wouldn’t even turn in the lock. My experience just kept getting better and better.

I went back to the first car and made sure the tail light still worked. I also made sure to show it to the attendant at the exit gate. She didn’t seem all that concerned. She made a note on the rental agreement, and without a smile said, “Have a nice day.”

Now that I understand how the “Manager’s Special” works, I’m pretty sure I’ll be passing up that offer in the future.

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