Spring is great, except for rental trucks
I love spring in the Rocky Mountains … U-Haul is a @$$%@% company. I mean, when spring hits the Great Divide it comes almost all at … #$#@$ U-Haul.
Oh, hell, I give up. I’ve spent the last hour trying to write a positive column about spring, but every time my fingers touch my computer keyboard, all my dainty digits type is U-Haul and curse words.
This past weekend my wife Bev and I needed to rent a U-Haul, and like so many times in the past, it was a maze of incompetence and rudeness.
We, however, started out our weekend with hope. To make the process run smoother, Bev called several weeks in advance to reserve a truck in (an unnamed town down south), the closest rental place to our home. But since we’ve had trouble in the past renting from U-Haul, we called on Saturday to verify our Sunday rental date. With that phone call, however, we lost all hope. There was no truck. It seems the people at U-Haul Central, a place I picture filled with demons but no trucks, had forced Sue, the wonderful woman helping us in (the unnamed town down south), to rent our truck to someone else.
But since we needed a truck, and we needed it on Sunday, Bev spent the rest of the day attempting to secure one within a several hundred-mile radius of our house.
After hours of fighting, Bev, frazzled beyond belief, finally called to tell me we could get a 14-footer from (a different) and the guys at U-Haul Central said we could pick it up the next day. But, she added, almost in tears, she wanted me to call the new place to confirm our reservation.
“No problem,” I said.
The first time I called the new location, I was told to hold while the clerk checked the reservation. The clerk then put the phone down and proceeded to joke with friends or co-workers while I waited. After 13 minutes, I hung up and tried again.
Now remember, I’m getting this kind of treatment after U-Haul Central has almost brought my wife to tears from frustration.
When I called back, Ed answered the phone. After explaining who I was, he said that I had two problems.
“The first problem is that I’m closed on Sunday,” he said without apology.
“The second is my 14-foot truck is gone.”
Ed wasted more of my time telling me the truck I needed, and was promised, was now in Pittsburgh. Since I couldn’t have the truck anyway, this information struck me as a bit useless, and so I asked Ed why, if he wasn’t open on Sunday and he didn’t have a truck for me anyway, did U-Haul Central tell me to call him?
Ed didn’t like my question.
Realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I said OK, hung up and called Bev to tell her the bad news. At the same time we were discussing our situation, however, we would find out later that Ed was apparently calling U-Haul to tell them I was rude. So when Bev called a U-Haul customer service representative (yes, they pretend to have those), he informed her that U-Haul reserved the right to refuse service to anyone, and he was canceling our reservation.
When I thought about it later, I realized it was kind of funny. Basically the U-Haul representative was refusing to rent us a truck he didn’t have and was canceling a reservation no one planned to honor in the first place.
From my point of view, we hadn’t lost any ground.
Eventually, Beverly called Ed back and after much pleading, secured a larger truck he had on the lot the entire time. I’m still wondering why he didn’t mention this fact when we first spoke. It would have saved us all some grief.
Bev then told me that I wasn’t allowed to go to this new U-Haul place because she thought I might upset Ed again. She was worried I might ask another difficult question like “How do you rent trucks?” and we’d be right back where we started.
Before anyone could go anywhere, however, Sue, the competent woman at U-Haul in (the town down south), called to say she had an unexpected arrival and that she’d hurt anyone who attempted to rent it out before us. The woman deserves a raise.
There is, of course, no moral to this story. There are times, however, when it’s great being an opinion columnist because, even though I can’t change some things, I can shine a little light on incompetence and rudeness. And, for me, that’s almost as good as spring coming to the High Country.
Andrew Gmerek is a weekly columnist for the Summit Daily News.
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