That’ll teach me!

Now that I’m back home, I apologize for my quiet. I’ve been busy. Doing what, you ask? Ah well…Grab a coffee and let me tell you the first of many stories to come!

My parents should be ashamed. Ashamed I tell you! They raised a responsible adult that pays her bills on time and has no debt. What the hell were they thinking? Did they not understand how this was going to complicate my life down the road?!!  oy…

So, in the latest installment of Customer *cough cough* Service [because I don’t believe I’ve done one since way back in the days of HorrorWench on LJ] I offer, “How to rent a car as a responsible adult.”

The time for the move is getting closer. I’ve given notice at work. I’ve given notice on my rental property. I’ve scoured school districts and talked to principals, councilors and real estate agents about areas for my kids. I’ve gathered medical records and birth certificates and everything else I may need from this state before I leave it. And I’ve applied at 972 jobs… but haven’t found one. Crunch time and panic has set in. Some brief discussion with the aforementioned parents and we all believe that it’s going to be difficult to find a job from four states away [after all, how do they know I’m really moving? And why pick me if they’ve got candidates standing right there in front of them?], and that I need to get my butt out to PA and hoof those streets until I find one. Okay then. That’s what I’ll do.

Get the plane ticket, make a packing list, let the schools know that their father is the primary emergency contact for a few weeks, call friends and secure temporary lodging, and rent a car. Stop there. Actually, rather than just stopping, how about we come to a screeching halt in front of a lovely brick wall and bang our heads on it… Repeatedly?

Check prices online and find the best rates. Reserve the car. NOT. I don’t have a credit card—I believe plastic is evil and the reason that most of the country is in debt is because of credit. It’s a bad thing. I spend money I have [interesting concept, isn’t it?!] and pay my bills on time. And for this, I can’t reserve online. So I call the place and see if I can use the debit card for payment, you know, real money that you can touch and everything. Sure I can, no problem, all I have to do is provide my insurance information, my driver’s license, my last pay stub and a current electric bill.

Ummm… Remember up above when I said I pay my bills on time? Yeah, not only are they paid on time, I’ve paid ahead this month because I’m going to be gone. So I have no current bills. I have nothing due at all—electric or otherwise. Of course, they don’t care if it’s paid, they just need to see the bill itself, but I’m moving, so I’m not saving anything. I’m not hauling anything across country that I don’t need to, so I paid and threw the bills away. My cell phone is paid online, how about that? Nope. Must be a landline for phone. How about my cable bill? Nope. That can be secondary, but it’s gotta be an electric or heat bill—which are together in my world. Crap! Ok, let me call them and see what I can do…

After several hours on the phone with Rachel at “BFE Electric”, who by the way was very nice and wins big points for that, I find that they can print any number of reports and email them to me, none of which have the information the rental place needs [let’s just call them e-cars]. They can reprint my last bill and mail it, rather than email it, but then it won’t get here until after I’m gone. Argh… Finally, Rachel decides if I set up the online account I could print it myself from there. Cool! So we set it all up and she says wait 24 hours for it to be in the system. She apologizes for everything and we hang up. And wait…

24 hours later, I gleefully log into my account online to find that I have less identity than a new born baby. Oh I have an account, and I’ll have bills on there in the future, but there is no history. Nothing to print. Nothing that will help. CRAP! Ok, call e-cars back.

I’m sure it sounded like my house was on fire from the panic in my voice, and I half expected them to tell me in a robotic voice, “if this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911.” However, on this day, I got a new person on the phone: Jessica. Sweet thing. Very helpful. And bonus, recently relocated herself and had some tips for me. Of course, all of that aside, I still didn’t have an electric bill. I need a car to get to interviews, learn the roads, find a house—you know, everything I need to do to actually relocate. She understands and we start a game of cat and mouse. She suggests something, I concur, she asks a supervisor. No. I suggest something, she gets hopeful and runs to ask a supervisor. No. We go back and forth for a while and then she asks about a cable bill.  “Wait… the man I spoke to yesterday said I couldn’t use that.” Pish-posh, and off to beg a supervisor. She comes back and says it’s a go. I log into my account, tell her what’s on screen, she cheers, I hit print—e-cars here I come!

“Just bring in your insurance, the bill and your driver’s license. And make sure all the information matches.”

Matches? Ahh crap! See, I got divorced and moved to an apartment. Everything has the right address on it except my driver’s license, which I didn’t change because I’m moving to PA and would have to change it out there. Grrrr… Ok, call the DMV and find out how fast I can get a new license. Except it’s the DMV and around these parts they have reduced their hours to “every third tuesday when the moon is full and you hop up and down on one leg”… CRAP! Ok, I’m leaving in 2 days, what can I do? Call the mom, get her DMV information. Are you kidding me? Mine is “supposedly” open tomorrow. If it’s not, I’ll drive an hour to mom’s and hit hers, but I have to do it right away in the morning because their friday hours are from 8 to 8:15am, ok, it was really to 3pm but still, if I wait for the kids to get home from school and go, they’ll be closed. So I will have to drive over, get license, drive back, get kids, drive over again for the weekend and Airport Bed & Breakfast. I heart murphy, really I do. Bright and early the next morning I hit the DMV, and lo ‘n behold they’re really open. Cool! Go in, fill out the form, wait my turn. While I’m waiting… nah, this blog is long enough, we’ll save that tidbit for another time! Get license, get home, pack, grab kids and head to mom’s. Off to PA I go…

You’d think the story would be over, wouldn’t you? Hmmm… not so much. That was just the flirting, now we’re going on the actual date and I have spaghetti and red wine with a white dress. So I physically get to e-cars and apparently my reservation has been flagged, because when the nice 14-year-old looking boy types me into the system, he immediately looks at me like I’m a wanted fugitive, excuses himself and retrieves the manager. Is your head hanging yet? Rolling your eyes yet? Because yes, feel my pain!

Going over the entire saga again, I have to re-explain why I need a car, why I don’t live in PA, how long I’ll have it, where I’ll be staying, where I used to work, where I hope to work, my shoe size and what I had for breakfast. Holy shit, really? Just because I’m a responsible adult and don’t have plastic? Are you kidding me? Seriously, do I look like someone that rents cars and then never brings them back? I have to list local contacts. I list who I’m staying with and who brought me to e-cars. Crap, don’t remember the first one’s address, so I call and explain and get the address. The second is still in the parking lot, waiting to make sure I get the car. And the manager of e-cars then tells me they have to check to make sure I know these people. Really? I just called the one and you can wave to the other one… right there, outside your window. Nope, not good enough. So they call the first and ask if he knows me, if I’m staying with them, where he works, how old his daughter is, what color his wife’s eyes are, and whether or not their puppy has ever chewed on a neighborhood cat. Ok, not that bad, but you get it. Then they call the other one… in the parking lot. I’m listening to the manager talk and watching the eye-rolling and wide “are you kidding?” smile through the window. And then I finally get handed keys… to a car that is NOT what I reserved. At this point, I don’t care if they’d have given me an out of commission mail truck. I smile, grab the keys, try not to be snarky and leave.

No debt, good credit, avoid plastic—these are things that should be good. These are things that my parents instilled in me at an early age. These are things that the modern world does not comprehend. Thank god today’s society has hair dye available to cover my new gray!

0 Responses to That’ll teach me!

  • Gorebeast says:

    This is the price we non-credit card holding folks have to suffer. The run-around is so frustrating but we can’t just give in to The Man. They make it such a harrowing journey because most people would just say “eff it” and get a credit card to make life simpler. But not us rebels! We’ll keep fighting the good fight to stay out of debt and pay our bills on time alive!

  • Kelli says:

    YES! I knew I couldn’t be the only one out there. On the up side, I can now rent at that particular e-cars whenever I want… since they know my life history =)

  • Tim Baker says:

    Being fiscally responsible is one thing. Allowing yourself to be subjected to that again for your own moral code is insanity. You’re obviously a responsible adult. Just bite the bullet and get a piece of plastic in your purse so you don’t need to deal with that anymore. Pay whatever charges you have immediately, and your credit will not be hurt and you won’t have to pay interest. If fact, I’ll bet you’ll have a difficult time getting a place to live w/o establishing some sort of credit. It doesn’t make you a weaker person. Life is too short to deal with that nonsense again. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s all part of the game of life.

  • Kelli says:

    Hey Tim! I actually have good credit, that’s not the problem. The problem is that society thinks you’re not a real person without plastic… and yes, I understand what you’re saying. I actually applied for a stupid piece of plastic last night… which will collect dust in my wallet and be used as either a toothpick or ice scraper =))

    [ps… keep up, would ya? we got a place! of course, if you visited while i was there you would have known that… just sayin’]

  • Phyllis says:

    wow… and I thought when we were almost stranded at the airport because the stupid car rental place wouldn’t give us a car was bad. ‘member that? Yeah… I hope things are smooth for you here on out! I think the worst part is over now?

  • Kelli says:

    LOL! I forgot about that!! Yeah, because the universe listens when you say things, I’m just going to say that the worst is over and it’s all easy from here on out! =)

  • Burke says:

    Good for you! Credit cards are very evil (if only I figured that out in my 20’s). I have never had a problem renting a car from Hertz with my debit card.

  • Kevin Lucia says:

    We also don’t have any plastic, and have encountered the same problems. Our solution was to get a “check card”, which goes to the checking account – that crazy “real money” concept – but is usually accepted as a credit card, but most of the time I can’t “tell them” it’s a check card, I sorta have to not bring it up, because if I do, they get wiggy about.

    You’re to be commended, though. Abby and I double-barreled our plastic five years ago, and we’ve never regretted it.

  • Jeff Prettyman says:

    Only Stephen King can make a piece of plastic evil. And I’m a little surprised he hasn’t thought of that yet. It is the desire to have things you don’t need, because the T.V. says you need it, or the neighbors already have one and boy, is it shiny and it smells so new…that gets we (us?) Americans in trouble. So, fear not the plastic rectangle you have applied for. If you ever have the need to use it, pay it off in the same timely manner you do your other bills -SPOILER ALERT- online credit card payments sometimes seem to take several days to post, so give yourself some leeway- and nobody gets hurt. However, if your payments are ever late I will remind you of the S. King short story “Quitters Inc”. I’m just sayin’.

  • Lauren says:

    I just got rid of my credit cards! I stuck them in my desk drawer and told them to think about what they did. Between online screw ups and the bank not cooperating, I have paid around $500 in late fees/fines in the past 2 months. Soooooo over it. It’s my worst nightmare in Economics class come true.

    Glad you finally got your car, girl. Good luck with everything! :-)

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