by Mad Dog
They even told the three men standing behind me
who were headed to Canada to take a cab there and back and send them the bill. Im
tempted to say I was renting the car so I could drive to Cozumel.
|| Im in Detroitthe Motor freakin Cityand I cant
get a rental car. This is like being in Los Angeles and not being able to see a movie,
discovering that every restaurant in New Orleans is out of gumbo, or having a waiter in
Paris not look at you as if you have the lowest IQ ever recorded while pretending he
cant understand what it is you just ordered. It just isnt right.
Its all because the North American
International Auto Show is in town and the people at the rental car companies geared up
for it by sucking as much car exhaust as they could, the carbon monoxide effectively
blocking their ability to count. Youd figure theyd take only as many
reservations as they have cars, and they probably did in their pre-emission snorting days,
but now, in honor of a national show which featuressay it with mecars, they
decided instead to take (number of available cars)2
reservations. Its a form of math only Edward Lear could appreciate.
Obviously they overbooked. And why not, airlines do it all the
time. The difference is when an airline doesnt have a seat for you they make it up
by handing you a voucher which covers half the cost of an airport un-Fun Meal, giving you
a free flight anywhere in the continental U.S., putting your butt on the next available
plane, and making sure you get an extra bag of peanuts, which is almost like being
in First Class. Or as close as Ive ever come anyway. Dollar Rent A Car, on the other
hand, tells you to take a cab to your hotel, then take one back to the airport the next
morning "just in case a cars come back before you show up." Now
heres a company thats into giving their customers peanuts.
The crowd oohed and aahed as the new cars were unveiled. And why shouldnt they?
After all, these are amazing feats of modern ingenuity, like the cross between a pick-up
truck and a luxury sedan (oooh!).
|| I dont feel
picked on because I know its nothing personal. After all, they were telling everyone
the same thing. They even told the three men standing behind me who were headed to Canada
to take a cab there and back and send the bill to Dollar. Im tempted to say I was
renting the car so I could drive to Cozumel just to see if theyd pay for the cab.
When they say yesexhaust fumes having a half life in the brain of about 10
yearsIll buy a cab, have the driver take me around Detroit for the week, sell
it, send Dollar the tab, and walk away with a tidy profit and a happy driver since
Ill let him pick up fares when I dont need him and only take a 10 percent cut.
And its all because of the North American International
Auto Show. This is the annual event where the car companies unveil their 2001 models,
possible 2002 models, and models of the Car Of The Future, all the while hoping someone
actually looks past the well-cleavaged models standing in front of the cars gesturing as
if they really believe this is the way Vanna White was discovered.
Its only costing AOL a measly $160 billion to buy Time Warner. To put that in
perspective, thats $816 for every person who used the web last year, $94 for every
web site thats out there, and almost twice as much as Bill Gates is worth this week.
|| The auto show is
big news here in Detroit, and rightly so. After all, this is the car capital of the
world. True, they ship them all out of here and forget to hold onto a few just in case
anyone happens to want to rent one, but lets not hold grudges, okay? The newspaper
and TV stations reported that the crowd oohed and aahed as the new models were unveiled.
And why shouldnt they? After all, these are amazing feats of modern ingenuity, like
the cross between a pick-up truck and a luxury sedan (oooh!), the minivan with more
horsepower(gasp!), two new convertibles (aaah!), and a Volkswagen pick-up truck that may
or may not even be produced. Excuse me while I chug a triple espresso so I can stay awake.
Face it, these are just more rectangular metal vehicles powered by gas combustion engines.
You know, pretty much the same technology Henry Ford used 90 years ago.
While these revolutionary concepts were being disclosed with
great fanfare, AOL announced that it would merge with/buy/suck up Time Warner. Now this is
heady stuff, mostly because it signals the end of the world as predicted by Nostradamus
("...and the busy signal shall devour the town crier."). AOL boasts that this
means well soon be able to buy CDs at home, play along with TV game shows, and get
customized news delivered to our computers. And its only costing them a measly $160
billion to make this a reality. To put that in perspective, thats $816 for every
person who used the web last year, $94 for every web site thats out there, and
almost twice as much as Bill Gates is worth this week. Of course theyre ignoring the
fact that I can already order CDs online, Ive played along with Jeopardy since I was
old enough to know how to phrase my response as a question, and I skip any articles in the
newspaper I dont feel like reading. Progress is a wonderful thing.
Maybe it would help if AOL Time Warner, as the new monolith
will be creatively named, would buy GM, Ford, and the other car companies. Then they could
inject the industry with new blood, new ideas, and new technologies. Even better, they
should buy Dollar Rent A Car. Then they could put their heads together and solve one of
the burning problems of the day: How to find a lousy rental car in Detroit during the Auto
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while waiting for your rental car to show up.