I would like to take a second and interject a brief work on customer service. Since living overseas, I’ve gotten somewhat used to not having a lot of customer service. However, on our way to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, I was pleasantly surprised by the customer service of our rental car company.
We put in a reservation with Budget Rental Car for a mid-size car and a car seat that we would pick up in Las Vegas and drop off in Flagstaff, New Mexico. This, of course, makes the price go up some, but I felt like it was worth it to not have to make the 5 hour drive back to Las Vegas with my lovely almost 2-year-old.
We got to the counter and the problems began. Um, we don’t have a one-way mid-size car we can give you. Hmm, we also don’t have a car seat we can give you one-way. Can we give you an SUV?
Jeff’s immediate response was “no”, simply because we knew the gas cost was going to be enormous. We were planning on driving the car all the way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and from the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff. With gas at almost 4 dollars a gallon (and in the tourist areas at about $4.50), he knew it was going to make a big difference in our overall costs.
I could tell the guy actually was trying to work with us. Jeff did some quick math to figure out the difference it would cost driving an SUV versus a mid-size car. And then the guy apologetically started offering discounts.
This, of course, I did not expect. I don’t know what I expected, but I have gotten to used to people kind of shrugging their shoulders when what we reserved was no longer available.
This was kind of nice.
First of all, he gave us a discount off of the rate we had been given for the mid-size car. This helped with any extra gas cost of having the SUV (and made it still cheaper than the mid-size car rate). Then, he threw in the car seat for free. Wow. To top it all off, he gave us insurance and a pick-up service just in case we had car trouble. Also free of charge. I was totally blown away.
I will definitely go back to Budget.
We ended up with a Chevrolet Traverse, which is definitely a car I could get used to driving (now if I only had $35,000). Jeff’s favorite part was the camera that gives you live video in your rear view mirror when you put the car in reverse. My favorite part was how high you were off the road (when we lived in the States, I drove a Saturn).
All in all, our driving experience was pretty great. It’s a smooth ride and we had PLENTY of space to put all four of us, plus our stuff. Love the SUV. Love Budget. Sometimes America is a pretty awesome place to be.