fighting the lack of good ideas

traveling == car rentals

I travel for work. Because I fly hither and yon, I get to rent cars. Some of the time I get interesting ones. Mostly I get vehicles that drive, and get me from point A to point B and back again.

In another life, I worked for Hertz in Latham NY. Working for Hertz was both a fun time and an incredibly frustrating work experience. The city manager was a royal prick – micromanaging everyone of his Vehicle Service Attendants (aka folks that clean cars and get them ready for the next renter), and not letting any of us, all of whom were demonstrably more intelligent than he was, do the jobs we were hired for. Instead of talking to us like the adults we all were something to the effect of, “we need a bunch of full-sizes today” (read ‘Taurus’ or similar) and letting us go clean the full-sizes that were awaiting prep, he’d come out and pop trunks on the cars he wanted us to clean – oftentimes in the middle of the rows of cars, which meant they didn’t get gotten-to for a while, since we’d clean our way to them. But I digress.

The best thing about working for Hertz was that I got to drive everything they had. The worst thing about working for Hertz was I had to drive everything they had. From Miatas to Windstars, Mustangs to Corollas, Jaguars to Accents – we cleaned them all. I got to know a bunch of vehicles I’d love to own, and an even larger list of ones I’d prefer to never see again.

Now that I travel for work, I again am forced to drive whatever the rental agency has available – corporate driving rules and all, I don’t get to pick my vehicles very often. I’ve gotten to drive the hybrid Escape, new Mustang, and Edge. I’ve also been stuck with a Corolla. This week the very polite folks at Avis (no that is not sarcasm) here in Atlanta stuck me in a PT Cruiser. I wrote about my opinions of that … ‘vehicle’ … on my other blog a while back. The newer PT Cruisers are still under-powered. They’re also weirdly laid-out for controls: the window controls are not on the door, or even the center console – they’re on the dashboard.

It has head room, and the leg room isn’t horrible, but with a hideously small engine for its heft, I wouldn’t want to be in it if I had to get up to speed, say like getting on an interstate. Its mileage is also pretty bad for such a small vehicle, and it has very little cargo space compared to anything else I’ve had as a rental: including the Corolla. The only thing I’ve driven with less space was a Miata. But at least the Miata is fun to drive.