Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A falling out with Enterprise Car Rental

My wife and I wanted to book a car for an upcoming trip. In the past I have been a fairly loyal customer for Enterprise Car Rental. There was a stretch when I was renting cars from them just about every other weekend - we were on a first name basis. They liked my repeat business, I liked the personal service and the price breaks they gave me. I was a preferred customer in the truest sense of the word.

Times are different now. I no longer require a rental car every weekend. The Enterprise location I used to rent from (one block away from the office) was recently bulldozed down to make room for some new development next to the Olympic Village. My personal connections were relocated to alternate offices.

So as I mentioned earlier, we needed to rent another car. Naturally, we started by checking rates at Enterprise. This go around, they weren't already the best price in town, and we happened to notice an oddity: if we varied the dates even a little, the rates dropped by about a third. I figured that since the website wasn't making sense, perhaps I could get the better rate by phoning the company.

I ended up calling them twice, but both times I got the same pat answer: 'our rates vary by date, time and availability.' Both times the service rep quoted me that line. Neither one was able to explain it better than that. The best attempt I heard was that one tried to say it was just like the airlines. Unable to get the rate I was prepared to pay (and generally what their competitors were offering) I thanked the reps for their time without booking.

Now as it happened, on my second call I was randomly selected to partake in a call survey (if I liked) on my customer experience for the call. Of course I agreed. When prompted, I rated my experience as a 1, which meant completely dissatisfied. Predictably, this triggered an opportunity to speak with a supervisor (finally!) or I could just leave a message. I opted to talk to the supervisor and eagerly awaited an answer.... which never came. Apparently the supervisor wasn't taking calls today and instead I found myself back in the automated routine. It all happened so fast I am not sure if the person just put the phone on 'make busy' or if the whole process of shunting my call was automated. Either way the net result was the same. I eventually left my message (not pleased, going with competitor) and concluded my business with Enterprise.

Dollar Rent a Car, you get my business this trip. I don't normally rent with you and you certainly will be on a trial basis. Let's hope your cars and service can meet my expectations.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family visit - the Maritimes in the Summer

We are back from another visit with the family on the east coast and I am feeling refreshed. My brother took us out to see Hopewell Cape as it was close by his place and we got a lot of pictures there. It was fun scrambling along the muddy beach - we ensured that we would arrive at low tide for that reason.

From there we stopped to visit at my sister's, as well as at my parent's place. While we weren't able to see everyone, we did manage to visit with a lot of family. There were many hours spent driving as well, so Holly and I had plenty of 'downtime' between visits.

Perhaps on the next trip we might try to take in a few more sights as well. Prince Edward's Island is one place we considered on this trip, but really didn't have enough time to fit it in. I think this was also Holly's first time to visit the Maritimes in the summer. Our normal routine has been to plan a trip around the year end holidays. It had been quite a while since I had been back in warmer months so I also appreciated the sunshine - something we haven't been getting much of here in Vancouver.

This last photo is of me and my paternal grandfather. Can you see any resemblance?

Oh yeah - Holly had the great idea of setting up my family on Skype so that we can video chat with them. I'm amazed that we were able to get everyone going so easily - even Mom took to it once she saw her grandchildren on the computer screen. Maybe now we can show her Louise in real time.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Finches have been denied thier cartoon roles

I had good intentions of blogging tonight. But Holly discovered GI Joe cartoon reruns on TV and well, the overacting is distracting to say the least. It's very likely that I won't be able to string together two thoughts in this post.

So in other words, a pretty normal post.

We were out giving Louise a walk when we noticed a pair of finches who were perched on a bush next to the sea wall. I was surprised at how close we were able to get without them flying away.

I wanted to talk about the proposed changes to copyright in Canada, but I don't yet know enough about the new bill to say anything informed. I've started to follow Tony Clement and James Moore on twitter - they are the two members of Parliament who put forward the new bill. Maybe that will offer enough of a counterpoint to the various websites that are raising objections to this bill.

Oh no, Cobra escaped! Okay I gotta go now.