July 28th, 2004

I will never fucking rent a car from Alamo again

I've been a loyal Alamo customer for almost 20 years... ever since I started traveling on business. They were incredibly convenient-- as a Quicksilver member, I could just walk up to a kiosk, stick in my credit card, touch the screen, and then just walk out and get into my car.

A few years ago, Alamo and National merged, at least in some locations... I don't know if it's global or not. What this meant is that in some locations, the Quicksilver kiosk is gone. QS members still have a special line to wait in, and it usually goes a lot faster than the usual line. Once you're done, you walk out into the lot, pick out one of the cars from your class, go through a gate check, and you're on your way.

Yesterday, Las Vegas. I have to stand in a long line for the shuttle bus to the lot. This can't be a good sign, right?

Once I get there, there's a LINE for Quicksilver members. I was about the sixth person in line, and there was one agent. Total time spent from the time I got in line until my paperwork was processed: 25 minutes.

So I trot out to the lot, only to discover there are no cars whatsoever in the compact section... or economy or midsize for that matter. There are, however, 20 people standing around looking really pissed. I ask the agent what's going on, and apparently you now have to stand in line and wait for a car to show up from someone else having returned it.

Did I mention this is Las Vegas? And the end of July? And three in the afternoon? You can probably guess at what triple-digit temperature is involved here.

Twenty minutes later, a car shows up. I get into it and drive off, only to have to wait another ten minutes at the gate.

Total time spent waiting in lines at Alamo: one hour.

Oh, and the bastards had lost my reservation... I booked on the web and never got email confirmation so I called them yesterday to get the conf number... they didn't have it.