Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zippidy Doo-Da

So far, I've really been impressed with my Zipcar. (That's the car sharing program I belong to). There have always been lots of zip cars available, they all seem to be brand new, and there haven't been any glitches. I've even been using the same car every time (a Toyota Matrix) so I already feel like it's "mine."

I've been a very happy "Zipster."

Until last night.

I wanted to go to Target for one big item and would need a car to haul it back with. Zipcar was perfect for the job. I reserved it for one hour which would be more than enough time to get the job done. From 8:00 to 9:00 pm.

When I got to Target, I noticed that the car was completely out of gas. Grrrrr!

One of the rules is that you're supposed to ensure that it always has at least a quarter of a tank before returning it. The person before me left it with just a few gas fumes in it.

They should be punished. Extensively.

Now, the neat thing about Zipcar is that there's a gasoline credit card above the visor for us "Zipsters" to use; we don't have to pay for the gas. You just swipe the card, enter in the Zipcar number (it's printed on the credit card) and enter in the odometer reading (for security purposes).

Well, apparently, 8:30 pm is when EVERY cab driver in the city of Chicago fills up their tanks. There was a long line and I wasn't about to hunt for another gas station. They're few and far between in downtown Chicago, believe me.

So, seeing as I wasn't going to make it back by 9 pm, I had to call Zipcar and extend my reservation another hour. There's a $50.00 penalty for bringing your car back late, even by one minute -- it's all tracked by GPS and wireless technology which is, actually, pretty cool.

So, here I was, being a very conscientious Zipster by extending MY rental time another hour to make up for someone else's inconsideration.

That really bugged me. Banging on my high chair would ensue shortly.

My little Zipcar thirstily gulped down ten gallons of gas. I had barely made it.

Well, I'll have you know, I made it back by 9:00 pm, my original time slot and wouldn't have needed to extend it anyway. However, I was going to be charged for it since I had it reserved for that length of time anyway.

Well, I'll have you know, I was on the phone with my friendly Zipcar representative in a flash. (Well, after I noticed that I hadn't closed the gas tank when I filled up the car). At first, she wasn't going to give me a break because I am indeed responsible for making sure the car has gas in it regardless of what the other person did.

I was very, very nice and sweet on the phone. But persistent. I explained that I had to go wayyyy out of my way to fill up the car, that it was practically out of gas, and I got it back by 9:00 pm anyway. I told her I felt like I was being penalized for the other person's inconsideration and that really didn't seem fair.

She put me on 'hold' twice, but ended up giving me what I asked for; not to be charged for the extra hour. I was very sweet the whole time, almost overly sweet, but I wouldn't give up and it worked.

By the way, the person ahead of me who didn't fill up the car? They'll be charged $25.00 for that. It's one of the rules. They haven't got a leg to stand on either -- the records will show that I drove the car just a few blocks but had to put ten gallons of gas in it.

They're toast. I'm happy.



At 11:59 AM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Ah, sweet, sweet justice.


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