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Old 11-03-10, 09:41 AM   #1
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The joys of car rental - long rant

We rented a car last weekend, as we frequently do. Upon returning the car they presented me with the gasoline bill as usual. Only this time, bill reads about 40% more than it should, according to the onboard computer's calculated average consumption for the trip. I tell the (young) guy behind the counter that there is an error with the bill, and I'm not going to pay it. Obviously, the tank was not full when I received the car. He wants to know why. I explain. Hilarity ensues.

Him: "Well, you know, the average consumption is just that, average. It's too slow to register peak consumption."
Me: "wut."
Him: "Well, you know, the average..."
Me: "Yes I heard you the first time, I'm just not sure what you're talking about. Average is average, both peak and extreme low consumption gets recorded, and average is based on that."
Him (patiently): "No, no, look here. If you drive a stretch with a really, really low consumption, you can then go to a race track and empty the tank there, and the average reading will never change. I can guarantee you the tank was full when you received the car." Looks gleamingly over to the young female co-worker standing next to him.
Me: "You guys rent Toyota Yaris for track use? You're saying the on board comp doesn't react to a 40 percent increase in the AVERAGE figure? Seriously, how exactly are you planning to "guarantee" anything when the facts don't support you? Regarding your math, definition of average... etc. etc. etc."
Him: (very irritated): "Did you understand any part of what I just told you?"
Me: "No, because you make no sense and bring shame upon the math teacher whose classes you frequently skipped, you ignorant punk." OK, not those words, but I'm getting really fed up.

We take one more round, me explaining the facts, him "explaining" his wonderful consumption theories and getting more and more upset as it sinks in he is an ass, and everyone including his co-worker knows it. But there's no way he can back up now, not with the audience. I ask to speak to his boss, he tries calling him, no luck. Turns out the boss is his dad, the owner of the gas station.

I offer to pay what I consider a reasonable part of the gas bill, based on the average reading. That's a NO! I'm running out of time, this is a small amount of money. I take his daddy's contact info (he is very reluctant to give that either), pay the bill and inform him I will be back to receive his personal apology once we get things straightened out with his father. At this point, the female co-worker exits the stage with some excuse. He is one very red kid.

Today, his father calls me and apologises profusely. Their mistake, the tank wasn't full when I got the car. The whole bill will be refunded. I'm considering going back to see if the kid has what it takes to admit the mistake and apologise.

I seldom wish I owned a car, but that evening was definitely one of those days. [/rant]

To err is human. To moo is bovine.

Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?

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Last edited by Juha; 11-03-10 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-03-10, 09:56 AM   #2
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The parallels between this conversation and a typical "average speed" thread in the 41 are disturbing.
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Old 11-03-10, 10:38 AM   #3
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I'm confused. Isn't there a gauge that just tells you how much gas is in the tank?
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 11-03-10, 12:21 PM   #4
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The simplest and fairest way is to rent the cars out full and have the customer bring them back full. However when we rented a u-haul that came full the gauge was on full, but we went to the gas station to check, and it took $20 to fill it to really full. This involved having to take the receipt back to the u-haul place - thankfully the gas station was right next door so they would believe us

On an unrelated note I always think cars should have digital gas gauges that tell people how much they are spending as they go. (like a taxi meter) That would probably prevent a lot of frivolous car trips - when people fill up once a week or whatever they don't realize how much each trip is costing. And the ridiculousness of driving a long distance to save a buck or two when shopping.
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