On November 29th, I was in a fender bender. A woman ran through a blinking stop sign and hit the front bumper of my car. No one was hurt, she had insurance and she was basically the best person I could have asked for in the situation.
The bulk of the damage.
The actual accident and the immediate aftermath were fine. It has been the coordination of the repairs that has been so annoying. First of all, I had the accident on November 29. The body shop couldn’t even look at my car to give me and the insurance an estimate until December 7th. Once I finally got that done, the earliest they could schedule the repairs was January 3. I jumped at the appointment, even though it was almost a month away, BUT, my friends… don’t always take the first appointment offered.
See the problem is, that the day before (January 2) was a holiday. So, not only was the body shop closed, but so was the rental car location that was handling my insurance claim (HERTZ).
I called Hertz 3 hours before they were supposed to pick me up and I should have been tipped off by the conversation:
Me: So, my name is bitchSTATE and you guys are handling the rental car portion of an insurance claim with State Farm for me. I need to be picked up from the body shop at 10am.
Hertz: Okay, just call us when you get there.
Me: You can’t just meet me at the body shop at 10am? I have an appointment there and everything, so, you’re not going to have to wait or anything.
Hertz: It’s fine, Ma’am. Just call us when you get there and we will send someone over there.
Me: Er. Okay. See you at 10am.
Not a good start, but nothing TOO alarming. When I got to the body shop the gentleman helping me immediately said, have you called Hertz? I replied that I had spoken with them earlier in the morning and that they told me to call when I got finished at the body shop. He immediately picked up the phone and called them for me. “They can take a little while, sometimes. Best to get ahead of them, if you can.” he said when he got off the phone.
45 minutes later, they picked me up. I kept my cool. The guy driving the car (that smelled like he’d been smoking in it for the last 45 minutes) explained that they were busy and short staffed. I was fine with that and we chit-chatted as he took me to the rental car location.
I get to Hertz and think, okay, no big deal… I’ll get my car and be on my way. I walked inside and was greeted with a line 4 people deep. The good news? They had 3 stations, this will go quick, I thought. Until I saw three or four people lined up along the walls, sitting in chairs waiting. Hmmm.. maybe those are all the people waiting on luxury cars or something, right?
All those people were waiting on cars. The details of the clusterfuck that ensued aren’t really the point of this post. The point I want to make is this… An older lady came in behind me. The type of older lady, who was carrying a Michael Kors purse, gets her hair done once a week, and certainly never misses a church service. This older lady waltzed inside the joint and walked up straight to the counter, bypassing the rest of us plebians who were low class enough to stand in line and be civilized. She was told to sit down and that her car needed to have an oil change before she could rent it. I smugly smiled to myself. Heh. “That’s what you get,” I thought.
About 10 minutes later it was my turn to talk to a customer service agent and to my dismay, I was told… “your car needs an oil change before we can rent it.”
I sat down disgruntled, but quiet, next to fancypants Michael Kors lady. I pulled my phone out and did what any other self-respecting career woman would do on a Tuesday at 11:15am. I played Pokemon Go.
And for the next hour and fifteen minutes I sat there, while the friendly people at Hertz ran around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to help everyone that came in the day after a holiday that they were closed on. They were clearly backed up and honestly, they kept us updated and were sympathetic, and while YES I was annoyed to be wasting so much time, when I had already tried to call and arrange everything in the morning, they were at least doing their best given the situation. It had to be a shitty ass morning for them, too.
Unfortunately, for me, my fancypants Michael Kors neighbor was super frustrated and apparently didn’t have Pokemon Go to distract her while she waited, because she decided to vent all her frustration to me. Hmphing and scowling, and talking loudly about the bad service. Which, LADY, TRUST ME, if they had a car for you, they would have given it to you, I don’t doubt that they would have taken you off in a sedan chariot that had to be carried by 4 men, if they could have, just to get you to go away.
OR ya know, ride a sheep outta that place or something.
At first, I tried to chat with her a bit and calm her down. “They seem really busy… they are keeping us updated… it is the day after a holiday…” But she was having NONE of it.
All this to say, it was a big lesson for me. I generally try not to get frustrated when things out of my control piss me off and waste my time. But, of course, sometimes that happens. And I am actually the least patient person I know, so that doesn’t help. But, being a total BITCH doesn’t help. It didn’t make her feel better (in fact, I’m sure it just made her more riled up), it made me feel terrible and embarrassed for her, and I’m sure it was hurtful to the people who were trying their damnedest to get us into our Hyundai Sonatas as quickly as possible.
It reminded me of a Plato quotation I read somewhere on the internet once (and have now looked up again, so that I get it right. Although, it’s the internet, so, who knows who really fucking wrote it)…
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
Sure, I didn’t leave in my Hyundai Sonata until 12:30pm. But, I kept my cool and was gracious when I was helped.
The funniest thing… the lady got into the passenger seat when she was given her car and asked if someone could drive her down the block and show her how to use the car.
I hope her day got better. And I hope that you take my advice and never schedule an insurance car repair where you need a rental car the day after a holiday. And if you do… well, bring a book.