Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

It’s not what you know, it’s whom you know (or something like that)

We thought we’d rent a car over the Easter weekend; Stella wanted to visit her parents, and we could also use a car for some larger shopping.

We usually rent from Enterprise, partly because they have a special deal where weekends are cheaper (roughly half-price, I think), so we’ve often rented from Friday 5 pm until Monday 8 am.

Easter, of course, is a longer weekend (at least in Germany, where both Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays), so we wanted to know what the price would be like for Thursday till Tuesday.

On their web site, the special price was only for three of the five days (the core weekend Friday till Monday), so that would have been rather expensive, especially if we wanted a slightly larger car. (Since Stella wanted to take some things back with us from Kiel.)

So I thought I’d call our local branch, since the Internet prices are often different from the prices you’d get in person, or so I’d been told. I got Ms Lange on the phone; I think she’s the local manager. She quoted me a couple of prices for the sizes we were interested in (VW Fox; VW Golf; and Golf-size car as an estate car [de “Kombi”, en-US “station wagon”]). (Stella said a Fox would be quite large enough, but with rental companies, you can never be sure which model you’ll get, and the other models in the “Fox class” tend to have less space—Foxes are surprisingly large inside for their outside size.)

Ms Lange had said that the weekend special applied to the entire Easter week-end, and the prices she quoted were quite a bit lower than the website ones. She asked whether she should enter the reservation already and I said no, I’d want to discuss things first before deciding.

So I told Stella the new prices, and she said we could rent a Golf-sized car, and we needn’t request an estate car. So I called back. This time I got a man on the phone, and I proceeded to place my reservation. I asked him again whether the weekend special applied to the entire Easter weekend, and he said it would be valid for four out of the five days. He asked for my details and those of the car size I wanted and quoted me a price that was about €23 over the one I had just received (€142.70 vs. €120). When I said that I had just talked to Ms Lange and she had quoted me a lower price, he put me hold; when he came back, he told me it would be €119.95 :)

I’m not sure what the difference was, though I suspect that it was in how many days the weekend special applied to; and after calculating, that was probably it: the difference in the prices is pretty close to the €23.99/day I’m paying now, so it’s probably the difference between one full-price day and one special-price (roughly, half-price) day.

So I’m glad I got her on the phone first :)

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