Outsourcing…

So recently I went on a business trip. The airfare to my destination was outrageous, and it was only a 5.5-hour drive, so I decided to rent a car for the commute. I had booked my rental through Expedia about 30 days prior. My rental pick up time at the airport was 8:00 on a Sunday morning. What could go wrong with this scenario? Well, apparently A LOT.
I intended to pick up my car and immediately hit the road. I could take my time and make it a very leisure drive. My work day did not start until the following morning. Being the prompt veteran that I am, I showed up at the airport car rental location at 8:00 am. My paperwork informed me that my rental company was “Payless.” I should have taken the hint then. I was the 2nd person in line. I got to the counter, told the gentleman that I had a reservation. He asked me for my itinerary. “I don’t have an itinerary. I’m just renting local” I informed him. His reply blew me away. “Oh…in that case, I need to see a utility bill in your name…..” As I stared at him with a dumbfounded look on my face, he states…”well that information is listed on the website.” “We are a third party car rental and all third party rental companies will ask you for the same thing.” You’d be better off getting on your phone and making a reservation through Priceline and go to one of the other major rental companies, but book your car before you get to the counter.”
Well, all of this was counterproductive on so many levels. I had booked my car early to get the lower rate, and on the day of, all the rates were outrageous. That is when I understood the term “Ratchet,” as in, this is the type of car rental company that I was assigned to. Feeling that I had very few options for the sake of time, I went back home, got a copy of my utility bill and returned to the counter. I’ve got all of my paperwork I said. He looked at my paperwork and stated “good…everything looks good”. I let out a small sigh of relief. He paused and informed me “well we don’t have any cars right now, and it will be about 45 minutes before I can get you a car…Give me your cell, and I will call you when one is available”. I replied, “what do you mean you don’t have any cars. It’s only 9:45. I had an 8:00 appointment. What did you do with my car”. His response was “Oh we always overbook our cars.” I was flabbergasted. I immediately left, went back home and hopped in my truck which I was trying to avoid and departed almost 3 hours after my planned time.
So the moral of this story is that I understand that Expedia outsources their services. I get that. But Expedia should have done a better job in vetting this company or informing the client of the restrictions to avoid any inconvenience. As a full-service catering company, we have to outsource some of our services to reputable vendors as well, but we don’t take that lightly. If I’m going to bring in another vendor to fulfill any service to MY clients, you can assure that they have been well vetted. Because of our reputation, I am approached quite often by vendors who want to provide certain services to my clients, but that is not an easy door that I let people into. The vendors that we partner with are extremely professional and provide the utmost in quality and customer service, or they simply are not on my list of vendors that I would expose my clients to. We love our clients, and I will ensure that the quality and serviced that they receive from any of my third party vendors is on par with the quality and service that Occasional Occasions by Carlton provides on a daily basis.

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