Shannon Ingram's Place

My Photo
Location: So CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Loving Pets at Work

I keep asking myself why I'm so happy in my current job working at Silverado Senior Living. It's rewarding work to support seniors, especially those suffering from a memory-impairing disease like Alzheimer's, with excellent care and a high quality of life. That's what drew me to the company. But really, what makes it awesome is that I can bring Bindi Sue, my three year-old Corgi-Australian Cattle Dog mix, to work with me every day. She prances around the offices at Silverado headquarters, like she owns the place. She knows every cube or office where there are treats to be had and she enjoys herding the other dogs in the building (we can have up to 10 at a time) as well as the people. There is nothing like a happy doggy running around to make us smile on a stressful day. Bindi is my ever-present stress-relief. So today I have the privilege of sharing her picture. Obviously she's had a particularly busy day and decided to take a break under my desk. I love pets at work!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Budget Smudget

That's putting it nicely. We reserved a rental car from Budget for our 10-day vacation trip from Denver to Rapid City. It was super-expensive, but they had Ford Escapes, and we wanted an SUV. About a week before the trip, I called Budget again to confirm that they would be okay with my using a Visa debit card. The customer service agent with the heavy East Indian accent asked me to remain on hold while he checked on that for me. He came back in a minute and said it would be fine, but to expect them to charge a $200 deposit which would be refunded when the car was returned. I was happy.

Cut to arriving in Denver last month. After waiting 40 minutes on the "car rental bus island" at Denver International Airport, the Budget bus finally showed up. Only about 20 Hertz, Avis and even Enterprise buses had passed us during that long wait and there were probably 200 people waiting for the Budget bus. All the driver would say was, "Sorry, I have no explanation." And a fight broke out between the driver and a woman who wanted to cram on the first bus even though a second one was pulling up. Ugly start.

After waiting in line at the Budget office for another 45 minutes, we gave our drivers licenses and credit cards to the agent, a young man named Steve who apologized for the long wait. And then he said, "We will need to run a credit check on you in order for you to use a debit card. Please give me your Social Security number." I was shocked. And of course we said no. I explained my conversation with the East Indian agent last week. I shared that there was plenty of money in our debit card account and we knew about the $200 deposit." He said, "Let me get my supervisor."

The supervisor, Monica, came out and said, "I'm sorry but we cannot rent you a car." I gasped. "But we are planning to drive to Rapid City and we fly out of there next week." She smirked and said, "Well, then why don't you take a shuttle or a cab because you obviously have plenty of money." I was taken aback by her rude attitude.

"You're kidding, right?" I said. She said she was not. "Well, then can you tell us another company that will rent us a car?"

"No I cannot," she said. "You will have to take the bus back to the terminal now because we can't help you here." She might as well have flipped us off.

Yes, I was losing it. We went outside and I decided to call my friend, Deidre, who works for a very large corporate travel company - the one that purchased Navigant, where Deidre and I used to work together. Before I could connect with her, my binder with all of our papers, confirmations, AAA Triptik and tickets was hit by a gust of wind and blew off the bus bench. When it hit the ground, all of the papers went flying across 20-plus lanes of rental car return. I screamed. I can't even remember how many people came to my rescue, helping me to chase down all the papers before they could blow off into the great plains of Eastern Colorado. By the time I came back to the bus boarding area, I was having a panic attack. Gary told me to "Release it to the Universe" and just trust that we would indeed get a car. Easier said than done.

Deidre and another old friend and former co-worker, Karen, stepped right in and saved our vacation, which felt like saving our lives at that point. When I could breathe again, I called them and they got us a reservation at Hertz. We took the bus back to the terminal, boarded another bus back to Hertz and were treated WAY differently at the Hertz counter. They were happy to have our business and for about $400 LESS than the Budget jerks. We got a cream-colored Chevy Malibu - not a Ford SUV, but hey, it was a CAR. It had a Wyoming license plate, so we nicknamed it "Wylie Coyote" for the rest of our trip (see photo of Wylie parked under the sign at our little gaming resort in Deadwood, SD).

What I have to say about the whole experience is that I have NEVER been treated with such RUDE behavior in my life as I was by MONICA at BUDGET RENT A CAR in Denver. If that's a "supervisor," then no wonder it's "Budget" because their "service" sure isn't "World Class." And yes, I will be writing a letter to Budget/Avis headquarters because, debit card or not, that woman deserves a swift kick in the behind. Or worse! And now I'll release it to the Universe.