Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer
dougs

Aliens abroad ... the truck story.

I needed to hire a vehicle.

I'd previously established that the usual car hire places aren't satisfied with anything less than a major credit card.
However, U-Haul are allowed to take a Visa Debit card, a piece of plastic with which I am blessed.

I nosed around on the U-Haul website, and determined that the Capitol Hill branch of U-Haul was the easiest for me to get to on foot and using the Metro. I phoned central bookings (a 1-800 number) and spoke to a nice gentleman there. I explained that I wanted to hire a small pickup truck from U-Haul at Capitol Hill, and he said that they could do that. I told him that I had a Visa Debit card, rather than the more usual credit card, and he said that this would be fine. I mentioned that my driving license was a UK/EU driving license, and he told me that any driving license would be perfectly good. He took my card number and my booking. He attempted to put me through to the depot, but the line was constantly engaged. I needed to speak to the depot, he said, in order to pin down the final details of when I would be picking the vehicle up and so on. He tried to connect me once more, without success. And so he gave me the number of the depot (another 1-800 number), he wished me well, and we disconnected.

I phoned the depot on the number supplied several times over the next hour, but the line remained busy. Eventually, I decided that I would just turn up, and sort out the details over the desk. I strolled down to the Metro, hopped on a train and went down to Union Station, walked round the corner and into the depot.

He'd never heard of me. His colleague hadn't heard of me. I wasn't on their list, and they didn't have any vehicles that were free anyway. They could get me one for Tuesday, perhaps -- if I faced east and sacrificed a badger -- but not today, not at all. I asked them to check the computer for my booking, and they solemnly informed me that my truck was at Hyattsville, over the hills and far away.

I walked back to Union station and onto the Metro once more. At Hyattsville, in the baking heat of the noonday sun, I walked round to the U-Haul depot there, and consulted with the young lady behind the counter. I appeared on her list, and she had a vehicle with my name on it, and could she please take a look at my credit card?
I explained that the gentleman at central bookings had told me that a my Visa debit card was perfectly in order, and that in fact he'd taken the booking using this very card. She told me that it was perfectly in order to book using a Visa debit card, but in order to actually hire a pickup truck or a small van, I would need a credit card. You see, the pickups and the vans are leased by U-Haul, and the terms of the lease forbid them from being hired out on debit cards. With my debit card, it was perfectly in order for me to hire a stupidly large box van and could she just check my driving license ...
I explained that the gentleman at central bookings had told me that my UK/EU driving license would be perfectly good, and she hummed and haaed and looked at her employee manual and phoned someone, and decided that yes, it would be fine.

And that's how I hired my little pickup truck large box van today.
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