Unexpected rage came quickly this morning, aimed at a manager at Sixt van rental Battersea.
Context. I underquoted for a job. £850, I said. It was a friend.
£560 on van hire, £150 to my nephew. Before fuel that’s £710. With fuel we are at £780. That leaves me with £70 for two days when I didn’t get home until after midnight. My nephew made more than twice my fee.
I THINK I might get £200 deposit back, which will make it less shit. But basically I messed up. I need to get my own van.
That was the maths right up until this morning, when my bank account went BING and Sixt took a further £370 out. For what? I would be paying £300 to do the job. Jab of cold rage right into my middle. Hidden charges. The bastards. Oh the nasty nasty bastards.
It’s a miracle I had my flat keys with me when I slammed my flat door. I’ve never left the house so quickly in my life. Car keys in my fist, down three flights of stairs, into the Audi. Key in the ignition before I’m sitting down.
No seatbelt. A wild eyed version of me gunned the engine swearing quietly. I think I was driving at fifty in a twenty zone with no belt when the direct eye contact of a worried motorcyclist in the other direction grounded me enough to drive more sensibly. Nevertheless it was with a screech of tyres and dust that I came into the Audi lot, slamming the door before the engine was silent, pointy finger right at the manager and the words “You. I want a word with you. I want to know right now how you think you can justify skinning me for £370!”
I am quickly and carefully defused by a wall of men with concerned eyes. Thankfully I have enough grip on myself not to start flailing around. But fuck I’m angry. They don’t let me in until I promise not to punch anybody. It momentarily surprises me that they think I might start punching and then I see myself from their eyes, all sticky up hair and beard and boots and filthy jeans and rage.
He goes on the computer.
I had forgotten to refuel. £190 punitive cost. The Adblue light had gone on to say I needed to top it up in 1500 miles (no kidding – a £10 charge!!). Even though I had dropped the car on time it hadn’t been checked in by the guys until after 6pm. £170. I might expect this sort of thing from a bunch of dodgy geezers. I’m shocked it’s this reputable company. I guess it’s how you get to be big though. We are so used to just shrugging and absorbing the hidden charges. “It’s all there in the fine print sir.” “Yes of course it is.”
It’s amazing considering I came in swinging that they said they’re waiving the late check in – (which is right, as it was back on time). Also I’m no longer paying the punitive extra for the fuel. Just the worth of the fuel.
I’ll wait until I see it actually back in my account but it’s definitely better than it might’ve been and I’m not sure where that rage has gone, any more than I’m sure where it came from. Scorpio rising, I guess.
The sobering thought is that if I hadn’t screamed around that corner like Walter White then I would have never got the fuel charges back. I’m not going to make a habit of behaving like that, but it seems that a certain amount of rage can be helpful in the right context.
My legs were shaking from adrenaline. I had explained the economics of the whole thing to the poor manager, and rather than just being openly bored, he proved himself a good listener. He finished my sentence: “… which means you’d be paying to do the job. I understand. I’m going to see what I can do.” And I think he did. On balance it’s a mixed bag of blame and I’m glad it’s sorted. They checked me in late, I forgot the fuel. The Adblue is a scam by Sixt and they should do it themselves. And that’s that.
It’ll take them a few days to credit it, so I’ll know by midweek if it’s in. I want a nice big electric van of my own please, universe, so I don’t have to spend so much of my time dealing with these bloody rental places. It’s rarely smooth…