Friday, July 11, 2008

rental cars are totally negotiable at the counter, who knew?

Thought I'd share this revelation I had over the weekend. At the counter of the Dollar rental car of Oakland International Airport, I was offered the chance to upgrade from my mid-size to an SUV.

I laughed. Why would I just want to pay for more gas to drive a vehicle that would never leave asphalt? She said I had a point.

Undeterred, the sales rep. offered a convertible.

Well, we were going to be doing some scenic driving around Yosemite and Tahoe, maybe it would be fun with the top down, I thought.

"Maybe... How much more would it be?"

She punched in some numbers and quoted me at $280 for the week. I guess turning 25 was worth it. But on a lark, I thought I'd haggle -- make my Armenian relatives proud.

"I'll give you $200. That's such a rounder, prettier number."

OK. She typed away on her computer and through some combination of black magic and Midi-chlorians, arrived at a daily rate that would be < $200. The final total turned out to be $185.

"Thank you!" I cheerily replied as I did a little jig that thankfully was obscured by the counter.

I wish I'd known this back during our startup days, so I thought I'd pass this along for you to try out during your next trip out to Sand Hill Road.

All that said, Zipcar still reigns supreme in my book, despite being haggle-free; three years sans car ownership and I couldn't be happier.