Rental Bizarre

Air travel consists of two basic activities: waiting in line and waiting in a chair. As soon as you finish one, you do the other until you arrive at your destination. The trick is knowing when to stand and when to sit. Once you’ve mastered that, you’re ready for the big time.

On our recent LA trip, we had an unprecedented experience while standing in line at Enterprise. Just after joining a line of 12 or so people, six identically suited Enterprise agents swarmed out of the back office and manned nearly every computer terminal. We got through in no time. It was one of my best standing-in-line experiences of all time, if a bit surreal.

Things got weirder. Our agent ushered us over to what seemed like an airplane hangar full of rental cars. We were then personally escorted into the hangar and given our choice of tiny cars. (Went with the Hyundai, to show all those Hollywood types we meant business.)

We kept looking around and wondering, why are there so many people working here? Why are they so damn friendly? On what planet have we landed? It felt like this was the rental car version of Home Plus, the polygamous family business in HBO’s Big Love. Eventually, though, we stopped asking questions and started appreciating the fact that our waiting was finally over.

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