Laura and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


We did not have good luck with rental car companies today.

If you recall from a previous post, I had rented a car from Dollar Rent-a-Car for the short term to allow us time to get the documents in order to lease a car more long term. Jeff’s residence visa came through and he did everything necessary to get an UAE driver’s license, so he went out and leased a Honda Civic from Hertz, because they happened to make the best offer. Today was the day to return my car to Dollar.

The car had to be returned to the airport, even though that’s not where I initially booked it, because of the problem of them losing my reservation at the downtown location. The airport is a fair bit away and I’m not yet comfortable with driving directions and we needed gas and I had no idea where the nearest station was or what the gas protocol was, so I felt uncomfortable doing it on my own. I asked Jeff to come along, even though that meant bringing May too, which meant taking a taxi all together for the drive home. Not ideal, but, yeah, I needed help. Ohhh, thank goodness he did come.

First of all, there was no way I could have navigated to the airport on my own. Too many confusing turns and roundabouts and lanes that suddenly disappear and speeds that change, etc. (The gas station was right on the way, so that wasn’t troublesome, and I learned that they pump your gas for you here. That’s nice. Very Oregon-like.) After finally finding the correct terminal and parking garage and rental car return parking spaces, we went in to the Dollar counter and the woman told me my total. I asked her if that included the discount that I had been promised by the rental agent and his supervisor at the downtown location. GUESS WHAT? It did not. She had no record of any such promise. And yeah, stupid me for not getting it in writing. Though, to be fair, I thought that I did, because I had a receipt for 1000 dirhams, which was how much he told me he was going to take off of my bill, but she said that was just a standard credit card hold for traffic violations, or something like that, which had never been mentioned to me before.

We went back and forth for ever. She said she had to charge me the full amount, because if she gave me any discount, it would come out of her paycheck. She eventually called her supervisor who okayed a 100 dirham discount. 100 IS NOT 1000. In dollars, that’s the difference between $27 and $272. Not nothing. But really, it was less about the money and more about the fact that they made me a promise and utterly lied about it. Is there a BBB equivalent here in the UAE? I will find out.

Oh, but it gets worse.

Let me back up in this story to share that when I woke up this morning, I woke up feeling rather blue. It started last night and hadn’t gone away by this morning. (Don’t worry, I think it’s 99% a PMS-related blehness.) So this car nonsense was just poor timing. Not that I would ever really enjoy arguing about money, but yeah, today was an especially bad day for it.


I had been picking her up and putting her back down for most of the time that we were arguing at the car counter. She was getting a little antsy. I picked her up again and smelled something in her diaper, so I whispered to Jeff that we would need to change her soon. As I put her back down on the ground, I realized that my entire arm was covered in poop. My entire arm. And some on my hands. And some on May’s hands. Hahaha, oh Lord. This only happens to me! Meanwhile, we kept right on arguing with the Dollar lady and surreptitiously used a million baby wipes to clean us both off as well as we could. We had to give up at that point and get to a bathroom, so we asked to pay the bill as it was and told the lady that we would be contacting the higher-ups.

But the bill not only did NOT reflect my promised deduction but also DID include extra charges for returning to the airport!!! So we resumed arguing with her. I even had to call the guy at the Dollar counter at the downtown location to remind him that, while I had made the reservation with his location, they did not have my car and that I had to then officially do it through the airport. He was like, “Oh yeah…” and then asked to be put back on with the lady and they spoke to each other in their special language and she nodded and DID NOT TAKE OFF THE OTHER CHARGES. But, yeah, I was covered in poop, so we just had to leave. I will also note that she lied to us about where we could find a restroom with a changing table AND where we could catch a taxi home. She’s just the devil, I guess.

Oh, but it gets worse.

The only bathroom that we could find did not have a changing table in it. So I had to change a very upset May on the counter in between two sinks. There was a woman in the restroom mopping the floor. AND THEN SHE SPILLED HER BUCKET OF MOP WATER ALL OVER MY DRESS. It was a total accident and I’m not mad at her, especially since she gave me the most frightened look. It kinda broke my heart, actually. I’m sure that she could have gotten fired for that and that would have been really disastrous for her. I told her it was totally okay and that I would be alright. Then I went home and napped.

End of story? Nope.

Then it was time to go pick Adele up from school. Jeff had to drive this time, because I am not yet a licensed driver on our new car, just as he wasn’t on the previous one. I got in the car and it REEKED of cigarette smoke even though it was a guaranteed non-smoking car. Jeff doesn’t really have a great sense of smell, so he said thought he may have smelled something when he drove the car home, but he hadn’t been sure. But oh yeah, it smelled so bad that I was nauseous by the time we got home. So now we have to return that car to the airport and hopefully get another one, which I’m sure will go sooooo smoothly. And we can’t do it until Wednesday, because we have no time in our schedules, so the poor kids have to sit in that stinky cigarette-mobile until then.

Okay. That’s all. The afternoon was fine. Good even. Jeff is preparing for a talk tomorrow evening, so I had the girls on my own for the afternoon and tonight. I took Adele to her gymnastics class on campus and May and I took a stroll. I absolutely love it when college boys tell me that she is the cutest baby they’ve ever seen. We picked Adele up and made dinner together and they were both very well behaved about the whole night-time routine. Now they’re quietly in bed and I am getting out all my pent-up aggression into this blog post so I don’t have to have it swimming around in my head anymore.

Don’t rent from Dollar.


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