Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not Understanding Hertz Refueling Policy is a Costly Lesson

We received an excellent deal on a car rental booked thru for our recent trip to California.  Hertz accepted our bid for a full-sized sedan at $30 a day with unlimited mileage.

When we arrived at San Francisco’s SFO airport the Hertz rental counter was crazy busy. After waiting in line for at least 30 minutes, our Hertz representative was courteous and attentive.  She recommended we sign up for the Fuel Purchase Option (FPO) which she felt was the best refueling deal. We would purchase a full tank from Hertz at a price competitive with local fuel stations (currently around $4.49 a gallon) at rental.  When we returned the car the fuel tank should be as close to empty as possible, since we’d already pre-purchased a full tank of gas. Despite Clark Howard's advice to never prepay for fuel, the thought of not having the hassle of refueling before our return flight was appealing. Yes we both agreed, sign us up for that.  We were told our vehicle, which had been upgraded to a Jeep Liberty, would be ready in about an hour and we would be asked if we wanted the FPO option at that time.

After only 10 minutes, our vehicle was ready.  We were handed our Hertz contract along with the keys to the Jeep Liberty and were whisked off to the stall where our rental awaited us.  It was only after we had left the airport that I realized we were not asked about the FPO option.  Perhaps that nice Hertz representative had automatically signed us up for it.  Our rental contract said something about fuel and services at $9.29 a gallon. Something was not right, we would have to call and get clarification the next day.

Unfortunately Consumer Cellular, my cell phone carrier, does not have coverage in northern California.  I thought for sure I had checked into this before we left, but after losing cell phone coverage shortly after leaving San Francisco I realized I had not.  We decided to operate as if we had purchased the FPO option and talk to Hertz about the incorrect fuel price in our contract when we returned the car.

We filled up our Jeep Liberty's fuel tank the day before our vacation ended.  We had one final day of sight-seeing in addition to the two hour drive from our inn in Cloverdale to the airport.  We would attempt to return the vehicle with an empty fuel tank.

Traffic through downtown San Francisco on our return trip to the airport was terrible.  Plus, our GPS did not recognize streets that were closed due to construction or those that did not allow for left turns between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm on weekdays. After many GPS recalculations, we arrived at SFO’s Hertz car return with no time to spare.  My husband did a quick check-in as I grabbed our bags.  We reviewed our final Hertz bill as we ran to our terminal.  We were charged an additional $9.29 a gallon for 9.75 gallons of fuel totaling $104.66.  

We barely made our flight.  If we had stopped to refuel the rental car, we would have surely missed it.

Obviously the exorbitant refueling charge is mostly our fault for not understanding Hertz’s policy, but I feel Hertz should have verbally informed us of the refueling option stated in our contract when they gave it to us.  With each trip we take my husband complains more about the “travel” part of traveling and how he doesn’t want the hassle any more. Hertz you are not helping my case.

How about you?  Have you ever misunderstood a vehicle rental company’s refueling policy? Or do you follow Clark Howard's advice and always return your rental with a full tank of gas?

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Flirting, My Employee Left a Mess and Other Questions

Since one of my favorite things to do is to answer your questions, I've selected a few recent blog search questions/phrases to provide answers. I hope you enjoy them:

How to get my boyfriend to work?
If your boyfriend doesn’t want to work there is nothing you can do including bribery, coercion, manipulation or trickery to get him to work. If he were to find a job and lacks real motivation, he will most likely quit or be terminated in a few months anyway.

I lost my job. Should I cancel my gym membership?
Can you cover your monthly bills and still afford the gym membership? Is there a termination fee? If yes, consider keeping it. If no, you better cancel. Without a job you will have time to run, walk, ride your bike or find some other form of free exercise you can do from home. Also, you will save gas money working out at home rather than driving to the gym.

Do all girls like to flirt?
No, not all girls.

Why do older women flirt with me?
You are a hottie, they enjoy watching you blush or both.

My employee left a mess:
My boss has a theory that no matter how good the employee a skeleton or two always surfaces after they leave the company. If your employee left a "huge" mess they most likely checked out mentally several months ago. You should have been monitoring their work more closely, and then performed a thorough review of any unfinished work once they submitted their notice. You cannot pursue legal action against them, withhold their final paycheck or force them to return and clean up their mess. Your best bet is to bring in temporary employees to assist, hire an able and competent replacement as soon as possible or come up with a plan to delegate this mess to existing staff.

Did Coco Chanel do an internship?
Nope - there was no internship for Coco Chanel. She learned to sew at the orphanage where she was raised. She got into fashion by becoming a milliner and opening up her own hat shop.

That was fun. If you have a question you would like featured please email I will do my best to post an answer.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The good news is both sides are talking about the deficit

In a meeting with our financial planner, I asked how he thought the outcome of the presidential election would affect the U.S. economy. I was surprised by his answer:

At this point it is not going to matter a whole lot which guy gets elected. 

He is just happy to hear both sides are talking about the deficit which he feels is America's biggest challenge and the sooner this election is over the better.

Speaking of the election in Terry Savage’s* article Who are the worker's dropping out of the search she wrote:

It has been estimated that roughly $6 billion will be spent on the presidential elections in 2012. Couldn’t some of that money be spent more wisely — on creative ideas to generate economic growth? For that’s what it will take to get people back to work — a spurt of economic growth and activity that will create the demand for products and service — and jobs for the people who provide them.

Right now, the only people with secure jobs seem to be the advertising agencies that create those outrageous commercials for both political parties. Money down the drain. And that’s the Savage Truth.
This is just crazy.  6 billion dollars is being spent to clog my mailbox with fliers that immediately go in the trash, my phone with messages I instantly delete, my radio with advertisements that force me to change the station and my TV with commercials I don’t watch because we DVR our shows and skip through them or mute them.  What a waste.  I agree with our financial planner this election can’t be over soon enough.

*I am embarrassed to say while reading Terry Savage's article in our local 50 Plus newspaper I assumed she was a male. Ugh! Once again I am guilty of gender bias.    

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Balpreet Kaur: A Strong Woman

I first learned of Balpreet Kaur and her story on CNN in Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s blog post If We Responded This Way We Would Change The World.

Balpreet Kaur is a Sikh woman who has visible facial hair and wears a turban. Two college students took her picture and posted it on reddit under the caption, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” The photo elicited comments from those who teased to those who were disgusted by the post. After hearing of the taunt Balpreet Kaur posted the following response on reddit:

"Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :)

However, I'm not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating separateness between ourselves and the divinity within us.

By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-)
 So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together t-shirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :)

I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone."The original reddit poster was then shamed into writing an apology.  

There is so much going on here from the original reddit poster who goes by the handle “european_douchebag’s keyboard courage, to Balpreet Kaur using this incident as an opportunity to educate us about her religion to Jodi Lobozzo Aman’s post highlighting Balpreet’s ability to dissolve conflict rather than feed it. 

I want to focus on Balpreet Kaur herself; a calm, courageous and strong women. In this age of get injections or get lost and the quest for beauty even if it hurts it is refreshing to hear of a woman who truly accepts herself.

I can’t help but wonder if more people, including myself, aspired to Balpreet Kaur's standard of inner beauty and wisdom how much better off our society would be. Balpreer Kaur is an inspiration and an amazing example of a strong woman.

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