I’m lucky enough not to need my own car, partly because there’s a car rental company called Streetcar who let me hire a car at the end of the street, for a minimum of 30 minutes for just £3. Which is extremely efficient, useful, and has worked out very very well for me.
So inevitably, capitalism and globalisation had to come in and ruin it all for me. To whit, American company Zipcar went and bought Streetcar, which was doing perfectly well all by itself.
To begin with, they were doing very well. Zipcar went all American in the merger process, producing glossy websites and letters detailing the merger procedure and what would happen next, reassuring us all and giving us lots of glossy if useless information (so I can hire a car at two specific streets in Cleveland, USA if I want to. Great) before the switchover happened.
Then the switchover happened, and two rather annoying things transpired:
– I can no longer hire cars by the half-hour. The minimum rental period is now one hour, which makes hiring a car to collect a pizza a bit of an economical non-starter.
– The UK website at zipcar.co.uk keeps quoting the American contact number. And I can’t really call a 1-888 number from my British landline without incurring a significant cost.
– When I ask to hire a car, it shows me all the cars that are available across London. Not exactly handy if I don’t feel like traipsing all the way to South London to pick up a car.
Oh, and can I find a way of complaining about all these changes? Nope!