Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why Uhaul Sucks

It's 5:10am. I should be sleeping. Instead I'm wide awake and suffering from a serious case of anxiety.

All because of Uhaul.

I think my plans were too well organized: spend the night in London, pick my friend John up in the morning, drive back to Windsor, pick up the truck, load it up, drive to Jeremy's grandparents' place, unload truck, drop truck off, bring John back to London. It all seemed so easy.

It all started with a message.

3:45pm Saturday: a blinking light on the answering machine. "Hi! I'm calling from Uhaul about your reservation for a truck. Unfortunately we don't have any moving trucks available in the Windsor area for a one-way move. What I'm going to offer you is a cargo van for $100 and unlimited kilometers. And an extra day if you need it. Give me a call back so we can set it up."

Jeremy and I looked at each other and erupted into words that I'm sure neither of us was listening to. Finally, he picked up the phone and called Uhaul. We were completely furious.

4:00pm: Jeremy freaks out at the Uhaul guy. "Um ya, I have a major problem with my reservation for 10am tomorrow morning - apparently you people don't understand that we are moving to a city 4 hours away and can't fit an entire apartment into a VAN! I refuse to make multiple trips across Ontario tomorrow, so you better get us a truck here immediately!"

"Sir, we don't rent vans, only trucks."

"Listen dude, I'm on your website looking at a picture of a 9.2 foot CARGO VAN - are you sure you know what you're talking about?!"

4:20pm: I take the phone away from Jeremy. "Okay, hi. I'm taking over this call. I would like to know what the hell is going on with my reservation. I made it a week ago, and if there was going to be a problem getting a truck for me - your company should not be telling me this less than 24 hours before my sheduled pickup. This is completely unacceptable, we will NOT be taking a cargo van, and if you need to - get a supervisor because this will be resolved now."

Uhaul guy (seemed a little afraid of my calm, threatening tone) "Okay miss, here's the thing. We were supposed to have 17 trucks in Windsor for this weekend, but they have not arrived and we don't know what's going on."

So apparently 16 other people are going through the same thing we are right now...

"I don't really care about what happened. I ordered a truck for tomorrow and there better be one available. It's physically impossible to stuff all of my furniture and boxes into a cargo van".

"Okay Miss, would you mind holding?"

25 minutes of holding (on and off) ended in my phone number being taken and a promise of a callback. This as you can guess, never came.

4:50pm: Panic begins. Jeremy and I have made multiple phone calls already, and been promised callbacks from several people. The original person who left the message called to offer us a truck to pick up in Sarnia. A 2 and a half hour drive from Windsor. They were getting desperate, and we were getting angrier by the minute.

I pride myself on being pretty calm in a crisis. I've dealt with high level executives for major companies in North America through previous jobs, and was always able to come up with at least one other option to resolve people's issues. I thought about it, and realized we could pick a truck up in London and drive it to Windsor - but they would have to waive the fee for kilometers for us. And give us a damn good discount.

Apparently this option is not acceptable to Uhaul.

5:30pm: I have to leave for London to bring our cat to John, who is taking care of him until he's allowed into the UK. I'm very very late. There is still no resolution.

7:40pm: arrival at John's house. The story is repeated again, and he can't believe it either. I'm so upset and worried about this whole situation that I forget to be sad about not seeing my kitty for 8 months. (Now I'm wondering if he's scared in the new place with another cat and no me or Jeremy - we've never left him before)

9:00pm: I arrive at Ledawit's house, and immediately launch into the story. She pours us each a glass of wine and I get back on the phone only to find out that:
1. Jeremy had not heard from anybody from Uhaul. Big shocker there.
2. The regional office was closed. That's right - closed at 7pm.
3. The international number "doesn't handle local reservations" so I needed to speak with the regional office in the morning.

My response to the third finding was "Oh so in the morning when I'm supposed to pick up my truck, I should call your company to find out if there will be one there?"

Recognizing that she was not going to win if she tried calming me down, the girl on the other end of the phone stammered some more and repeated herself a few times. I think it made her feel better. It made me angrier.

10:30pm: I start calling other moving truck companies, knowing that I will have to return the truck to London and that the kilometers were going to be very very expensive. Also that this weekend many people will be moving since the 1st of August is only a few days away - so the limited number of moving trucks is becoming even more limited.

National: "I'm so sorry but we don't have any trucks available for the London area tomorrow"
Thrifty: "I'm pretty sure we don't rent trucks" (amazed, I explain that I'm looking at a picture of a moving truck in their ad in the yellow pages)

The call to Budget provided some comic relief. It was a voice activated system (I hate those) asking me several questions.

"What province are you calling for?"

"I heard Ontario, is this correct?"

"Would you like Ottawa, Toronto, or elsewhere?"
"London, Ontario"

"I heard elsewhere, is this correct?"
sigh "Yes"

"Would you like London, Windsor, ..."

"I heard London, is this correct?"

"Please hold, I'm transferring you to a reservation agent." Cue hold music.

A few moments later I hear "If you're calling for Alberta, please press 1. If you're calling for Ontario, please press 2".

I was still laughing when the agent came onto the phone. Evidently you can't rent trucks from their national reservation line - you can only do this locally. Foiled again!

11:30pm: I call Jeremy to share what I've been up to and say goodnight. We both agree to start again in the morning and figure this out. I remind him that John can only help us tomorrow since he has to work on Monday (since he's the other driver, he's a pretty necessary part of our whole moving plan - I'm driving my car and he's supposed to driving the truck)

Right around that time my stomach started doing flip flops. How were we going to move?

Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger Rob said…

    Holy. Fuck.

    I feel there should be something I should be typing here that would hopefully at least bring a small smile (maybe a smirk???) to your face; but I'm at a complete loss. I've already related my U-Haul tales to you and yet they are nothing compared to the situation you are currently in.

    I wish there was something I could do to help. Alas, I took a look in my backyard and all that's back there is an old, busted Taurus - no cube van/truck.

    I hope a solution has presented itself to you by now that isn't too inconvenient.

    U-Haul sucks! Down with U-Haul!


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