Zip It!


As a dyed-in-the-wool hippie who reeks of patchoulli and dines on quinoa and tofu burgers, I currently use a carshare service rather than savage the Great Mother with my petroleum farts.

I’m signed on with Zipcar, which I’ve been only moderately happy with. While basically they’ve been pretty good, they’ve also changed rules without notifying me, then their customer service rep has sworn up and down that I was imagining the previous rules. They’ve refused to reverse charges that stemmed from their mistakes, and exercised arbitrary judgement at times.

More importantly, Zipcar’s corporate branding is so god damned insufferably perky that it makes me want to chase down their marketing team and force them to watch Requiem for a Dream 1,000 times while orphaned Somali children read them poetry about gangrene.

A friend mentioned that City Car Share, a competitor that operates only in the San Francisco Bay Area, was offering $30 of free driving as a signup incentive. (City Car Share is slightly less perky than Zipcar, though they still seem immensely pleased with themselves). I check out their website and remember vividly that I checked out CCS and decided against them because of the THREE FREAKIN HUNDRED DOLLAR DEPOSIT they require, which quite frankly may not seem like a big deal to you kids snorting smart drugs off each others’ asses and smoking your trust funds in quarter-ounces, but for stiffs like me that’s a big dose of my hard-earned. Mind you, they don’t just get a three hundred dollar authorization (like most car rental rackets) — they TAKE THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS OF YOURS, and keep it until you quit City Car Share. Did I mention that they take THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?

So I says to these people I says to them:

 I have been a Zipcar member for some time and am considering joining City Car Share instead. Your current signup offer is tempting.

However, I would like to know if the $300 deposit that I sign over to you would be required before I try it out.

Like many other Bay Area residents, yours truly ain’t exactly in a spot where I can fork over three crisp bills for you to play with for as long as I stick with your service. That’s pretty much the deal breaker for me. I’d be jake to give your gig a spin, but I ain’t got no three Franklins lying around for you folks to palm indefinitely, not without interest.

Looking forward to your reply. Thanks much for your time.

I am not sure why I start talking like Jack the Kaiser Killer sometimes, but I’m sure it’s infinitely annoying to customer service reps.

Anyone out there want to tell me I’m a cheapskate? It’ll be breaking news on CNN, I’m sure. But a $300 “refundable deposit” for a service I’m going to be using indefinitely seems pretty bogus.

Photo of Model T from Wikipedia.


2 Responses to “Zip It!”

  1. Zille Says:

    Heh! I thought that “Jack the Kaiser Killer” link would take me to somewhere wittily bashing Kaiser, who is currently on my (and half the HMO-using people’s) shitlist.

  2. Thomas Roche Says:

    Nope, it’s Ring Lardner (the elder) whose boxer-baseball player character Jack spoke in rather a colorful way… he was “the Kaiser Killer” in the book of “letters” he wrote home from World War I. I should remember sometimes I’m too obscure even for myself…

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