Life in the Big Four, Part VI: Rental Cars

When I first started my job, incredible happiness engulfed me each time I stepped off a plane. The traditional age for a legal car rental is 25. I, with my amazing corporate perks/corporate account was able to rent at 21. To this day, I'm pretty certain that the age limit does not prevent stupid behavior.

Let me flashback to the First Client story. Senior Matt (yes, he finally made it) and I were headed back to the airport. Senior Matt pulled off to "get some gas." Strangely, he headed not for the gas station, but the gravel lot next to the gas station. To my shock, amazement, horror, and excitement – Matt proceeded to "cut donuts" in the gravel lot next to the gas station. Anyone out there who is an auto connoisseur will immediately realize that using a gravel lot to initiate a drift is cheating. I realized this myself. To defend the otherwise straight-laced Senior Matt, I must point out the following:

1) Senior Matt was obviously not an auto connoisseur.
2) We were in a yellow PT Cruiser with chrome 14" rims and tinted windows. This is probably the only thing that kept bystanders from immediately calling the police. They must have thought we were incredibly incompetent gangsters.

The point is this: rental cars are treated poorly.

Often times this is not done purposely. Like all fields, accounting has its horrible drivers. One senior with whom I worked hit a pedestrian while driving his rental car. The pedestrian was legally crossing in a crosswalk with the light. What possessed this senior to run into said pedestrian is still a mystery to me. I imagine it is a mystery to this senior. The pedestrian, uninjured but quite angry, proceeded to give us some NY-style courtesy and kick the shit out of the driver-side door.

I may seem as if I'm rambling a bit. In fact, I'm actually stalling. This is because of an embarrassing moment with a rental car, which I am attempting to avoid telling. Here goes. I am, of course, referring to the instance where I had to rent a purple minivan in West Texas. By myself.

Those of you who live in or frequently visit West Texas know it to be a place of choppers, 68 Camaros, and pickup trucks. Pulling up to the client in a purple minivan does not seem to do the trick. Even the armadillos snicker and gossip about you behind your back. I can't imagine the heavily-tattooed Rocko was particularly impressed with my van when I went down to the unionized loading dock to audit supply chain controls.

"Hey," he likely thought, "Woodstock is a few thousand miles northeast."

My guess is that the shallowness of people like myself is precisely the reason for the severe limitation of rental car types in the corporate rental car rates. If I had it my way, I would repeatedly rent a Mustang GT convertible, even in Manitoba in January.

Rocko would damned sure be impressed with that one.

* This is one in a series of reminiscences about life in the Big Four accounting firms. The author has asked to remain anonymous.

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