Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but I would still not exactly recommend them. In order to explain, we must go back a month or so…

Even though I ended up selling the majority of my big furniture on Craigslist pre-move, I still wanted to keep my bed frame which was just a little too big to fit in my Dad’s Santa Fe (the original plan had been for both my dad and my brother to bring their cars (my brother’s car is my car’s twin – also a Tucson)), but once I really looked around at what I had and the sizes of boxes and such, I realized it would just make more sense to rent a small truck. I looked around online and, for a 10 foot truck, Budget was offering the best price. Now, with Budget, you book through a central system and then get assigned a pick up location. I was assigned a location about five minutes from my apartment. Easy-peasy, no?

Yeah right. Now, as always, I should have been more proactive with the whole thing and followed up directly with the pick up location, but with finals/packing/selling stuff on Craiglist/graduation/saying goodbyes, I didn’t. Let that serve as a warning, people. Anyway, Monday morning of the move rolls around and we are scheduled to pick up the truck at 12. I have the service elevator and loading dock in my apartment reserved from 2-4. My dad and I get to Budget and the woman tells us that she has NO 10 foot trucks, she’s never had any 10 foot trucks, and she doesn’t understand WHY they would tell us that she had one because they are all reserved for in-town moves. Instead, she will give us a 16 foot truck. Now, I don’t know how familiar you all are with trucks, but there is a significant difference between the two. The 10 foot truck is kind of like an overgrown van. You know it’s a truck, but it’s all one piece, it’s not that tall, and it’s really not THAT overwhelming. The 16 foot truck, however, is like a junior semi-truck and it is HUGE and TALL and massively overwhelming. My dad was very sweet and said he thought he could drive it, but after a family conference, we decided that wasn’t going to work. Plus, there was absolutely no way I had enough stuff to fill the 16 foot truck – all my boxes would just be sliding around and all over the place. Not good.

I tell the woman that we will not be taking the 16 foot truck and I call the central booking line for Budget. It turns out you have to talk to an operator who puts your “ticket” into the system and then a booking agent will call you back within 2 hours. In the meantime, my mom is calling other vendors and finds a U.Haul with two available trucks about 15 minutes away. The only issue there is that it will cost about $75 more. My parents are very nice and offer to cover the difference, but I feel bad and want to see if I can get the Budget thing to work out (mistake # 2). Rodney, the booking agent, actually calls within a half hour and tells me that there are no 10 foot trucks to be had in all of Arlington, Virginia, BUT that if I am willing to drive to Falls Church, he has a 10 foot truck there AND he will give me a $25 credit for going out of my way (Falls Church is next to Arlington, people, where Jill lives, and approximately 25 minutes away – of course I said yes). So my dad and I hop in my car and set off for the Falls Church Budget office. However, when we get there, the truck woman is off getting lunch. So we wait. 15 minutes later, she arrives, only to tell us that while she does have a 10 foot truck, the transmission on it is shot and she told Rodney that. Note that after this point in the story, Rodney is no longer picking up his phone or returning my calls. She then says that she doesn’t know why Rodney sent us to her, but that she’s pretty sure there are no 10 foot trucks to be had in all of Northern Virginia. Awesome.

So at that point, I admit defeat, my dad and I go pick up the U.haul truck, and get back to the apartment with 45 minutes left on the elevator/loading dock. We haul ass and use 2 dollys and a bell cart to hustle everything downstairs to my mom who is organizing the truck. The fifi family is pretty darn athletic and awesome, so we are able to get everything through the elevator and down to the loading dock by 4. Luckily, there is room on the loading dock for two trucks and the guy who had the dock reserved at 4 was very nice and said that of course he didn’t mind us sticking around and that we were not in his way (which, for the record, we were not). That did not stop the bitchy front desk woman from coming and yelling at us that our time was up,* but whatever. At that point, the attitude was flowing right back** and I won.

So anyway, you might be asking why I’m writing about this now? Well, not only did I end up having to pay $75 more for the U.Haul truck ($100, really, if you count the discount Rodney promised me), BUT Budget also charged me a cancellation fee which I, of course, contested. I thought I had settled it with Budget myself after wasting a considerable amount of time on the phone with various people (Important lesson here people: Whenever you are dealing with a situation where things are getting sketchy, take lots of notes and ALWAYS get the names of people you talk to so you can refer to them later. Although it didn’t work in this case-mostly because I didn’t feel like wasting anymore time weeding through the hierarchies of Budget management- this technique will generally help you to get your way), but finally gave up and deferred to AmEx (I heart AmEx). The charge has now been refunded.

Ultimate lesson of all this: Moving is a bitch, but if you must rent a truck yourself, go with U.Haul.

Note: I am very very very glad that my firm is paying for movers to NYC. Hopefully this will result in much less hassle.

*This is the same woman that yelled at the boyfriend and me the weekend before when we somehow managed to get locked out of the apartment. The building has keys to all our apartments, but she kept threatening to make us call a locksmith (“we don’t do lockouts on the weekends”) and made us wait 30 minutes before she finally agreed to let us in the apartment (“Just so you know, you only get three lockouts before we won’t do it for you and you have to call a locksmith.” fifi: “Well considering this is the first time and I am moving next week…” the boyfriend: (elbowing me): “You can be a bitch AFTER she lets us in the apartment.”).

**Note as well that my building management company had to have been THRILLED to see me leave. We did not have the greatest relationship – all their fault – that cost them quite a bit of money, (another story for another day, but in summary: they let someone in my apartment when they were not supposed to and did not supervise that person and that person went through my drawers, stole my spare key, and stole my car. In an unrelated incident, they lost my full length cashmere winter coat and thus ended up writing me a check for $500 for that one) so I think we were both very happy to part ways.

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