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February 02, 2010

Beat your own rate, rental car company?

That was Monday.

As I write this Tuesday night, no asking yet. I've been writing all day. Took a mid-afternoon break for a much needed nutella mascarpone crepe and then buckled down again. Or tried to, since I got very little done in the afternoon and instead, my mind wandered. (This is the kind of sentence I'm loath to write, because people -- loving but enthusiastic people like mommies -- read it and start worrying. And then they start asking. When is your dissertation going to be done? I thought you were going to graduate in the fall!? I mean last year? I mean in 2007? Isn't it supposed to take five years? Why didn't you finish with your friend did back in November? How's her job search going? Why couldn't you concentrate today? What's the matter? At least tell me how many pages you wrote today. Why is that an evil question? Are you sure you don't want to be a professor? Really, honey? Then at least tell me why you can't concentrate? If you relaxed and cleared your mind you'd get a lot more done.

So I avoid such sentences at all costs, and I especially avoid calling attention to them by explaining them at length at the top of my blog posts...)

Maybe this antsiness is a sign I need to shake things up.

Drive to Vegas tonight and ask for a comped room. I could. Nowhere to be tomorrow but wherever I am.

Ask the Colonel's ancestors for half of his 13 secret herbs and spices.

Ask five people in the produce section of the nearest 24-hour supermarket what their least favorite household chore is. Just because.

Ask a travel agent about one-way flights to Fiji.

But wait a minute.

I did ask for something. Something simple, but valid nonetheless. I tried to obtain a discounted rental car rate.

I will need to drive to an airport in Texas on an upcoming trip, and after zeroing in on some reasonable prices online I called to see if the phone agent could do one better.

She could not: the phone rates were more than double those online.

Next, I asked if there was a reason why their website showed a price, but the moment I clicked "make reservation," it jumped up by $30.

"You can never tell what the final price is going to be just by looking at the price that's listed. That can change for any number of reasons. Right up until you pay," she explained.

"Wow, it's almost like you're playing a game," I said, my tone friendly. "It's like a treasure hunt. Will you or won't you get the price you were quoted?"

"Yes! Exactly! It's more like the lottery. You can try, but you're never sure what the outcome will be."

"Thank you! I was in the mood for a distraction. I guess I'll spend some time on your website clicking submit and waiting to see if I hit the jackpot."

"Good luck!"

Either she didn't get my irony, or I didn't get hers.

And so I paid. The full internet rate, which wasn't half bad.

As for least favorite household chore, suddenly I'm curious. What's yours? Mine: tugging and tucking the fitted sheet around the mattress. Bleh.
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