Corporate Grudges

I don’t have the luxury of corporate grudges in my profession.  As a third-party site selector I pride myself on being unbiased.  I’m not prejudiced by brand.  Every group is a different story altogether.  My primary objective time in and time out is presenting the best overall value and experience to my client.  Saving money is important but not at the cost of sacrificing a successful meeting.  Allow it to be said now and unequivocally, my commission is never ever at the forefront of my or my clients buying decision.

Similarly, I can’t hold a grudge against a brand.  If I’m not presenting the whole picture to my client about availability in a certain area, then I’m doing them a disservice.

That said, I’m perfectly fine holding a personal corporate grudge.  And I’ll say it here and loudly.  I WILL NEVER USE U-HAUL EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFETIME.  It pains me that U-Haul has become a ubiquity like Band-Aid and Coke and Kleenex and Hotel Lobbyist (J).  When I hear someone is renting a U-Haul to do their in-town move, I make them clarify.  Are you sure you didn’t mean Penske or Budget? 

This grudge against U-Haul is now eight years old.  When I moved from Boston to Washington in August of 2003 I had the worst commercial experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

I’d rented a truck from my local Somerville office only to find that when I arrived, it wasn’t available.  Since I was moving the next day, that response was just a bit south of acceptable.  After waiting over an hour and still not being able to get in a truck the size I’d requested, they directed me to the nearest office that had the truck I needed, in Worcester, nearly an hour east of where I’d lived.  I made the trek to Worcester only to find that that truck they were prepared to rent me was in such deplorable shape, that by the time I passed the original Somerville location, I wasn’t sure the truck could go another mile, let alone the five hundred I’d planned for it over the next two days.  Miraculously, a truck meeting my needs appeared in Somerville with only a third of my moving day completely wasted.  Once my truck was loaded and on the road I figured I was home free.  That is, until I pulled into the U-Haul storage facility in which I’d planned to store most of my possessions in Hyattsville, MD.  I would be living in a hotel for the first seven weeks of my life in Washington and so storing my furnishings.  The facility did not have the unit I’d reserved, not the right size, and not the right floor.  I was not about to haul all my furniture up the stairs to the unit they were holding for me on the one and a halfth floor.  After an hour of discussion, miraculously another unit matching the description of the one I’d initially reserved made itself available.  Once moved into that unit, I thought I was in the clear for the next seven weeks.  That is, until three days later, on my second day of work, while manning a booth at Affordable Meetings for my new employer, U-Haul called me to alert me that my unit had been broken into the night prior.  Clearly an inside job.  Only units without the second padlock supplied by the unit owner were broken into.  What a wonderful establishment this world of U-Haul. 

I work in customer service and I always have.  I couldn’t have been more underwhelmed by their lack of concern at every turn.  In the end, when I relayed my sob story to them, can you guess what I was offered?  A $20 VIP voucher for my next U-Haul rental.  Are they kidding?  My next rental?  And thus I have spent the last eight years vehemently dissuading anyone I know from using them in the future.

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