Whenever my laptop takes a crap, every few months it seems, I send it to Dell and then march over to my local Rent-a-Center for a temporary replacement…all in the name of keeping this exciting e-zine percolating. This will be my last visit to Rent-a-Center and this time it’s not because of the beer-soaked flat-screen incident.
This time I even called first, which I never do, and was told, “We don’t rent laptops by the week anymore, only by the month.” So I called the other Rent-a-Center in town, expecting the same, but the lady said, “Sure, weekly’s fine.”
An hour later I am at the desk arguing that very point.
Of course, the last person on the phone was mistaken. “But monthly is our new policy.”
Eventually, with some haggling on my part, they agreed to a weekly rate and they handed me that awful 17 page form. Have you seen these? They’re like waaaay to long to fill out on your lunch break.
“Ummm, why can’t you use the form I filled out the last time I was here?”
“Sorry, you always have to fill out a new one for each rental.”
So I spew out a number of fictional references and list NASA as my employer—you know, the usual—and then hand it to the guy with my credit card.
“Ahh, we don’t take credit cards, we’re going to have to check your references.”
“Ummm, the references on the sheet?” I don’t even remember what I wrote already.
So this guy comes back in about five minutes. “Umm, the first two numbers didn’t work and the third number is Phoenix Children’s Hospital.”
“Yeah, ahhh, they know me there…. Look, dude, why are you calling for references? I rent here all the time, there’s never been a problem (I left out the beer-soaked flat-screen incident). How about if I use this place as my reference?”
He proceeded to explained how they no longer take credit cards as collateral so they must check references.
“So I need to give you three names with three phone numbers that match?”
I don’t remember names and numbers and stuff, thus the Arabic Pig Latin I usually enter into such forms. I thought about leaving but then I thought about Mr. Winslow, our Commander and Thief over at the Discord.
“Where’s that post, Zano! What am I paying you for, Zano! I said two coats of wax, Zano!” and “You’re cutting too close the cuticle, Zano!”
Then I thought of the fans, or in our case, fan—no, not the one I use to fan Mr. Winslow. So I did what anyone would have done, I gave them all the people working on my psych unit at that particular moment in time. I knew the numbers and I knew who would be answering the phones. These loyal colleagues apparently verified my good name, so I didn’t have to fire anyone. In just under two hours I was able to walk out with a laptop for one week for 23 bucks. In fact, I am typing this anti Rent-a-Center rhetoric with one of their rented Toshibas, the bastards. But I did let them know on the way out the door my tenure here at happy acres was winding down. Next time my Dell craps out, don’t be surprised if the same joke scrolls across our marquee for a couple of weeks. Oh, that happens anyway? I’ll have to look into that.
You would think our story ends here…but it doesn’t. The next day the rumors started at work that I was applying for a job at….yep, at the Rent-a-Center!!!!! I guess they were a little vague about the type of reference.
Oh, and get this, after asking my employees about how responsible or not I am, they asked them if they wanted to rent anything today. Spamming my peeps? Really? Is there a Loaner Loft in town somewhere? Geesh.