Now I know I say this every time but as it needs repeating often and in order to create a little suspense in the budget story I’ll insert it here - the totally lax security at Italian and other southern European airports and on flights to Britain makes a complete mockery of the pathetic flappings of the British customs. At Stansted all our dinky little bottles full of explosives in little plastic bags (very frightening to terrorists plakky bags what!) and shoes off and belts off and tasting the howler’s water and fruit juice (like a dedicated terrorist is really going to prefer his explosives in a babies bottle rather than bottles of contact lens cleaner which they don’t make you taste) and security cameras and long double-back queues and hoodies off and repeated document checks, yet, when I came through Italian customs I did it with metal belt on, jacket on, a half-litre bottle of explosive coke, a half-litre bottle of detonating water, a tube of highly explosive cream and a very sharp pointy object that I won’t describe in case you can get arrested posthumously as it were… and the metal detector didn’t even ping. It doesn’t actually make British customs that effective.
If I had been one of these imaginary terrorists I’d have waited until we were just about to land at stansted and then blow us all up but I have the tiniest of sneaking suspicions that and dedicated terrorists might just know all this already. It would be risible if it wasn’t so annoying.
So back to budget. On Budget’s booking site driver and credit card holder are separate and the booking is accepted even if the name of the driver is different from that of the credit card holder. The wife pays, I drive. They accept that when you book. But when you get to Britain they tell you that the driver must be the credit card holder. Luckily the wife had her driver’s license with her but of course they wouldn’t accept her without her being named auxiliary driver, at an extra cost of £8 a day. An extra £50 quit for nothing. So obviously I went into woozle mode. These girls are SO rude, especially the smarmy Irish tart, in fact if anyone has time to spare at stansted and wishes to waste some of it by messing her about (there’s only one Irish girl there afaik) without booking a car I’d be most obliged. We had three choices, back out and pay £20 quid cancellation despite the fact they were pissing US about and not the other way round, pay the £8 extra driver or for £10 extra a day get fully comp insurance and get an extra driver free. FREE!!??? So we told them to fuck their car and went off to try to get another car with another company. Of course nobody had anything so we had to go back to budget tail between legs to the obvious enjoyment of the peroxide tart who, when I enquired whether fully comp meant that if I totalled the car they would really pay out, told me in that condescending tone that these sorts of nonentities all seem to have as standard, that she wouldn’t give me the car if I was going to smash it up. If she’d been my daughter I’d have whipped her arse with a slipper. I mean, like I am really going to smash a car up with a wife and kid in it. Like you really need to learn some manners girlie. Anyway we went for the fully comp which was of course exactly what they try to get you to do. Well done budget. I will observe the recession’s effect on you with great interest.
When we come over, with the howler and everything, we need a car with a boot to put stuff in. But to date every time we come over we have to go up a class trying to get a car with even just a normal bloody boot. But it seems that as the size of the car goes up the boot gets smaller. This time they gave us, because you can’t choose, a Subaru Impreza. Crap bleeding car that is. For about five minutes I quite like the experience of discovering something so totally stupid, it makes me chuckle, but this was so exceptionally stupid it took all the pleasure out of it.
It’s a sports model. The lowest car I have ever driven, the most radically uncomfortable car I ever sat in, like sitting in a bloody bucket. Extremely long bonnet, ridiculously long bonnet, miniscule boot, rock hard seats, no bloody ignition key, you just push a button, poxy remote locking thing, huge built-in sat nav, like a TV it was and….. and… no acceleration. Sure it does 140 mph (very usefull on roads with a piddling 70mph limit) and looks, so I’m told, and sounds really aggressive and mean but I had a race with a transit van and lost. Madness. You couldn’t accelerate up hill in 4th. Even the Kangoo can accelarate in 4th.!!! Ooh, but to be fair remember you can still do 140mph. It was so low that as you pootled along it picked up every bit of gravel and stone on the road which banged against the tinny sounding underside making so much noise that it was like driving on a gravel road. Then turning right it was practically impossible to see anything because the mirrors and small windows and window frames got in the way and despite the huge bonnet you were so low inside that you couldn’t see it so I spent the entire week asking the wife to tell me how far away from the kerb we were and whether we were going to ram that lorry up it’s exhaust or not. Then of course we got a puncture. On Saturday at a quarter to five and what do we find, yup, one of those poxy half-size wheels, top speed 80 kph. But luckily on Sunday we managed to get to kwik fit, Hurrah! (more thieving bastards) who of course had to change the wheel - too difficult and technical to actually repair it obviously - and charged us £174 for the privilege. And wouldn’t you know it, tyres are not covered by fully comp insurance.
So all in all Budget have lost a good customer and as many other customers as I can manage to lose them. Small satisfaction but worth the effort. So if anyone does get a hire car and gets a puncture, don’t tell them. Get an inner tube put in for a couple of quid and let them sort it out when and if they ever find it.