Another chapter of RKDeem’s history.
Through college, I worked at a fish market to sponsor endeavors of
bar/saloon exploration. The fish market was a perfect fit for me
because I love fishing and enjoy fish, the job always brought an
element of surprise (you never knew what types of interesting species
would be bought from the wholesalers at the Fulton Fish Market in NYC
or what types of creatures you’d find in their bellies when you were
filleting fish), and I worked with some amazing characters who could
drink you under the table, swallow anything raw, and tell stories that
would make a grown man blush. After graduation, I had to find a real
I interviewed with Enterprise Rent-A-Car a couple weeks before
graduation and they hired me right away. They determined my salary
would be approximately $30,000 and if I played my cards right, I could
be making $100,000 in a couple of years. Everything sounded too good to
be true, I was right.
After one week, I had realized I would be making more if I stayed at
the fish market and I’d be enjoying myself a lot more too. I hated
every day at Enterprise and everyone I knew hated it too. No one worked
there because they wanted to be there, that was the first issue. We had
a former computer software salesman who’d been hit hard by the dot com
bust and his family couldn’t afford to live off their 401k any longer,
he took a job at Enterprise and took it seriously, he needed to put
food on the table. Whenever we were driving together alone, he’d tell
me how things were so much better at other jobs, he kept a big warm
jacket with the logo of his old company printed on the front, he wore
the jacket with pride and told me that he received the jacket as a
gift, he’d say, “Look at this nice jacket, can you believe that they’d
actually give these out to employees for free? That was big time, that
was a real nice company”. He sounded like a guy who was dumped but
still in love with the girl who told him to leave.
There was a Mormon girl, she was pleasant and some days cried. She
couldn’t understand how people got to be this mean, how people could
stab her in the back (more on this later). I was fresh out of college
and she exposed me to something that I had never heard before and it
honestly made me quite uncomfortable, she told me she was trying to get
pregnant with her husband. I really liked this girl, she was very cool
and hip, but this made me very squimish, like what do you say in
response to that kind of statement?
Mormon: Yeah, me and my husband are trying to get pregnant.
RKDeem: (stares blankly at the dashboard, 3/4 tank of gas, what radio
station is this, is the air on?) Uhhh, that’s pretty cool.
There was a tiny thought in the back of my head that thought the
suggestion of trying to get pregnant was almost perverted, like why
would you tell someone about that, now I have inappropriate
visualizations in my head.
There was Joe. Looking back, Joe was the most awesome salesman I have
ever met, I’m telling you, he was everything you think of when you
think of a salesman. This leads me to an important element of the
Enterprise Rent-A-Car experience, you need to know that we had one
objective that we were constantly monitored on, we needed to sell
damage insurance to at least 40% of the customers who rented cars from
us. I guess this is where Enterprise Rent-A-Car makes there money
because they were adamant that you need to hit this goal. If you went
under 40%, you would have to fill out a form stating that you were
underperforming and come up with an action plan on how to address it.
When you sold someone insurance, you’d ring the bell in front of the
office, Joe was always ringing that bell. To be clear, I did not want
to be like Joe. Joe’s approach to selling insurance was this:
1. An extremely thorough “walk around” of the vehicle to document every
minor scratch, bump, chip, and imperfection on the car. He’d then
emphasize the great care and pride Enterprise Rent-A-Car takes to
ensure their cars are maintained at the highest level and when each
customer returns the car, the same detailed “walk around” would be done
again to ensure no damage or depreciation was done to the vehicle.
This scared about 25% of the people into taking the insurance off the
2. He would then say something to the effect of, “I’ll put you down for
the insurance that covers your deductible, that’s only $9.99, but if
you don’t want to have any hassles we can cover it entirely for $15.99.
This probably added 10% more bell rings.
3. The remaining 65% of the customers is where he really separated
himself. If the customer said he didn’t need the insurance or had some
credit card that covered these types of issues, this is where Joe would
dig in and fight over every detail, he wouldn’t take no once, he would
not take no twice, he would only take a third no. Most customers viewed
this as harassment or at least annoyance, Joe viewed this as properly
informing the customer.
This added about 25% more bell rings.
Joe’s other claim to fame is that we only had one bathroom in the
office and the bathroom was very close to our cubicles. Joes would have
legendary bowel movements that would stink up the office for hours. He
once told me that he passed gas in a car on Friday, picked it up on a
Monday and it still smelled when he returned.
This entry is getting long, so I’m going to list out the reasons why
the job is the worst ever, makes Dangerous Catch look like a walk in
10. We had to wear business attire, but wash and vacuum about 10 cars a
day. In August, that made you a smelly and disheveled mess, in
February, the water and soap would freeze before you could wash it off
or dry it.
9. Not sure if this was the worst part of the job or best part, but
you’d drop cars off to customers at local dealers, sometimes it would
be too busy for someone to pick you back up and you would have to sit
in the lobby of a car repair shop for an hour or two.
8. Our $30,000 salary was based off the assumption that you’d work
overtime and Saturdays. It was about 50 or 60 hours a week for $30,000.
7. We had green screen computers, I still think they use them. No
internet, no MS Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, no solitaire, it was
strictly built to rent cars.
6. We constantly had to call insurance companies to gain their
commitment to cover the rental car for people in need of one after an
accident. Half of day was spent calling insurance companies.
5. People hated us. Mercedes and BMW owners got a “free loaner” when
their cars were in for repairs. These dealerships would just pay
Enterprise to loan them the cars. People expected us to hand them the
keys and let them go off on their business, but we still needed to
capture their information and try to sell them the insurance.
4. Coworkers were always getting pissed off and this led to fights and
tears. Some customers never took insurance and some always took the
insurance, office fights would break out to see who would have to be
saddled with the non-insurance customers and who would win the right to
have the customer who was guarenteed to take the insurance. I’ve seen
two people running full speed, pushing each other, and jockeying for
position at the counter when a sure thing customer was approaching,
I’ve seen every person in the office quickly pick up the phone and call
an insurance company to look busy when a non-insurance customer walks
3. The scariest part of the job was early on chilly mornings we would
have to pick up all our cars at all the dealerships. We would have to
pick them all up and return them to our office before business started.
This meant we could let the
m warm up and properly defrost our
windshields, we drove with zero visability, sometimes looking out the
driver side window to find our way back to the office.
2. Washing and vacuuming cars all day seemed like an awful waste of a
college education, but this was made worse by the many customers who’d
fill the car with McDonald’s Big Mac wrappers, half eaten fries, and
several soda cans left on the floor of their vehicle.
1. There was no incentive to work hard, only to achieve the 40% of
customers who’d take the insurance. Sometimes colleagues would somehow
sell the insurance to their first two customers and then do everything
in their power to not take on additional customers who could
potentially ruin their high percentage for the day. This was another
root of office animosity.
One last note, people that rent the cars do not destroy them, it is the
pissed off and stressed out employees of Enterprise Rent-A-Car that
beat the crap out of the cars. I have seen pick up trucks
intentionally fish tailed across the parking lot, mini vans burn out
across the intersection, emergency breaks applied at 60 MPH, and Geo
Metros on two wheels, don’t buy an old rental car because the employees
take their anger out on them!