I’m back from my vacation!
Not only did we go to Las Vegas to get married, we also spent a few days in Orlando. My mother-in-law and my wife’s friend came to visit and they had never been to the United States. If anyone comes to Florida, we always take them to Orlando.
We went to Universal Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Lots of waiting in lines and walking while in Orlando. Hard to tell the economy is struggling judging by the crowds in both places.
I really missed writing, blogging, and keeping in touch with many of you through social media. I did my best to enjoy my vacation but I felt like I’ve been away for so long!
I wanted to share with you a little bit about my Las Vegas trip. Specifically how it began.
If you’ve read my free ebook (if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?), you know I talk about taking 100% responsibility for your life. Not does that include the choices you make, but your response to any situation.
Different attitudes and behaviors create completely different experiences.
I have a perfect story to share from Las Vegas that really tested this.
We arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday after a 5 hour flight. There were 8 of us in total. I rented a minivan to make it easier to get around that week. I’ve rented many cars before. A few times in Las Vegas as well. Never ran into a problem before, during or after the rental process.
The car rental terminal is away from the airport so you have to take a shuttle. Eleanor and I decided to go get the car since it would take awhile. The others would take limo that came from the hotel to pick us up.
I rented the minivan from Payless car rental. Never used them before. Never knew about them. I found them through Orbitz.com. I used them this time because they were the cheapest. Not always the best idea.
We were second in line. A lady was furious at the counter about them not having her rental car. It wasn’t just that they didn’t have her car ready.
They were completely out of rental cars.
That couldn’t be true. A rental car company out of cars? How is that possible? That’s like restaurant running out of food in the middle of the day. Hard to believe!!
I thought this can’t really be happening. Our trip can’t start like this!
Another couple gets into line behinds us. I’d say mid 40’s. They heard about having no more cars and the guy went off. He was angry. Dropping F bombs. Running his mouth. Blah blah blah. Non-stop. I can understand being upset, but he was just crossing the line.
The other lady was still upset too. She wanted her car. We all had reservations, but they couldn’t give us a car. The employees said that people just didn’t return their cars and they have a shortage. They might have well said aliens stole their cars. It still didn’t make sense.
The guy and the lady were both a handful. I started to feel bad for the Payless employees for having to stand there and take this verbal abuse.
They said they had been out since 2pm (it was now 5pm).
It was my turn next. Instead of being like those two, I took a different approach. I walked up, smiled, and asked what were my options. Sometimes being calm goes a long way. Being upset wasn’t going to help the situation at all. I thought I’d be nice and maybe that’d help.
It didn’t, but at least I tried.
I was told I could come back tomorrow morning at 8am and pick up my car. Or there was a car rental place across the street that had a minivan but was more expensive. I didn’t want to do that.
While I was thinking what to do, the lady was still upset. She wanted her car cause she had a meeting tomorrow. The guy was still running his mouth and cursing. His wife was trying to get him to calm down, but he didn’t.
Then I couldn’t believe what happened. A manager (I think) had come out and he was talking with her. After being an ass to her, she finally said they have a car available and will give it to him. What!? What happened to no more cars?
I think the angry lady was too distracted to hear what was going on. I can’t imagine how she would have reacted. It wasn’t fair to her. She was there before him and needed a car. So did all those other people since 2pm.
You know how babies cry and scream for their toy and then calm down after they get what they want? That was him. After that, he calmed down and sort of apologized.
After being shocked that there were no cars available, I was more shocked that Payless miraculously had a car for a guy, who was a first class jerk.
I didn’t say anything to the employee I was talking to. I needed a minivan and not just any car. I just told him I’d be back the next morning to pick up the car. If I wanted, there would be a shuttle that picked me up at the hotel to bring me back to the rental car terminal.
For now, they had a shuttle that would take us to the hotel. I think Eleanor wanted me to be more upset at the situation. I just knew being furious wasn’t going to do anything but upset me all night long. I know what happens when I get upset. It leads to another negative thought and then another.
This was suppose to be a memorable trip. It began that way, but I was thinking more like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine.
The driver said they run out of cars about five times a year. Isn’t that one day too many already? So we just happen to arrive on a day that it happened? What luck.
Eleanor and I had planned to get the minivan and drive straight to get our marriage license before dinner. We didn’t want to do it tomorrow morning, in case of long lines, and rush things. So instead of taking us to the hotel, we asked if he could take us to the courthouse. He said he would take us anywhere we wanted.
That would save us a taxi ride that we would have had to take if we got dropped off at the hotel.
I could have complained to him the whole drive. I didn’t. It wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t do anything about it. I would have just gotten more and more upset. Plus we were about to go get our marriage license, I wanted us to be in a good mood despite what we just had to go through.
Though I didn’t complain at the counter, I still wasn’t happy about it. I used my iPhone to find Payless on Twitter and Facebook later on that night. I told my story to both. I saw on their Facebook page there were lots of complaints. Many saying they’d never use Payless again. Yikes. I found an email address and sent my complaint to customer service as they told others to do.
I went to review sites like Yelp and saw mainly one star reviews for their service. I wish I had saw this before I booked it. That’s totally my fault. I should have done more research since I was using a new company.
I didn’t blame the employees, the rental company, the moon, the stars, or anything else. I took responsibility for the decision I made to go with them. A lesson learned.
The next day
The next day at 1:30pm was our wedding ceremony. As much as I didn’t want to wake up at 7am, I had no choice. I had to get the car and didn’t want to be rushed. It was our big day!
I got up early while everyone still slept. I took a taxi instead of waiting for the shuttle. I wanted to get this done as soon as I could. I called that morning to make sure they had a minivan for me. They assured I did.
I got there before 8am to beat the rush of people that would be coming to get their cars. I was fourth in a slow moving line.
I got my minivan. Talked to a nice employee about yesterday. She said it rarely happens (more on this later).
I told her about the jerk who ended up getting a car. She said she was working in the back yesterday and knew about it. She said whoever was handling him just caved in.
I just hate to see people like that get their way. It’s not how I would act. I’ve been in the customer service business long enough to have sympathy for those who have to deal with people like that.
When I went to the garage to finally pick up the minivan, another customer got upset. He was behind me in line at the counter. He got upset when the line was moving so slow. The employee gave him his car keys and told him to check the car for any damages and bring back the paper with any notes. The guy started yelling and said that wasn’t his job. The last time I checked it was the responsibility of the customer. I shook my head as I stepped up to pick up my key.
What is it with people getting so upset so easily? A couple days later at the Wynn casino buffet, a guy was told he and his wife had to wait for his whole party to arrive before they could be sat. That’s their rule. He got upset and told the hostess that he already paid for him and his wife and that they should play by his rules. Unless he owns the hotel, I hope they didn’t. Is it really worth getting so angry for something so pointless?
If you don’t like your results, change your responses
You only have control over three things in your life, the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take. How you use these things determines everything you experience. If you don’t like what’s happening to you, you have to change your responses.
I certainly didn’t like there wasn’t a rental car for me, but I chose how I would respond to it.
You can do this for anything. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. Change what you daydream about. Change your habits. Change what you read. Change how you talk. Change your friends.
You are in control of every outcome. There is a simple formula.
Event + Response = Outcome
We can blame the event for the outcome. We’re used to doing that. We can blame the economy, the weather, the traffic, the car company, or your lack of luck.
For all of us in line that day, the event was the same. We made reservations and had no car. We all wanted cars. We just had different responses to it. The lady and the guy reacted their own way.
They were stuck in their conditioned responses. They reacted and felt like everything was outside of their control. Something unexpected happened and their first reaction was to get upset.
Did they have to act that way? Not at all.
After I had time to reflect, I realized it wasn’t the end the world.
We were just staying on the strip where taxis are everywhere. A minivan would have been helpful but not mandatory.
Though I would have to wake up early the next morning, at least it gave me enough time to enjoy a breakfast and take a nap (which I did) before leaving for the chapel.
Now if not having a rental car were really the main factor, then everyone should have been angry. But from what I saw, not everyone was. It was their individual responses to not have any cars that gave them their particular outcome.
The same with the guy who lost his patience with the slow moving line. We were all in the same line waiting. Plus, it didn’t look like he was in a hurry when going to his car. He did more yelling than trying to leave as soon as possible. So why get so upset?
In the future, don’t let the situation take control of you. You are in control of your response to the situation.
How did Payless resolve the situation?
First, a manager left me a voicemail later that morning making sure I got my car. She also sent me an email. At night, I realized they were still charging me the same rate, as if I picked up my car yesterday! I sent her an email and left a message that it needed to be changed. I got an email back the next day with the proper charges.
I was also given a free day for the next time I rent a car through Payless. That’s what my email complaint to customer service got me. A free day is okay, but I would have preferred something done this time. A free day next time, ensures they get my business again.
I just read the Payless Facebook fan page again and a week after my incident, someone else posted they were in Las Vegas and they ran out of cars. He said two people came back the second day and they still didn’t have a car!
So a seemingly rare occurrence happened twice in a week. Sounds like a gamble if you rent from them.
There were some positives about Payless. The minivan I was finally given was just a month old, so I liked that. I had no problems returning the car. No hidden chargers afterwards.
Will I rent with them again? Highly unlikely. Based on the overwhelming feedback online and my own experience, I’d go with another company.
The rest of the day rocked!
The trip didn’t start off as planned. A negative way of thinking would be to think that my whole trip would be full of bad luck now. That would have been a horrible attitude.
Instead it turned out great. The rest of the day went smoothly.
On the way to the chapel, we drove by a few. Some looked just average. We passed the famous drive-through chapel, where it said Michael Jordan got married. We came upon Graceland chapel and it looked the best from the outside.
When it was time for our ceremony, I was told to just stand by the front and Elvis would walk Eleanor down the aisle and hand her to me. Eleanor went to the back of the room and waited.
While planning the wedding, Eleanor’s big wish was getting a great looking Elvis impersonator. She didn’t want young Elvis. She wanted the older Elvis. I told her we couldn’t pick the Elvis at this chapel. I wasn’t even sure how many they had. I told her it was highly rated chapel and we’ll just hope we get a good Elvis.
I’ll never forget her face when Elvis walked in. She had the biggest smile on her face. He says hi to her, walks towards me and congratulates me. He was totally awesome. Looked great. Sounded great. He sang “Can’t help falling in love” as he walked her down the aisle. We did our vows. Exchanged rings. Kissed. Then Elvis sang “Viva Las Vegas” to finish it off.
Everyone had a good time. It was fun and quick. We’re both really happy.
We ended up arriving on a bad day (no cars), but that didn’t stop us from having a great week. It made it more memorable for sure.