Virginia is for Suckers Pt 1

Tue, Jan 22, 2013 5-minute read

I promised a story about the mess that happened to us in VA on Saturday, and I’m going to make good on that promise right now. To start, I’ve never been a fan of Virginia at all. Nothing about the state has ever made me excited to be there. The only thing worth going there for is Busch Gardens, and even that pretends to be in different countries. Their highway laws are insane, they have ridiculous interstates, nothing is right off of an exit, the traffic is abysmal, and Virginia Beach is a ghetto. I don’t care what other people say about it. I’ve only spent a little time there, but much like a crappy restaurant you stumble into, that’s all it really takes to decide I never want to go back.

We had to do some emergency Uhauling this weekend, and this is where the madness started. We had to pick up a UHaul in Suffolk, VA, then drive it to Virginia Beach to pack it up, then get my friends on the road to Beckley. Steph and I were going to leave directly from VA Beach so we could make it home in good time. I planned the whole thing out and figured that we should be able to get there and be turning around in 5 hours. I clearly underestimated all the road blocks that we’d come across. We were going to be picking up the UHaul at 1pm and then I figured we should be able to get back on the road around 6:00 or 6:30 at the latest. That would put me and Steph home before 9, and my friends in Beckley by midnight or so. Not too shabby. Boy was I wrong!

We pulled into the gas station where we were supposed to be picking up the truck, and I already had the creeps. It was an old closed Church’s Chicken attached to a gas station. I’ve been in several of these small UHaul spots, and I’m usually not one to judge a book by it’s cover. I walked into this one feeling fairly chipper until it all went down hill. Nothing I say here will be able to fully explain the mess we had to deal with, but I’ll try anyway. When we walked in, Jeff (Ashley’s boyfriend) had already started trying to pick up the UHaul. The woman at the register was already condescending towards us because we were late, but the manager had already told us we could pick up the truck at any time. It got worse as the time went on.

Jeff and I figured out not too long into this that there were several dudes outside smoking marijuana. You could smell it any time you walked past their car. The lady inside also took 40 minutes to check us out, and that wasn’t really even our fault. She took every single customer that came in before us, even though we were there and it should have been a simple UHaul checkout. There was even one guy that came in and dropped crack on the ground. Steph saw it and tried not too look, because those kinds of people tweak out like crazy. Apparently, the guy stared at her for a minute and finally left.

This place was creep as all get out. There was all kinds of sex crap all over the front desk, and condoms in a jar for 99 cents. The lady at the desk kept giving us crap for not picking up the truck at 12, then she asked me to write down my credit card information. Steph and I were both like, “Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.” She also didn’t give us hardly any of the information that we needed, and didn’t even know what truck we were there to reserve. She told Jeff and I to grab the blankets and take them out, and to get the dolly and take it out also. I don’t care to do stuff for myself, but it was the way that she told us to do it. We were so bothered by the whole deal going on there. She would just stop waiting on us every time someone else came in the store. This totally threw off our time. We didn’t get out of there for 40 minutes.

I ended up cancelling my credit card as soon as we got out of there, but not before calling UHaul to verify that the charges had gone through. I wanted to make sure that UHaul actually requires a security code in order to rent a truck. I had pretty much given this woman everything about my credit card in order to get the truck, but I was so scared that she, or someone, would use it for unauthorized purchases. I let UHaul know about the station so they could do whatever they needed to do to check it out. I usually don’t do that kind of thing, but I was so bothered by how we were treated, AND the type of people that were hanging around in there. We just didn’t feel safe in there, and I would hate for other people that were less prepared than we were to end up in there and have a worse scenario.

The good news about all this is that I learned that UHaul customer service is awesome. The woman I spoke with was immediately sympathetic with what we had gone through. She probably could hear the frustration and panic in our voice. She said that she would mention to her boss what I had said and they may end up investigating the site. I’ll definitely be sending her a follow up email with the information so she knows the details of the things we saw and has them on record. I also was sure to tell her that we don’t blame UHaul at all for the experience we had. They can’t always police the places that rent their trucks. Maybe they’ll check into this one and see what we had to deal with.

I’ve got more to this story, but I’ll save all of that for another post. I just needed to rant this one. I think I’ll go ahead and email UHaul customer service since I have all of this fresh in my mind now. Good plan! Part 2 coming soon!