Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm going to Kansas City, both of them.

First let me say I didn't understand whether Kansas City was in Kansas or Missouri or both.  If the answer is both, is it one city or is it two cities?  Mystery solved.  There are two different KCs, one in Kansas and one in Missouri.  The locals refer to them as KCK and KCMo.  They are different towns with separate government.  There is also a North Kansas City but I don't remember what state it was in.

I also didn't remember having been to Kansas City before but when I arrived at the hotel, I realized not only have I been to KC before but I have stayed at this exact hotel before.  It is hard not to remember a hotel where you get Monopoly money to exit the parking lot.

It is possible I stayed in room 524 before but since I just started doing these photos this year, I can't be sure.

For all of you that think business travel would be fun, exciting and glamorous, let's go with a story about the wonderful world of car rentals.  I usually need a car.  Miami and San Francisco are the only cities I have been to where I didn't need a car.  When you are staying in KCK and the office you will present yourself at is in KCMo then you definitely need a car.

After completing the paperwork and answering the same old questions (I will bring it back full, I don't need a GPS, I don't want the insurance, I don't want to upgrade unless it is free) the agent tries to talk me into becoming reward member.  I decline.  He explains all of the benefits.  I decline.  He persists by telling me I am stupidly wasting money and points now and in the future.  I decline.  (I have a membership with another agency but they don't have an office at this airport.  I keep this information to myself.)

I am dismissed to locate my car in space A24.

The space that is void of any car.  As are A25 (where I park my luggage while taking this photo), A23 & A22.

The key tag says I am looking for a black Mitsubishi.  There are only two black cars in the lot and clicking the unlock button on the key fob several times, I know neither of these are the car I have been assigned.  It is pushing 100 degrees outside.  It wasn't a short walk to this spot.

I haul my suitcases back inside where the agent is now helping another customer.  When he sees me he stops and says, "Is there a problem?"  I tell him about the vast emptiness that is space A24.  He tells me this isn't possible.  I assure him it is.  "Did you go straight out?"  Yes, I went straight out, I say.  "That's the problem." 

We are not speaking the same language.  I think "straight out" means immediately, he thinks it means I walked straight when I went outside even though his original instructions were to go left as soon as I passed through the double doors leading outside.  Instructions he believes I ignored.

We resolve this discrepancy but ultimately, he still thinks I am an idiot (demonstrated by my refusal to join the rewards program) and have simply looked in the wrong place. He sends someone outside with me to locate the car that I am obviously too dumb to find on my own.

Back in the sweltering parking lot with my chaperone, I follow him to A24.  He stands there - obviously shocked - looking at the empty space as if the car will magically materialize any moment.  When it doesn't, he begins turning in circles rooted to his spot in A24.  Then he starts clicking the alarm button.  I explain that I have already done all of this and point out the two black cars in the lot.  He begins walking away from the spot and away from the doors we came out, further into the lot.  He now has his hand held high above his head and is clicking the alarm button over and over.

An alarm sounds.

The car ends up being way out in this other lot, across the street, behind the barriers.  It has been cleaned on the inside but has not been washed on the outside. 

I won't be joining the reward program here any time soon.

Incidentally, it is ironic to me that the problems with my rental involved a Mitsubishi.  I once worked at Mitsubishi Motors Credit and it was a horrible place to work.  Blatant sexual harassment, overt discrimination in credit decisions (approving unqualified women with "hot" pictures on their license, declining qualified minorities) and other bad behavior were not only tolerated but actively encouraged.  I went on maternity leave while working here and the corporate office came and cleaned house while I was gone.  It didn't matter, I never went back.

Maybe instead of going "straight out" I should have sponsored a party in the Family Restroom at the KC Airport...

...where the occupancy is a whopping 1073.  Does anyone know what state the airport is in?  I don't.

In other strange bathroom news, when I arrived at my customer's office in KCMo the next day I find this to be the situation in the ladies room:

I have never been in a bathroom with giant windows outside of the stalls before.  You can't tell from this picture but this is in an inside corner of the building so the offices on the other hall have a direct view into these windows.  Some woman assures me the windows are tinted but it really doesn't matter.  I have serious performance anxiety.

The view from inside the stall.  If I can see them, I am sure they can see me.

I am lucky they found my car.  I will just abstain from drinking anything all day (not hard for me at all, ask David) and speed all the way back to my hotel with its wonderful unwindowed bathroom in KCK ASAP.

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