Great moments in customer disservice

A recent Twitter conversation I had sparked the memory of my worst day at any job ever.

It was Christmas Day, 1989 and I was working at a car rental office by Philly International Airport. I started my day at 7am with 62 reservations and--are you sitting down?--three cars on the lot. Three. On the plus side, I almost always had one car returned just in time for me to be able to rent it to somebody with a reservation.

Think about that last sentence for a second and see if you can spot the MAJOR problem I had all day. I'll give you a minute.

[Whistles, looks around the rooms, checks the time...]

Did you figure it out? Yes, I did almost always have a car for everyone--only it was almost never the kind of car they reserved. "Need a minivan? Sorry--all I have is a convertible coupe." All. Day. Long. At one point I had a family of four with a reservation and no car, so I was authorized to use the second airport shuttle bus to drive them to their destination in Deptford, NJ and later bring them their car. Lukily a car was returned before I got onto the bridge to NJ!

Of course that wasn't the worst part. That came near the end of my day when I called a customer's credit card company for authorization, which was standard procedure. It quickly became non-standard when they asked me to confiscate and destroy his card. On Christmas Day. Friends, I couldn't do it. Even though it would have netted me a $50 check from the credit card company, I just couldn't do it. Nor could I rent him a car, of course. Needless to say, the guy was pissed, but he left quietly enough.

So that was my worst work day of all time. The second worst day was at the same job, about a month earlier on Thanksgiving Eve. Luckily I wasn't alone that night. Third worst would be the three weeks I spent working at a frozen foods warehouse. In January. It was so cold in there that we would go into the 30 degree freezer to warm up. Not fun.