The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

The Smell-Mobile

On February 1st, 2016, posted in: Uncategorized by

flower in car ventI wouldn’t have believed it either, but apparently someone who is industrious, innovative and creative can transport farm animals in a Mazda 3. That’s right. A Mazda 3 is a small car, just a little bit bigger than a tennis shoe, but I’m here to tell you that based on the smell of our most recent rental car, it’s true — this car had obviously been the scene of something horrific in the relatively near past.

To call these four wheels of filth stinky is giving them way too much credit. Hard-boiled eggs are stinky. So is a house filled with the smell of fish for dinner. And broccoli warmed up in the microwave at work notifies the entire floor’s olfactory senses to stay away from the kitchen for at least an hour. No, this car left stinky in its dust. Stinky times 10 — now you’re getting close.

Imagine teasing your sense of smell with a cross between rotten milk, a dead fish, and something deep inside the local landfill — you’re getting close. We let the windows stay open and sprayed it with a shot of Febreze. We even went old-school MacGyver and strategically used a rubber band and a Downy dryer sheet rigged from the air conditioning vents. The result: nothing, nada, zip. I got the impression that the smell had taken on its own life form and was laughing at our futile attempts to dissipate its nastiness. If smell would have the color of funk, this car would have a small cloud over it like Pigpen of Charlie Brown fame.

After about 46 hours of being overly tolerant, we headed back to the rental site. (How we made it 46 hours is one of the great miracles of our time). They probably could smell us coming. They were nice and accommodating, but not particularly surprised when I said, “Hey, we need to exchange cars. The one we have has a strong odor.” Are rental car companies required to disclose if somebody died in the car?

Apparently, company policy demanded that a guy check the car to verify the smell. The poor guy and the half-dozen or so vultures now circling the car had no problem confirming the need for an exchange. After this unlucky dude stuck his head in the car, it was almost comical to watch his retreat. He lurched his head back so quickly from that first whiff, I thought he suffered whiplash. I haven’t seen anybody move that fast since my dad went for his size 52-inch belt, circa 1967, after I deservedly hit my sister with a fishing rod. (My dad disagreed. I didn’t stick around for his explanation.)

The questions are many. What is the quality assurance that cars that smell like feet don’t get rented? Why was there not more alarm over the quality of the product? Where was the empathy and heartfelt apology for such an inconvenience to me and my wife for disrupting our vacation?

At this stage, you want to know the rental company, don’t you? It rhymes with “fudge it.” Pretty much says it all.

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