I ventured to Chicago yesterday. It was only my second time in the windy city.

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It was a good trip with the exception of a rental car nightmare. Knowing that there are some good suppliers in Chicago that you may need to visit, I thought that I’d share my bad experience so perhaps I could prevent one for you.

I flew into O’Hare, which had no shortage of rental car companies nearby. I’ve had some pain-free experiences with Thrifty in the past, so they were my choice yesterday. Bad move!

I arrived in the late morning, ahead of a 1PM meeting. Well, to get a rental car at O’Hare, you need to get a shuttle to the rental car facility.

So much time – and countless Hertz, Dollar, Alamo, and Avis buses – went by before the Thrifty shuttle arrived. Then, it was an unbelieveably long drive to the facility.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

After another long wait in line, I was told to wait outside for a Dodge Avenger. After about 5 minutes, one of the car jockeys asks me what car I’m waiting for and tells me that my car will be next.

After at least 10 more minutes, another car jockey in an Avenger drives up and…drives past. I approach that car and the jockey tells me it’s not my car.

Soon after, the jockeys begin arguing over whether or not it is my car. The first jockey tells me that it is and I can get in. I do.

But when I try to exit the lot, the guard at the booth tells me it is NOT my car, that there is nothing he can do, and that I need to go back inside. I do.

There, the counter rep changed some stuff in his system, had me sign the new contract (with a $15 discount for my inconvenience, big whoop), and tells me to get back in the Avenger. I do.

Then I drive back to the gate but…the guard isn’t there! I beeped and the guard walked in virtual slow motion and sent me on my way.

Total elapsed time between baggage claim and leaving Thrifty’s parking lot: 90 minutes!

So I was late for my meeting. Fortunately, my clients were very forgiving.

Getting back to Thrifty was not much better. They are more off the beaten path than the others – the Rental Car Return signs at O’Hare don’t even have their name on them.

Overall, it definitely seemed that Thrifty didn’t understand the business traveler. Shouldn’t their associates be trained on how people need to be places?

Perhaps I should have known by their name that they aren’t geared for us road warriors.

I also have a reservation with Thrifty when I go to the “ProcuRiba” Empower conference next month. My first inclination was to cancel it, but I think I’ll keep it to see if it is just their Chicago location that is so pathetic. A quick googling didn’t turn up any ATL-specific Thrifty complaints.

But if you’re visiting a supplier in Chicago, don’t use Thrifty! I know I won’t when I go back!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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