Wolfgang Honold – 1st of June 2020
In days of yore, they exclaimed: “Proletarians of all countries unite”, and with that, communism went belly up. And now, it looks like capitalism is following suit. And – believe It or not – seniors will get hurt too. And now, I’d say, the banner should be changed to read: “Seniors of the world, unite”!
What? The big rental car company HERTZ belly up? That’s what I read on Facebook the other day. Well, I’m not in principle a friend of malicious joy, but – good folks out there – you won’t be seeing tears running down my cheeks because of that. And I let you know why herebelow:
I’ve reached age 84 this year and since 14 years I’m being cross with car rental companies. On their leaflets, they count out car rental to people of 70+. So I’m asking you ain’t that a brazenness and irreverence to the elderly? What’s the idea? Do they look upon every 70+ as a walking scrap heap hobbling behind a walking frame? Or what?
Just take my case: With my Swiss domicile since 1967, I hold as a matter of course a Swiss driver’s license. With us in Switzerland, there is since a number of years a law in force according to which holders of driver’s licenses must as of age 70 undergo every two years a preventive medical checkup in regard of traffic medicine, which can be carried out by your family physician. He then forwards the result to the competent authority. I’ve done that again only a short while ago and got also this time again my driver’s license renewed for another 2 years without any restrictions imposed. Hence, don’t you have to ask yourself: If a Government entity certifies on the basis of the results of the aforesaid checkup that the driver is FIT TO DRIVE, well, in that case one can’t but think that all other people – in the case at hand the car rental companies – must accept the authorities decision. Or do they have to be socialized in order to comply with Government measures?
With my currently 84 years of age, I’m as yet in downright full shape to sit a the steering wheel of my old and very well preserved “ragtop” and do the stretch Zurich-Lisbon – native land of my Portuguese wife – (cruise control set on 120 and where allowed 130 kms), viz. 2200 kms in just an 18 hours’ drive with just one sleepover in the Spanish town of Calatayud, about 100 kms before Madrid. That being said, why shouldn’t I be able to drive a renter? Unfortunately, said stretch is currently no option because the borders, which I got to cross between Switzerland and Portugal, are currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
An only viable alternative would be a flight from Zurich-Kloten Airport to Lisbon-Portela Airport. Yet upon arrival there I’d need a rental car, which on account of my advanced age, I won’t get from any rental company in spite of my fully valid driver’s license.
Us elderly folks are not so few people nowadays – as is well known – and as also car rental companies should be aware of. After our retirement, many of us got the time and the money to do wide-streching vacation trips. Why do car rental companies miss out on such a big slice of customer base? They, thus, impair not only their own business, but also the host country’s hotel industry, the catering, the golf courses and what not. For Porgtugal, income from tourisme economically of the essence. Now back again to my case:
Pretty much fed up, me, as of my age of 70, had decided to let my wife do those two to three yearly flights to Lisbon alone, i.e. without my company. All the time prior to that, I was used to doing quite a lot of driving with a renter all across Portugal. I wasn’t willing to renounce at that now and change over to travel around in (partially pretty much lousy) public transport. On that, I haven’t changed my mind up to this date. That would only happen as of the moment my Swiss driver’s license would not be renewed anymore by the Swiss authorities on account of a negative result ensuing the medical checkup. In such a case, I wouldn’t be that stupid either to step up to the counter of the car rental company at Lisbon airport or wherever else. As far as I’m concerned, I’d hardly give a damn if they’d all go belly up now. What does my generation of “geezers” have to win or lose with that? Diddly-squat, ain’t it? That’s all I got to say to this. I don’t want to lose my otherwise still good mood.
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