‘Hello. It’s Steve here. I’m the bloke with the Hummer from Broome. Can I speak to the manager please?’
‘He’s in a meeting. Can he call you back in five minutes?’
‘Hello. It’s the Hummer bloke in Broome here. Can I speak to the manager please?’
‘He’s in a ….’
‘I know. You said he’d call back. That was 30 minutes ago.’
‘He’s busy in…’
‘He’ll be out in about 45 minutes. Can I get him to call you?’
‘No! I want to speak to him now. There are four of us here sleeping rough in the bush. I want this sorted out now.’
‘One moment. I’ll see if he can be interrupted.’
‘Hi.’ I say in a false light voice. ‘It’s Vinnie isn’t it? Vinnie, I’m the bloke with the Hummer. I’ve got a problem.’
Vinnie doesn’t wait for my tale of woe. He launches into a passionate endorsement of himself. How he’d recently bought the business; how he didn’t have to honour previous bookings; how he was doing us a favour; how he’d gone to a lot of trouble to set us up well with gear; how great a car the Hummer was; what a mugs game it was to be in the camper rental business; how ours was the last renter he was ever doing which included camping gear; how lucky we were and how you can never make people happy.
‘Customers always find something to whinge about.’
I listened to all this in amazement. This man had just purchased a nationwide car rental business and he hated customers. What had he been thinking!
I took a deep breath. I reminded him that that I was one of his unhappy customers and yes, that I did have something to whinge about. I was still in possession of four oversized stretchers which some dickhead had never thought to measure against the tent they were meant to fit in!
I didn’t wait for him to find a solution. I had one.
‘We’d like two inflatable mattresses to replace the stretchers’
What a simple solution.
Vinnie now launched into a tirade about how he never used inflatables. How people brought them back in appalling conditions. Why stretchers were the only option.
This was a very long speech. Didn’t he have a meeting to get back to?
‘We’d prefer inflatables Vinnie. But you solve our problem and we’ll be happy.’
I didn’t tell him that we’d left one of his giant tents back in Broome. I didn’t tell him our second tent was a baby hiking tent. I knew that no stretchers were ever going to fit into that tiny space, but decided not to complicate things and agreed to exchange the giant stretchers for small stretchers at the Kimberley Camping Store when we passed through Broome on the Friday.
I decided to call everyone to make sure they all understood their role in this next instalment.