What are your major considerations when deciding on renting a specific car? How careful do you look for budget car rentals?
“catch one’s eye” = attract one’s attention
“She was planning on renting a compact car, but a nice sports car caught her eye, and she left the parking lot with it.”
“pay through the nose” = pay a great deal for something, sacrifice for
“You’ll pay through the nose to rent a car during the holiday season.”
A. Listen to the recording and answer the questions.
Rental Car Agent: Hi. How can I help you?
Customer: Yeah. I’d like to rent a mid-size car for three days.
Rental Car Agent: Okay. Let me check to see if we have one available. Hmmm. It doesn’t look like we do. We have a couple of economy, compact, and full-size cars available, or a nice minivan.
Customer: Well, what is the main difference between these cars?
Agent: The main difference is size. The economy car is the smallest, and it seats fewer passengers and can hold less luggage. [Okay.] How many people are with you?
Customer: Just me and my son.
Rental Car Agent: Well, the economy car would work. We have one right out front.
Customer: Where? That one? It looks more like a shoe box to me. I’m really tall and trying to squeeze into that thing . . . I don’t think so.
Rental Car Agent: Well, if you need more room or comfort, I recommend the full-size car. It also has a nice stereo system, CD player, [Alright] safety rear door locks, and cruise control, and power locks and windows.
Customer: Well, I’m not so concerned about how it’s equipped. I just want to make sure it is comfortable to drive. And what is the daily rate for that anyway?
Rental Car Agent: Well, let’s see here. Oh, yeah. It’ll come to fifty-seven ninety-five a day.
Customer: Wow, a little expensive. But what’s the cost for mileage?
Rental Car Agent: Hey, all of our cars have unlimited miles, but of course, that doesn’t include gas.
Customer: Yeah, right. I bet that car probably eats up gas, and now that we’re in the middle of the vacation season, gas stations are gouging consumers with astronomical prices.
Rental Car Agent: Well, as they say, it comes down to the law of supply and demand.
Customer: Well, anyway, can you install a car seat in one of those cars? I have a 3-year-old son with me.
Rental Car Agent: Sure, and that’ll only be one dollar extra per day.
Customer: I’ll go with the full-size car. Wait, uh . . . what does it look like?
Rental Car Agent: Uh, it’s right out there in the parking lot. [Which one?] The one over there next to the sidewalk.
Customer: Do you mean that old lemon with the missing hubcap? Ahhh.
Rental Car Agent: Sir, excuse me. We take pride in our vehicles. It’s just that it’s one of the last cars on our lot, but it runs like a dream. Don’t let the exterior fool you. Hey, I’ll even give you an extra fifteen dollars off the daily rate to show you we are serious about pleasing our customers. Will there be any other drivers?
Customer: No, I’m the only driver.
Rental Car Agent: Okay. Would you like to purchase our daily car protection plan?
Customer: What’s that exactly?
Rental Car Agent: Well, the car protection plan is a complete insurance package covering damage to the vehicle, [Okay] injury or loss of life to you or your passengers [Oh]. It even includes incidental road damage caused by, let’s say, a huge boulder rolling down the mountain and crushing your car. [Oh, uh, well . . . ]. However, it won’t cover loss of property due to theft. Too much crime in the area anyway. [What? Wh . . . What about this crime? What, what?]. Don’t worry about it. And the car protection plan is only seventeen ninety-five per day. [But you were saying?] And the nicest thing about this coverage is that you can rent the car without the worry and hassle of making a complicated claim in case you do have a problem.
Customer: But wouldn’t my own car insurance cover those problems?
Rental Car Agent: It might, but each insurance policy is different. With our car protection plan, however, you deal directly with us in case there is a problem [Well . . . ], and we handle everything quickly, and you don’t have to contact your own insurance company.
Okay. Let me just confirm this. A full-size car with a car seat for three days [Yeah], plus the car protection package. Is that right? [That’s right.] Okay, I’ll have our mechanic, Louie, check the car over and pull it up to the door.
Customer: Push it up to the door? I hope this car really runs.
Rental Car Agent: Well, in case it does break down on some out-of-the-way, deserted road, just call the toll-free number for assistance. They’ll come to assist you within . . . two business days. [Two business days!!!] Enjoy your trip.
Vocabulary and Sample Sentences
- eat up (phrasal verb): use or consume a lot of something like fuel or electricity
– My parents sold their truck because it ate up so much gas that it was no longer affordable to drive.
- gouge (verb): make people pay a lot for something
– During natural disasters, some stores tend to gouge consumers by charging high prices for everyday goods.
- lemon (noun): a poor-quality car that is useless
– My brother knows nothing about cars, and he bought a used car, but it turned out to be a real lemon because it broke down only two hours after he bought it.
- like a dream (verb): very well
– The minivan runs like a dream; it handles smoothly, and you feel like you are driving a luxury car.
- incidental (adjective): unplanned or unexpected
– You should budget enough money for maintaining your car because there are often incidental expenses you don’t anticipate, like repairing a cracked windshield or fixing a flat tire.
- boulder (noun): a large rock
– The road was closed for two hours because road crews had to remove several large boulders that tumbled into the road as a result of a major rock slide.
- hassle (noun): trouble, difficulty, or bother
– It was such a hassle to drive my dad’s truck because there was always something wrong with it.
- out-of-the-way (adjective): far away from people or cities that is not traveled much
– I really enjoy driving to out-of-the-way places because I can get away from large crowds.