It is unfortunately part of a car rental company's job to inspect a car once it has been brought back so that they may keep their vehicles running smoothly.
And unfortunately, some people are just...gross. Or worse.
Rental cars get turned in in such bad shape that people are speechless. But now they are coming forward to share their horror stories.
Here were some of those stories.
But Why The Seafood ThoughGiphy
I worked at a car dealer that uses the same guidelines as a dealers like CarMax. 1 owner low mileage cars from rental companies and off lease cars. When cars used to come in for service, we would loan them a similar car to theirs off the lot and let them take it with a dealer tag until their vehicle was finished.
We gave one lady a Jeep Grand Cherokee while her non grand Jeep Cherokee was in for service. This is a slightly bigger vehicle than she was used to driving. Now remember, these cars have to go back onto the lot once they're done being driven, so every customer was warned that every vehicle should be treated with care, this lady didn't get that memo.
After a week of driving a free loaner she returned the Jeep complaining of the gas mileage and that she had the hardest time parking it. We just took it as she really didn't like driving it. Boy were we wrong. The whole passenger side had giant scratches going down the side, it looked like she had gone through the woods. Some of it was yellow so it looked like she clipped one of those yellow pillars in parking lots.
The interior was another horror story. The entire trunk area looked like a bed of a landscaper's truck. Dirt and mud everywhere. Detailing took days to clean it out. Best part? The left over seafood containers left under the front seats. The car sat for a week after being returned bc of the exterior damage, giving time for the seafood to stew in the heat. If anyone doesn't know what cooked seafood starts to smell like un-refrigerated environments for long period of time, it smells exactly what it is; a rotting carcass. The detailers weren't really able to get that smell out of it after the various amount of harsh chemicals. That Jeep ended up going to auction rather than back on the lot rather than trying to fix and sell it for a profit.
They stopped loaning out lot vehicles after that one. They "flagged" her for future service and with the rental company we then outsourced our loaner cars to.
Not Clear If I'm Gonna Die Today
I worked at a rental agency shortly after college, and while this isn't gross, this particular story stuck to me. So, very occasionally people will rent cars and then just like...not give them back. You can call them over and over and leave messages, and you can try to hit their card on file as the costs mount but as you can imagine, this type of person ends up having their card decline fairly quickly. Rental charges are mounting and the person is MIA, so the main concern of the branch becomes getting the car back.
So here's one of the more adventurous parts of the job: eventually, you have to "repo" the car. One such time, we basically staked out this guy's house until he left (with someone else), leaving the rental car in the driveway. The branch manager quickly jumped in the car and we drove back to the branch.
Inside the car were dozens of boxes of designer sneakers, hundreds of bootleg DVDs, and dozens of (fake) designer purses. There were also drugs in the car. We had to call the police to report all of the items in the car (really, we called about the drugs, but when the officer came the manager showed them everything)
Around a month later...the renter came to the branch to ask if we'd taken the car and if his personal items could be returned. The manager took him into the office and nothing ended up happening (he just informed him they turned the items in to the police because it was policy, not mentioning the drugs or obviously-stolen and counterfeited items). While it all turned out ok, the rest of us in the branch were sh*tting bricks when the manager took him in the office. The dude who had driven him to the branch was sitting in there with us and we were all convinced we were about to get murdered.
Sometimes People Just Lose It
Not a car rental staff but hanging out with a friend who's about to leave on a long as road trip. We hear some racket outside and there's some random chick going all /r/publicfreakout on some dude car with a baseball bat. Busted off the mirrors, broke out all the windows, taillights and headlights, dents, the works.
Fast forward about three hours and I'm driving my friend to the rental place so she can pick up a rental for her road trip and guess which car is also in the lot?
Turns out, the guy who's car got all f*cked up had just rented it to break up with his girl because he knew it wasn't going to go well and didn't want her to f*ck up his car. He got all the insurance and she got a felony vandalism charge.
Casual Ant Colony
Oh man.. not a staff member, but this just happened to my wife and I.
So we went to Hawaii for our fifth anniversary. Never got to take a honeymoon, so this was kind of a bit of both.. We reserved a standard economy car from Fox and they said.. we upgraded you to this convertible.. I asked them for the type of car I reserved, as the convertible had minimal luggage space.. they kind of shrugged and went "But it's an upgrade" my wife was giving me the "Just f*cking get the keys" look, so I said great and signed for it.
We drive around for a little bit and hit the beach and see some ants in the car.. figured maybe we picked up or parked on some ants.. it's late so we head back to the room and sleep off the 8 hours of travel and layover.
The next morning, I see more ants.. then I turn on the air...
LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF ANTS come flooding out of the vents.. there was a nest in the car.. they lived there. I dropped my wife off at a coffee shop and returned the car immediately..
They ended up giving me another convertible, which I didn't want, but when I told them about the colony.. they said "I mean.. yeah.. that happens sometimes."
He Drove It Through An Action Movie
The strangest incident was a gray SUV that was returned with several bullet holes on the driver's side fender and door. The vehicle was driven in a slightly bad part of New York City when the incident occurred. I don't know what happened to the driver, but we totaled the rental.
I also came across a lot of weed, phones sunglasses and in one case, a Glock pistol.
It Gets Ricey In There
Old roommate worked for Uhaul in the late 90's. He had a few stories but my favorite. Guy rented a 16' truck and went to business Costco. Apparently guy owned a restaurant or two and loaded up on 5 gallon buckets of soy sauce and 50 pound bags of rice. Well he made it through the parking lot but when he turned onto the street his rear wheel went up on the sidewalk and when it came down the rear axle broke. He must have been going reasonably fast and forgot to secure any of his load. A lot of the buckets of soy sauce which were stacked four tall tipped over and flooded the back of the truck and street. The rice slowly expanded due to being covered in soy sauce and the fire department had to cut the back door open as it was wedged shut.
I worked for Enterprise back in 08-09 in Madison, WI. Constantly had people wanting to rent "maf*ckin Chargers," which we referred to as MFC's, to take down to Chicago for the weekend. They would come back smoked out with ash all over everything, and McDonald's bags everywhere. Just a complete mess.
We would rent cars with cash if we could get a $500 deposit on the vehicle, plus other documents showing they paid their bills and proof of residence. When people would return their car, we would give them a check for their deposit back because we didn't keep the cash in the office. One guy freaked out so hard because he wanted the cash right then and there. He was getting very aggressive and said he was going to go get his gun and shoot us all. We called the cops and the guy never returned.
Worked the airport location for a few months, and I had an absolute bitch of a branch manager. I would always have to work the night shift by myself, and we had to stay until the last flight came in, no matter when that was, so if it was delayed, we had to stick around. My manager would leave early all the time, and never make sure I was set with cars for the night. Just hoped that other cars would return and I'd be good. Constantly didn't have enough cars for people, and would have to walk them over to Avis and hope they could rent them a car. Nightmare.
This one isn't a horror story, but I use to rent cars to Craig Culver, The owner of Culver's, frequently when his car was being serviced. He always took the additional insurance which was great for me. He got in an accident in one of our cars one time by backing into one of those yellow cement posts in a parking lot. He felt so terrible about it, but he was covered since had the extra insurance. Really nice guy.
Also, just watch this video. It is a very realistic portrayal of daily conversations with customers.
Loved my coworkers, hated the job. I have plenty of other sh*tty stories about that place.
People Hide Their Vomit So Creatively
On a 2 week work trip some years ago my buddy and I are driving around southern California on the weekend. As the sun starts to really bake into the car we get this weird smell. At first we each though the other had bad BO but pretty soon we've got the windows down even though its 100F outside. I pull over and we search around. The car has rear seats that flip forward, under one of them is this pile of vomit. Its not huge so I think they had a kid in the car with one seat flipped forward and the kid barfed to the side...
We headed STRAIGHT back to the airport with the windows wide open. The checkin area was deserted with only one guy working, we jump out (the smell!) "You gotta give me a different car!" Guy leans in and sniffs "Yessir! Lets get you an upgrade!"
Left in a brand new (like 3 miles on it) Mustang Convertible...
Cars Are Places For Wild Things To Happen
I worked for a rental agency between 2010 and 2014.
One time I had a tweaked out customer back his rental into the river. We had it towed out and when it was being detailed they found so much trash including piles of empty bath salts packaging.
Another customer had Parkinson's and probably shouldn't have been driving to begin with. Within 10 seconds of pulling out of our lot he caused a three car accident. Yes he had the damage waiver, but he declined additional liability. Everyone was okay, but you could say they were shaken up.
Last story for now. I had a guy return a car laughing because he hit a raccoon in his Yaris. He declined the damage waiver and had a $1000 deductible. He proceeded to r/publicfreakout when I insisted I collect his deductible right then, which he did pay. The car ended up being totaled.
I have a lot more stories about rental cars involving drive bys, drugs, bank robberies, and even repossessing a rental car during a cook house bust.
Remember The Alamo
Customer renting from Alamo in Vegas. Kia Optimas were the hot new car of the day. I remember almost taking the only one in the mid-size category. Got in the car to drive away, and noticed the entire car smelled strongly of feet, like haven't-changed-your-socks-in-two-weeks feet. I really don't know how a car ends up smelling like that, but when we returned our Camry a week later, the fresh new dirty shoe Optima was still on the lot.
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No two people react the same way to a pungent odor, gratuitous violence in film and television, or unruly, off-putting behavior.
As some people have a fairly high tolerance for gore, aren't bothered by taste and smell, and are so patient that they simply aren't bothered by anyone.
Although, everyone has their limits.
And despite what they might say, there are very few people who don't have one thing which even the very thought of will make them gag, just a little bit.
"What genuinely disgusts you?"
Do They Think It Will Just Vanish?
"People not flushing their poop or pee in public toilets."- Acceptable_Fee_1280
"It was that hard to pull the little lever down?"- Scotsgit73
Always Carry Mints...
"Another person's hot breath in my face."
"For any reason."- MaryEstradaGTNickelodeon Bad Breath GIF by SpongeBob SquarePantsGiphy
"People who abuse their pets."- roseteaXx
Being Tricked Into Purchases...
"Ads with a fake close button that just redirect you to the link, particularly pop-up ads."
"I forgot about the mobile game ads with fake mini games that redirect you to the App Store."
"Those might be even worse."- Tyler_Martin1
Cleaning Comes At A Price...
"The goo in the sink drain once you’ve done the dishes."
"Touching this to clean the sink is always a gut-wrenching, vomit-inducing moment."- meiliraijow
Men Marking Their Territory...
"Sitting on a toilet seat with pee on it."- KAWAiiANGXL
We All Do It... Doesn't Make It Any Less Gross...
I Mean, COME ON!
"Just hang onto your sh*t for two minutes and put it in a bin instead of just throwing it on the ground."- ElmerWolfeLOdriving eric cartman GIF by South Park Giphy
No Matter The Package, Always Bad For You!
"Carrying around a bottle of your own brown cloudy spit that smells like absolute death just skeeves me out on a level I can barely even describe."
"Bonus points if you're the douche who leaves the spit bottles or cups for other people to clean up."- Porn_is_my_bae
We all have our limits.
But even if you aren't wholeheartedly repulsed by any or all of these things, that still doesn't mean you should tolerate it!
How else will people learn to stop?
It's rare for a day to go by where women don't, quite understandably, complain about the annoying, even misogynistic behavior of men.
Addiction to video games, poor hygiene, too much excitement over a football or basketball game, bad table manners.
The list goes on and on.
But men don't only annoy women with their behavior.
Indeed, plenty of other men get equally annoyed or revolted by certain stereotypically "male" behavior, and wish it would come to an end.
"Men of Reddit, what is something you wish other men would stop doing?"
Taking Others Down To Bring Themselves Up
"Insulting their friends to look cool in front of a girl."- SuvenPan
Always Needing To Be The "Tough Guy"
"I wish y’all would stop trying to be Mr. tough arrogant guy when an attractive women is in your presence."- Relevant-Quality2196·
It's Just Basic Hygeine!
"Not washing hands after using public bathrooms."- truetrusterWash Hands Reaction GIF by Leroy PattersonGiphy
Women Are Not Property!
"Stop hitting on other dudes' girlfriend."
"Some guys take it as a challenge and it’s pretty f*cked up."- Blowmansalad·
"Being overly horny and hitting on women non stop who clearly are uncomfortable."
"It’s hard to watch."- cgollin34
Learn Some Manners!
"That thing where a girl turns you down so you suddenly call her an ugly b*tch."
"It’s really not hard to NOT be a rude piece of sh*t, and it makes you sound pathetic."
"Have some respect and imagine your grandmother could hear you."- leastlyharmfulSeason 3 Episode 13 GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
What Are You Trying To Prove, Exactly?
"Acting overly manly and not smiling, like chill man I’m not trying to pee on your territory."- incognitoburrito2022
"Stop approaching women in grocery store parking lots! "
"My girlfriend mentions that guys, often way older guys, will try to talk to her and ask her out while she’s carrying groceries."
"She’s had to stop wearing headphones because guys will follow her trying to get her attention."
"The worst was a guy who knocked on her window when she was sitting in her car."
"Nobody taught me, a normal dude, how not to be creepy."
"Where the hell did you guys learn to do this?"- UptownShenanigans
Not Fooling Anyone
"Joining MLMs and being really vague about what they do."
"I don’t want an exclusive chance to gain you as a mentor, I sat next to you in pre-algebra and know that the concept of math escapes you."
"Also stop renting luxury vehicles for a weekend and pretending you 'made it'."
"Maybe I’m just a hater but if your whole plan is to not just fake it till you make it but to 'flex' till you make it then I’m not interested in whatever opportunity you’re trying to sell me."- Exact_Thought_185
Its Sexual Assault. STOP IT!
"The unwarranted peen pics need to stop."- Ratakoa
When other "bros" are so openly put off by "bro" culture, maybe that means it's time has passed?
But seriously, did anyone find "bro" culture attractive?
After all, were we laughing with the boys of the American Pie films, or laughing at them...
Successful people who come from humble beginnings usually don't forget where they came from.
But some of those who were already born into privilege and wealth may claim to be compassionate towards people who are financially disadvantaged.
But unless they've lived the experience as someone from the lower class or have a deep understanding of what life is like on the other side, the wealthy will never understand what it's like to be poor.
Curious to hear about interactinos with the affluent from strangers online, Redditor Salazard260 asked:
"Poor people of reddit, what's the most comically out of touch 'advice' you've been given by someone wealthier?"
When it comes to working normal jobs, rich people just don't understand.
Easier Said Than Done
"A mom to my mom, a single mother with three kids: 'you should just stop working if you are so stressed about it.'"
"Sounds like a psychologist I went and saw once, spent the hour talking about how much pressure I felt being the sole source of income in the house, to be told 'sounds like your job is stressing you out, you should quit!' When I asked how I’d pay the bills his response was 'I can help you apply for a new job, I’m really good at job applications, I’ve got every job I applied for! - yeah mate I don’t think that’s going to help. Never went back."
"Not really advice, but one of my high school friends came from a rich family. But because he wasn't really that motivated in life, his parents encouraged him to find a summer job."
"He was going to go job-hunting at the mall, working in retail. I asked him how much he wanted to earn. He said, 'Not too much. $40 per hour should be a good start.' This was in the early 2000s."
"It reminds me of the Arrested Development scene where Lucille thinks a banana costs $10."
When it comes to renting an apartment, these are not the people who should be weighing in with their thoughts to help.
Clueless About Rent
"I had a boss at the time tell me it cant be more than 800 bucks for rent in the DC area when I asked for a pay raise. The minimum rent I could find at the time was closer to 1800."
Let's Start With Step 1
"That I need to buy several apartments and rent them out. Unfortunately, he did not tell me where to get money to buy several apartments."
When it comes to family and financials, we're all not the same.
That's Not How That Works
"I remember when I was at high school and I mentioned to someone that I'd like a gaming PC but couldn't afford it, he said 'can you not just ask your parents for the money?'"
"I said no because there was nothing left over after bills and groceries."
"Yeah, but if you ask realllllyyyyy nicely, couldn't they give you the money?"
"Like what goddamn money? The money for the food we eat? The money for our electricity bill? Sure, no doubt my family are happy to suffer just so I can have a piece of tech I don't need."
Ignorance Is Bliss
"I had a friend like that and one time pulled out a pen and paper and did my family's financials roughly in front of them. I showed income, taxes, utilities, insurance, groceries, gas, car payments, loan payments, etc and then showed how little was left over and then said that some of that needs to go into savings/retirement just in case. I then asked them 'so where is that money I ask my parents for coming from?'"
"He sat there dumbfounded for a bit, I think one: that I knew all this off the top of my head (the recession made me hyper aware of financials) and two: it started sink in how ignorant he was about money in general, and how good he had it. He wasn't a bad dude, and wasn't one of those who thinks money was infinite, but I guess didn't realize how much 100 bucks was to a lot of people."
The Other Way Around
"'Just have your parents give you the money'.... B*tch, I support my parents."
Going Nowhere Fast
"I had a buddy in college that asked me to drive him to the next town over. He had a car but his parents said he was spending to much in the gas card. His solution was to bum a ride but told me it wasn’t fair for him to pay me for gas out of his allowance because I had a job."
"I’m still stunned by the mental gymnastics that dude went through to justify his behavior."
"After dumping me my long-tine girlfriend would occasionally reach out with her crazy rants."
"One of them was I should just dump my parents somewhere, as in literally dropping them off on some corner, and let them fend for themselves."
"I dodged a rocket not marrying her."
The rich could afford many luxuries that are unattainable for the rest of us, and good for them.
But when it comes to offering any kind of wisdom or suggestion to improve our financial standing in life, money can't buy them respect when they are completely out of touch.
There's a fairly common formula in movies geared toward a teenage audience.
A group of teenagers face one central conflict, to varying degrees of importance and severity, but manage to solve it in a surprisingly short manner of time.
The heroes of these films are usually a hodgepodge of traditional high school archetypes (star athlete, math nerd, girl whose beauty is disguised by a pair of glasses), all of whom the intended audience can completely relate to and root for.
And then we have the adult characters, who are often buffoonish stereotypes, or the outright villain, whose sole mission is to ensure the protagonist will not achieve their ultimate goal.
As teenagers, we often find ourselves ready to boo these grown-ups from the minute they appear on the screen.
But when we revisit these movies as adults, we find ourselves noticing that their behavior isn't quite as bad as we remembered.
Or, more shockingly, we actually find ourselves rooting for them!
"What teen movie is the epitome of 'the older I get, the more I agree with the adult?'"
The Teacher Was Right All Along...
"Rewatching 'Scrubs', I realize I’m no longer a JD., I’ve become a Cox."- RenegadeRinker
They Were Just Being Protective!
"I watched 'Sixteen Candles' recently and I now do not approve of Samantha going anywhere near Jake Ryan."-goblininstigator
All It Takes Is A Little Perspective
"Sadly, 'The Wonder Years'."
"I always couldn’t believe the dad was real, with his pissed off attitude from work."
"Now I understand."- hashnThe Wonder Years Thumbs Down GIFGiphy
Nothing Wrong With A Little Precision And Order!
"The movie 'Juno'."
"Jennifer Garner's character is at first portrayed as a 'square', then you realize she's a mature adult and her husband is a man-baby."- DaveFarted
Add It Up, The Wedding Cost Nearly $150,00!
"Not a teen movie, but 'Father of the Bride'."
"Watching it as a kid, Steve Martin seemed like an old grump."
"Rewatching it as an adult, holy sh*t he is the only sane person in that movie."- DrOctopusMD
It Was Literally His Job To Protect Them!
"'The Lion King'."
"Oh I thought Zazu was just an old fun-killer."
"What do you mean, Simba can't be king?"
"Why would you prevent the kids from going where they want?"
"As an adult and father, I'm 100% Team Zazu."- Oneiric86the lion king GIF by DisneyGiphy
Seriously, Would Your Dad Have Been So Cool About It?...
"As a new father, I hope to be like Jim’s dad when my little one is a teenager."
"Caring, loving and a complete embarrassment to them."- BanjoPhatterson
It's A Parent's Job To Worry.
"The mom in 'Ice Princess'."
"So you have a daughter who has a talent for and seems to like physics and has a shot of getting into Harvard."
"This girl throws it away for ice skating where she has only been competing for less than a year, where if she gets injured she's done and when she reaches 30 she's pretty much done."
"There is no way she is at an olympic level at that point she would need years of training! "
"Hell yes I would advise against it to!"- testmonkey254
Always Be Respectful Of Your Roommate!
"Goob, 'Meet the Robinsons'."- beepboop232Meet The Robinsons Google GIFGiphy
People Are Complicated
"He’s just trying to do something right and being a good dad."- LukeLJS123
As teens we're inclined to revolt from our parents and teachers, or even be revolted by them.
But the older we get, the more we understand that nine times out of ten, they were just looking out for us.
Just as we realize that Mr. Hall of Clueless was being pretty generous giving a C to a student who didn't seem to know how to pronounce "Haitian"...