A Letter to Avis Australia.

9 04 2013

Hello Avis Australia. You recently sent me an email asking me to fill in a feedback form about my latest trip. I generally don’t fill these out but I had a rather unusual journey and I feel it’s in Avis’ best interest that they know my story.

I picked up my car from Fraser Coast Airport on the morning of 19th March. Upon entering my car, a white Ford XR6 (which is apparently part of the “premium range”), I noticed something unusual. I noticed ants. Lots and lots of ants. It appeared that, during a period of wet weather, a large number of ants had decided that the rear passenger panel of the rental car was a superb place for a new nest.  I spent some time trying to remove the ants but they were persistent and numerous. I tried, in vain, to look for the queen so I could perhaps perform some sort of coup d’état but I was running late so I drove my car (and the colony of ants) to Mundubbera.  For most of the journey, the ants behaved themselves but on several occasions they crawled about my person causing me to scream a little bit. I generally don’t mind ants but when they crawl into your various body cavities while you are driving at 100 kph on a rural road, you tend to react in unusual ways.  Some of the ants got also into my pie. This upset me greatly because I am on a diet (according to my wife) and when I go away for work I like to treat myself to things I don’t normally eat. Mainly pies. About halfway to my first destination I noticed the “airbag fault alert” sign came on. This was concerning because the likelihood of having a serious crash while trying to remove ants from my eyes and/or pie was about 1 in 24. I am not sure what caused the airbag fault but it may have been the ants. In fact, I am almost certain it was the ants. I’ve heard they like getting into electronic equipment. Also pies.

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Luckily for me, I did not careen off the road as I am a fantastic driver who is used to wildlife being in close proximity to my facial region. I was able to drive to Bundaberg without crashing and I stayed the night in a motel by the beach. So did the ants who had decided my suitcase was a more suitable place for a nest than the rear panel of a Ford XR6. Who can blame them, really? I went to a hotel for a drink that night and my clothes smelled of ant. When I ordered a beer the bartender said “You’ve got an ant on your head!”

Yes. Yes I do.

As conversation starters go, that has to be up there with the best. I had a decent night sleep in my foetid motel room and was only woken up by ants on 17 occasions.

The next morning I rang the Avis office in Bundaberg and a nice bearded man swapped my car for a lovely brand new Pajero with functioning airbags. This car also had no ants, which was a nice touch, except for the ones lurking in my clothes in my suitcase. I did not tell the nice man about my ant problem because I was worried he’d accuse me of secreting the ants into the car myself. He did notice I was scratching a bit though. I told him I was allergic to pollen and I think he bought the lie.

In the end, Avis was very helpful in replacing my ant-ridden jalopy and providing me with a shiny new car. Please note that I understand that Avis does not yet possess the technological gadgetry to control insects and I do not attribute the presence of ants in my car to Avis in any way. I don’t know how long they were nesting in the car but they seemed like they were there for the long haul. I certainly won’t let this incident affect my judgement on choosing car rental companies but I will always check the rear passenger door panel for nesting insects. You should perhaps put that on a disclaimer. I would have been very upset had the ants actually been wasps.

Yours Sincerely,

Andy Thompson

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