Peeter Joot's (OLD) Blog.

Math, physics, perl, and programming obscurity.

Uhaul Markham: an example of an amature business.

Posted by peeterjoot on July 28, 2010

I’ve had my first, and last dealings with Uhaul Markham, and probably Uhaul period.  I’m not impressed.  It looks like just about anybody can be a Uhaul dealer.  If you walk into the Uhaul on Markham Road, you’ll probably act like me, and walk out.  “Oh, that can’t be the right place … it looks like a tile company.”  You can then look around, see that there’s nothing else left, and go back in after all.

My reason for wanting a Uhaul truck was for my move, as is probably the case for most people.  Once I faced the fact that the guy in the tile store was in fact probably also the Uhaul dealer, I go to talk to this guy.  He’s a surly fellow, and very incommunicative.

I’d like to rent the 17’ truck for Saturday July 31st

Hmm.  I don’t know, that’s a busy day.  …. putz away at the computer, not looking at me (something he hardly did for the whole transaction).

“Nope.  Nothing available for that day.  You can reserve it anyways and somebody will call you if it is available at another location”.

How about a different size truck, for the same day?

… putz on computer, again, not ever really looking at me.  “I can give you a trailer or a small van.”

How about Sunday?

“We are closed Sunday.”  No attempt to be helpful in any way (like suggest a Saturday night pickup, something that I was later told was normal for rental companies closed on Sundays).

How about Monday?

Grimaces, saying nothing.  One is left to interpolate his reaction, and it appears to be “Oh come on, don’t make me work”.  Putzes on his computer.  “Nope.”  Nothing more than that.  He didn’t say, “I’m sorry, that is the civic holiday, and we are closed”.  Just No, end of story.  No clarification.

In the end I made the Saturday reservation, hoping that I’d get a call that something was available at another location.

So, later I get the call that there’s nothing available at any of the Markham locations, and deal with the fact that I have to change my planned moving day.  So be it.  My fault for leaving the reservation too late.  I ask for the 17’ truck from any location on Sunday when talking to the regional Uhaul office.  At least that guy (AJ) you can talk to, and he tells me that there are trucks available that day, but all the Uhaul locations in Markham are closed on Sundays (something that is surprising to me since I’d figure that most people move on weekends.)  I ask about Monday, and find out that yes, there’s a truck available on Monday, and that they can deliver it to my local branch for me to pick up.

Mr grumpy at Uhaul Markham calls me back the next day to confirm my pickup for Monday August 2.  Turns out that the truck I’m getting is also a 26’ truck instead of the 17’ that I asked for.  I’m told that nothing else was available, but “no extra charge.” – oh well, I’ll deal with driving a too big truck.  At least I don’t have to go far.

I’d gotten help offers from friends for moving muscle, and had made the mistake of telling them my initial plan of a Saturday moving day before I’d reserved the truck.  Luckily they were still mostly all available for the Monday.

It’s not ideal for me, but if I take a step back, it actually ends up working out nicely, since it gives me the weekend to do last minute packing, and Tuesday to unpack.

I end up confirming the reservation, and figure this is a done deal.

Next chapter.  Around two weeks later.

Uhaul regional calls me, and says that the local branch has changed the reservation from August 2 to August 3 because they are closed that day.  WTF?  Both the regional office and the local guy had called me previously to confirm the reservation.

I change the reservation day, and luckily that day still works for those who’d said they’d help me.  But I’m not impressed with the amateur nature of the company, particularly the local walk in branch I dealt with at Markham Road and 16th.  My grumpy at the local branch says that he told me they were closed for the long weekend when I’d asked about Monday.  Perhaps he said so at some non-memorable and non-sequiter part of the conversation when I was asking about a Saturday reservation.  I don’t remember any such comment.  I do remember that it was hard to get any communication from him.  It had to be extracted, and didn’t come naturally.  If he had told me, it was probably under his breath, facing the computer, not me.  This is a guy who appears to take no pride in his job, nor care about it, or even pretend to for the sake of the business when dealing with customers.

Even if he had told me, this company is so disorganized that the regional office doesn’t know the hours of the local branches, and the local branches don’t know their days of business when they are booking reservations.  I got two reservation confirmations for a day of business that they were not open on!

My conclusion is that Uhaul is not a business run for customers.  It’s a franchise for confused businesses that also do other stuff and have some parking space that they’d like to squeeze a bit of extra money out of.  I’d not recommend it to anybody.  Perhaps most of the fault lies with the local location I had to deal with.  I hope so.


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