Daylong shopping requires cost-effective transportation

cost-effective transportation

The Convention Center Hertz location is conveniently a block from our front door.

How many errands can you pack into a day? If you’re taking advantage of a 24-hour car rental, the answer is “a lot.”

In the middle of a fervent push to organize and decorate our new downtown apartment, we decided a retail run was in order. And not the “I’ll just pop into Target and pick up a cutting board” store visit but the “Where can I find a handful of big retailers in a one-mile radius for everything on my list?” shopping excursion. We set our sights on Southcenter retail corridor in Tukwila. Since we’re without wheels, and the mall and nearby IKEA are 15-20 miles south, we clearly needed cost-effective transportation. Given the amount of time we’d be running around, Zipcar and Car2Go would have been very expensive options due to their hourly and per-minute rate structures, respectively. And Car2Go was a definite Car2No since it has breadbox trunk space.

Hertz car rental was the way to go. Jon went online, checked out various options and rates, and selected a B-class compact car with a 20% discount – all in, $33.51 for 24 hours. (Keep in mind, we’re entitled to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards through our Washington AAA membership.) Reserving the car online took about five minutes and, even more convenient, the location to pick up the car is exactly one block away. When we picked up the car, we were upgraded to a C-class Toyota Corolla at no charge. Nice! With the shopping list clutched firmly in hand, we headed to the mall in our temporary chariot.

And, wow, were we productive. Home Depot for closet shelving and a hard-to-find wood treatment formula; Kohl’s for fabulous new bedding and throw pillows; IKEA for a nightstand, table lamp and picture frames; and Target for towels, a shower curtain, bath rug and step stool. Seven hours later, with our trunk packed full, we headed back to the city. Jon helped me unload the trunk and then found street parking a half block away without too much trouble. Because it was late, parking was free (evenings after 8 and on Sundays and holidays) – a bonus to renting a car from mid-day Saturday to mid-day Sunday.

But wait, there’s more! Since we had the car until 1:30 pm the next day, we mapped out a few more places to visit Sunday morning. In search of an area rug for our entryway, we visited the Lowe’s near Beacon Hill, then two more independent flooring retailers in SoDo and Pioneer Square. A few hours later and our rental time nearly up, we traveled back to Hertz and dropped off the car. Again, an easy process. The rental car return was still open (if it wasn’t, we simply would have used the after-hours drop-off box) so we turned in the keys and had a lovely exchange with the friendly attendant. Jon shared that we were new neighbors and would probably see her more frequently before asking if we would have incurred a full day rental fee if we dropped the car off after their 2 p.m. closing time. “Since you’re a neighbor, we’ll treat you like a neighbor.” She added, “If you ever have an issue with your bill, just let us know and we’ll take care of it.” Thank you, Hertz.

We’ll definitely take advantage of 24-hour car rentals (or longer, if need be) in the future. The major rental companies have regular specials and seasonal rates – and the ease and convenience we experienced made us quick converts. Plus, sometimes only an ample trunk will do when you’re picking up Queen-size bedding and a 4×6 area rug.

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