Yes, it was as bad as it sounds! On a recent business trip to Jacksonville, Florida, we were glad to know that we could rent a car for me, from our hotel lobby. My husband's secretary had made the reservations well in advance, but when we arrived in town, and went to the hotel, we could sense there was a problem. The lady indicated that it had been reserved for around noon. We could not believe that would be the case, as there was no way we could possibly make the drive from our house to Jacksonville in that short time, without leaving a lot earlier than we had planned to. (We would never have asked for the car at noon.) We suspected that our car had been rented already, and the lady was just making an excuse-though we had no proof. Finally she said, "We do have a compact car available, but it only has 1/8 of a tank of gas. If you return it with a full tank, we'll give you $50.00 credit." (My husband later reminded me that with the price of gas these days, we'd barely break even.)
But beggars can't be choosers, so we took it. She practically shoved the keys at us, and then looked quite perturbed when we asked for directions to the nearest Walmart. She drew some hasty lines on a map, and quickly dismissed us. We were left to search for a car we'd never seen, in the vast front hotel parking lot, (with little description, other than being told that it was white and a Chevrolet.) When we finally found it, (by comparing the tag number with what was on our receipt), it was apparent that the car had not even been cleaned, as there was sand all over the floor mats. Someone had obviously just returned it.
I've read that the Avis slogan is, "We try harder." Well this one surely didn't!!!