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The Small, Fine Print

How often do we take the time to read the small, fine print?

Last weekend we had a great offer extended to us for a getaway weekend from a national corporation (HGVC) to a city which many consider to be a fun place to visit.  Las Vegas, here we come!  We came to visit and find memories.  Two of our kids were born here while we were stationed at Indian Springs (now Creech AFB) and then a pregnant PCS 34 years ago.  That was another story about military life and overseas assignments, birth with a doctor speaking a different language, etc., but I get way off this story. 

Sunrise over Las Vegas
We coordinated airfare using our USAA Eagle Point Rewards , took advantage of the Hilton free offer and into the air we lept (very early I might add) with a stopover flight and then finally we were on the ground in the fun and pleasure seeking crowds at McCarran Airport/Las Vegas.  Very busy place but well organized in most cases.  By the way, we found the TSA folks to be very helpful and friendly whenever we encountered them.  Funny, how a thank you and a smile works when talking to folks trying to protect you from terrorists.  Oops, off the story line again.

When we made the airline reservations, we had to decide the advantages and disadvantages of a rental car versus public transportation and taxi.  We try to walk as much as possible but realized that our location although on the Strip was a long walk to featured destinations.  After weighing the advantages we decided on the rental car because we wanted to drive up to Indian Springs to see our old homestead (it was our first PCS after pilot training). 

The Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace
The USAA travel service made the reservations for us and gave us a nice quote for the car.  It made the car very appealing.  In fact, when compared to the cost of a taxi during our visit, it would be comparable and of course we wanted to drive the 100 mile round trip to the Springs.  When we got to the rental car center we talked to the Budget agent (after being in line for about 20 minutes) and found out the car was just about double what had been quoted.  Now we were tired, plane weary, crowd weary and line weary so when I asked, why it was different and the lady said, “you have a great price” it seemed to make sense.  After some saleswomanship we signed and left with our car looking for some sun (we do live in western Michigan which has Seattle like weather except more snow and colder).


Reality sank in after our trip down memory lane, some pool time, great “people watching” and relaxing evenings.  A long, late trip home and early work day led to a break time with a call to USAA and the travel service.  They were as concerned as I was about the change in price and called Budget for me and politely returned my phone call.  I did start the phone call with “I am a bit upset why I had to pay more” and they jumped right on my concern.  Within an hour the USAA travel rep called me back to explain.

Our home for 4 years gratis US Air Force
We had one of those check the blocks or uncheck the block forms.  We had bought insurance we probably did not need and the price had been hiked due to my oversight.  I feel a bit misled by Budget but it was my error, I should have been more careful but in light of the circumstances I can see why I made the mistake.  How often do we take the time to read the small, fine print?  How many folks in a hurry buy car rental insurance they may not need while traveling due to not reading the fine print?  We had not traveled to locations where I needed a rental car for a long time so it was a lesson learned again.  We had such a good time and enjoyed our getaway so it was a small price to pay but ….

MilAve_Deborah standing in her "kitchen"
Our first neighborhood as it currently looks
PS:  We did visit Indian Springs and it was still desolate.  A shorter trip to the outskirts of Las Vegas (which has grown towards the Springs) but desert and more yucca trees than people.  Our home had been taken down years ago and not replaced by the USAF.  They finally realized how bad it was and that the commute was better than living there.  It was an emotional experience as we stood where the house had been and realized this was where our kids had played, meals had been prepared, friends visited, etc.  Many of our facilities that have seen the effects of BRAC reductions will see similar visitors in the future.   

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