Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pick and Pan: Dyson and Hertz

Like many consumers, there are certain products and services that I have used and absolutely love, and then there are those that I really dislike. Sometimes my experience with these products and services are so great, good or bad, that I feel compelled to tell the whole world. Welcome to my first selections to Pick and Pan.


Have you had the chance to use one of these new types of hand dryers? Now this is what a forced warm air hand dryer is all about! I've seen a few of these installed in select airports and interstate highway rest areas. They may be in other public locations as well.

Their use is brainless; no buttons, levers or switches to operate. You simply insert your freshly washed, wet hands into a wide slot at the top of the dryer. A "blade" of forced warm air automatically begins to blow, simultaneously striking both sides of your hand at the wrist. A vacuum at the bottom of the slot turns on at the same time.

As you slowly withdrawal your hands from the slot, the blade of warm air literally scrapes your hands of any surface water, while the vacuum at the bottom keeps the slot nice and tidy.

Super efficient. No mess. Low noise. Very fast. Cool, modern looking design. If I could purchase one of these appliances for a more reasonable cost (currently about $1,200 retail) I would have them throughout my home.

The high price is probably why you don't see more of these hand dryers installed in public locations, but I would expect that to change over time. The Air Blade just works so darn good, uses less energy (i.e. no HOT air) and leaves no mess. That should prove to be more economical over time.


I've used Hertz exclusively for my business travel ground transportation needs for many years. I've also been a "Hertz Club Gold" member for years, and enjoy the nice perks that come with that status. As much as I value the Hertz customer experience, they do get it wrong once in a while. In this case the failure was so bad that they earned this well-deserved "pan".

On a recent trip to through Boston Logan International Airport, I had reason to rent a car from Hertz. I used their friendly and simple on line reservation system to hold a mid-sized car for my needs to comfortably transport one other business associate about town. According to the Hertz web site, a mid-sized car generally has 2 to 4 doors, seats 4 to 5 passengers, and has luggage capacity of up to 3 suitcases. They suggest that the Mazda 6 fits this description. I would agree and looked forward to driving a car much like the Mazda 6.

Imagine my surprised when I walked to my waiting car to find it was a Toyota Yaris. Now, I'm not hating on the Yaris vehicle or the Toyota brand. I happen to think that Toyota manufactures a fine product. However, in this case I reserved a mid-sized car for a reason, and I do not consider the Yaris mid-sized. It's not clear how Hertz could think that either.

Unfortunately, the Hertz staff on-site didn't seem capable of doing anything to assist me. The experience was not bad enough to sour me on Hertz forever, but if it happens again, it could be enough to have me looking to switch loyalties to another car rental company who knows what a mid-sized car is.

Watch for more Pick and Pan selections coming soon...