You reach a certain age and you get tired of getting ripped off, you really do. It seems so easy, click click here, click click there, input the credit card numbers and poof! You’re off on a glorious vacation! Not quite. First off you need to have your head examined as to why you would want to go to Miami Beach in the first place. I checked after I got back and Miami has the 3rd highest insurance rates in the country. That’s because the drivers there are lunatics. Insurance numbers don’t lie. A minimum standard for a vacation is that it should be relaxing and you should have a reasonable assurance of coming back alive.
As a professional driver for 40 years I think I know my way around a steering wheel. Not in south Florida. They make a big deal about not having a state income tax, they’ve replaced it with a “car tax”. You are either moving or you are plugging a meter (actually a kiosk of sorts, picture below). And if you are moving, chances are good you are on a toll road. So really moving or parked, you are paying. Imagine the cliché of the crazed Tijuana taxi driver, that’s exactly what you have now with the 4 million people in the Miami metro area that have resulted from invasion from Latin America.
You take people who didn’t have any discernible driving skills to begin with, give them alcohol and look out. Aside from nearly dying every time I went on the freeway, my favorite experience was when the cops stood down and let 300 nutcases on motorcycles and 4 wheelers come roaring up Collins Ave in Miami Beach on sidewalks, through red lights and yards in some sort of gang intimidation thing, sending tourists scrambling. America has not benefitted from the “diversity” of bring Latin America’s dysfunctionality here. Its just been relocated. Court cases now need a translator on top of every thing else.
Expedia has this ransom thing going on at the end of the booking process. After the real or imagined “Only 1 room left!”, or “Only 1 car left!” screaming popups that come on making you hurry and accept crap accommodations, they have a little trick left to extort another $200 bucks from you. Its the “change your itinerary” option. I found out how important this was on my last day. I was trying to catch an earlier flight out of the hell hole known as Miami, and United was willing to do it. But because I hadn’t paid Expedia the $200 dollar ransom, they put a lock on my airline ticket that wouldn’t allow United to book a different flight.
It had nothing to do with Expedia, it didn’t affect them in the least. It simply meant getting on the 8 am flight versus the 4 pm flight. The arrangement was strictly between me and United. But because of the ‘lock’ Expedia put on my account for not paying the ransom, no changes were possible. So I sat in the airport for 10 hours (you have to turn in the rental car first of course). But that pales in comparison with dealing with the crooks known as South Beach Group.
The hotel industry has this incestuous relationship with Expedia. Providing customer service is not a concern, just working together to separate you from your money. Expedia lets a hotel claim to have a pool even if its just s large jacuzzi. There should be a minimum size for what can be considered a “pool”. Expedia lets a hotel claim to have Wi-Fi, even if it takes a half hour or more for a webpage to load (try and find your way around a strange town or buy tickets to anything with internet that comes and goes). There should be a minimum speed for what can be considered Wi-Fi.
There should be a definition for what a “wet bar” is. Online its defined as a sink, a refrigerator and a microwave. But since its to the benefit of Expedia and the hotel industry to fudge all this, not provide pictures and not define minimum standards, the sham goes on. The only constant being the customer getting ripped off. But Expedia and Oceanside don’t care about repeat business, they operate on the “there’s always the next sucker” school of business. The municipalities have no interest in looking out for the consumer, they are in the business of funding their governments by ripping off the tourist too.
The parking robot. You fail to feed at your own risk. You are either paying to park or paying a toll to drive.
Literally 5 parking spots for an entire hotel. Irresponsible.
10 hours in the airport because I didn’t pay the $200 ‘change’ ransom to Expedia.
Large jacuzzi they claim as a pool.
Real motel. But because both places are owned by the same corporation, the reviews get thrown together even though they are wildly different. At this place the have a pool, parking across the street and each unit has a kitchenette. The reviews lead you to believe that what your place has, though its nothing of the sort. Expedia allows all this bullshit because it helps them.
Fake hotel. Has the old name ‘Mt. Vernon’ on the building (Monticello on the other side), when it is actually the Oceanside! Its all part of the deception Expedia encourages with photos that get thrown in together from 13 different properties that you have no idea about until you arrive and it too late. As long as they can keep you confused they can snooker you.