Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm talking about the American Automobile Association here, the letters not to possibly be misconstrued as Alcoholics Anonymous or any other such similar-sounding names.

I was a member for years and years, and always thought highly of them. There was a branch office located not far from where I lived here in Houston, and I often went there for free maps and assistance. Wonderful, wonderful!

But then I started driving a taxi, beginning with Yellow Cab. I didn't see the need to continue my relationship with AAA because Yellow Cab could - and would! - respond to my emergency needs much quicker than AAA.

One night, however, after having a most enjoyable game of duplicate bridge with Tom Jahnke - who was one of my regular partners at the time - we came out to the parking lot only to discover that one of the rear tires on my taxi (the right, I think) was flatter than a pancake.

I knew that I couldn't change the tire (I was driving a full-sized Chevrolet Caprice at the time) - I had a good spare in the trunk - and hoped that maybe Tom could help me.

Well no, he really couldn't, he said. I said, "That's OK. I'll call Yellow Cab. They'll come over and change it for me. It'll only cost me $35."

"No, don't do that," he said. "I'm a member of AAA. I'll call them. They'll be here quickly and it will cost us nothing!"

Sure enough, it didn't take AAA very long to arrive at the scene. However, they refused to work on my taxicab because it was a commercial vehicle. !!!!! Nowhere in their literature - even today's, I've checked - does it say that if your vehicle is a commercial one, it is excluded from their services.

And nowadays membership in that (what I call "hoity doity") illustrious organization costs upwards of $100 per year.


Craig Peihopa said...

Something I have discovered in delaing with some of these people goldenrod, that it doesnt have to be in the rules, it could have started with someone who just didnt want to work on a "commercial" vehicle, as an excuse to go home early. I am surprised. Here, they would have said, sure, commercial vehicles attract a further fee!

The Bug said...

I just found this on my AAA website (apparently they're different depending on where you live). The last line mentions taxis:

Basic: Service applies to all properly licensed four-wheeled motor driven vehicles of the passenger, pleasure or recreational type (vans, campers and motor homes), if those services can be safely delivered.
Dual wheel campers/motor homes are eligible for all services except towing, extricating/winching and tire service. Dual wheel unloaded pickup trucks are eligible for all services except rear tire service. Full coverage for these vehicles are available under the AAA Plus/RV® membership.
Rented passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles are eligible for service with the exception of taxi cabs and limousines.

Chuck said...

I've been an AAA member for decades, too, and have mainly used it to get maps and travel books -- dozens each year for all my driving trips -- and it's good to know I'm covered all over the country. But I just renewed for $56, not "upwards of a hundred." Is it cheaper in Chicago?

Polimom said...

The Bug's right. Vehicles for hire (like taxis) are specifically excluded in their information.


"Automobiles, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans and minivans, and light-utility motor vehicles (including rented and commercial passenger vehicles, except for taxicabs, limousines, shuttles, and other vehicles for hire) are eligible for service."

Goldenrod said...

I was in a really sour mood when I wrote this post and it hasn't gotten any better over time ... 4 new tires and close to $500 later ($492.22, to be exact).

Every so often I get literature from AAA to join, and mostly I just discard it without opening. I thought I remembered a recent one, tho, with annual memberships for 'upwards of $100', but that just might be my prejudicial and therefore somewhat faulty memory banks talking.