Most of us wouldn’t think twice about taking out a library book or hiring a car for the day. In fact, with today’s prices it is a growing trend to hire out more and more products rather than buying them outright. It’s the same for services; there has been a boom in the provision of amenities that can be hired. The majority of people now choose to hire cars for instance on a 3 year term rather than buying a car outright or making payments top have the car as your own. This scheme has the benefit of allowing you to choose to buy the car at the end or to simply trade that in and begin renting a brand spanking new model. I personally can’t see many downsides to this as you always have a reliable mode of transportation which is covered for any failures, but you also get the excitement of a new play thing every few years! And with today’s economy we simply can’t afford to buy our transportation and cars lose their value so quickly (the miute they drive off the forecourt in fact!) so it makes good sense. However, some new kinds of rental services are now coming on to the market which are much, much stranger than your everyday car rental.
If you search the web there are sites that offer pet rental for instance but these have been either so misleadingly advertised or contrary to animal rights laws that they have been immediately closed down or have chosen to voluntarily cease trading. Personally, as a prospective dog owner I would have been interested in such a service but it does raise a lot of welfare issues. I’ve even heard of a company called Rent-a-Bride but it isn’t as exciting as I’d first hoped. This Canadian firm hires out women for cooking, cleaning, washing and concierge-style duties so it is a touch misleading. Mind you, I have a friend who’d be interested in something a bit more true to the company name but unfortunately that’s probably going to come under long-term prostitution.
What I’m left with is a rather interesting selection of the strangest things you can rent from companies that are still trading genuinely.
Wanting to feel really special and like an A-list celebrity for the day? Now it is as easy a sa phone call to rent your very own crowd of photographers from Celeb4aday who will follow you around snapping and flashing at you wherever you go. The best thing about these kinds of paparazzi is that they’ll leave you alone at the end of the day. I think if I was to do this I would feel completely ridiculous with all the “who the hell is she?” stares but I can see how some fame hungry wannabes may do this kind of thing to create a buzz around themselves.
9. New Wheels
Renting cars is common enough but what if you own a hot car with boring wheels? Or a boring car which needs a spruse up even? Well rent-n-go will allow you to hire out some quality, stylish rims. I can definitely seem them as being a hit with men who want to impress ladies, on a first date maybe? They are great for a trial but a little pricey for long term use. And I wouldn’t like to think of the deposit you would have to put down! God forbid you actually scraped one or did some serious damage…
8. Solar Panel
Interested in free, green energy for your home but put off by the high up-front price tag? Well, if you live in America there is a company that rents out whole systems for your home. I can actually see this one becoming quite a big thing as energy prices continue rise and with the economy meaning that wages are remaining stagnant. We are certainly moving towards a new eco world and with actual energy products not giving domestic homeowners a return on their investments quite yet, this could be a huge trend.
Hosting a massive party but concerned about guests insisting on driving home afterwards? There’s always someone who will refuse a taxi and insist on taking their own car home. Well with UK company, Blow Me, you’ll get a team of people with professional breathalysers who will merrily test your guests before they leave. I’m not sure that they act as the police though so I highly doubt that if a guest came up positive, and they wanted to drive that the team of breathalysers could do anything to stop them! That would be down to you.
6. Grass Cutting
Do you own a large lawn but your drivable mower has broken down and is too expensive to repair? Or do you want to cut your grass and leave a smaller carbon footprint? Then Rent-a-Ruminant is for you! Watch with pleasure as a herd of goats nibble your grass to a nice finish. I am myself tempted to rent a goat as keeping a back garden in tip top condition is certainly hard work!
5. “Deserted” Islands
Going for a private, well deserved break away from the usual tourists can be within your grasp if you hire your own island. Think Richard Branson but on a (slightly) lower budget. I can totally see this idea being a hit as holiday destinations have certainly become extremely samey and run of the mill. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t prefer hiring out a little bit of secluded paradise over good old Benidorm!
4. Rent a Friend
Wanting a trip to the cinema but have no-one to go with? How about someone to accompany you to a gym or to art galleries? Then hire a ‘friend’ to share the experience with you and to make you feel less self conscious. Maybe I should invest in this the next time I have a business trip away somewhere and don’t feel like eating alone! Although, dining with a stranger you have never met before must be a little weirder right?
3. Designer Handbags
Not as strange as you might at first think, there are a number of companies that will rent out designer handbags, dresses, coats and accessories for a fraction of the retail price. This idea was of course made famous by Jennifer Hudson’s character in the Sex and the City film who was hiring designer bags as she couldn’t afford to purchase one of her own. So now you can get your hands on a fantastic Chanel flap bag while still keeping some change in your Louis Vuitton purse.
2. Easy Pilgrimage?
If you need the spiritual relaxation of a good pilgrimage but don’t have the time or inclination, a gentleman from Spain may be the chap to contact. Carlos Gil follows the medieval path to Fatima.
For 2,500 euros ($3,169), Pilgrim Gil will make the journey in your place — and send you a certificate stamped along the way to prove he walked your every step. He makes the 160 kilometre trip from his hometown once or twice a year as he says that it lifts his spirits. Fatima’s claim to fame is the Sanctuary of Fatima, built after the Virgin Mary was reported to have appeared six times to three shepherd children on a hillside near the town in 1917. Ever year about 3.5 million visitors flock to the shrine to celebrate the Virgin’s appearance — and Gil goes in the place of some of would-be pilgrims although he would not say how many people he walks for each year.
This has to be one of the strangest things you can rent. We know funerals are expensive. The price of caskets alone takes up a big chunk of the interment budget, but should you pay so much for something that will eventually go in the ground out of sight or burned? Surely not. Then take the plunge and hire a fancy casket for your loved one for the ceremony then use a less expensive one for the burial or cremation.
Guest blogger, Greg Coltman, writes prolifically about the weird and wonderful stories he encounters on a daily basis. He has plans for a bit of goat hiring.