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Zipcar

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REV: JUNE 30, 2005

FRANCES X. FREI

Zipcar: Influencing Customer Behavior
Anita Karr frantically gathered everything she needed for her road trip: water, her favorite “mix” CD from Javier (the ex-boyfriend), ear plugs. After years as a struggling musician her sister was making her debut as the new drummer for No Bags to Check, a performance art/hard rock band that was gaining momentum on the East Coast college circuit. The venue for this breakthrough in her sister’s career was Lupo’s in Providence, Rhode Island and Karr had to be there. Living in Cambridge a car hadn’t been necessary; most of the places she needed to visit on a daily basis were within walking distance of Karr’s Valentine Street apartment. To visit her sister across the river, grocery shop, and run errands Karr relied on Zipcar, which she had signed up for a year ago rather than continue to pay for parking, car insurance, and gas. For tonight’s trip she had reserved weeks ago, using Zipcar’s convenient online reservation system, a VW Jetta Jericho. It was 3:30 pm. Karr was scheduled to pick up the Jetta at 4:00 pm, her sister by 4:30 pm, and arrive at Lupo’s by 6:00 pm. Both she and her sister had figured that this was more than enough time to get to Boston from Cambridge, load the drums, and make Providence by the appointed hour. Karr made one final sweep of her belongings—she couldn’t find Javier’s Best of Bob Dylan CD, which she had conveniently forgotten to return—then gathered her bags and headed for the Charles Hotel where she expected the Jetta Jericho to be gassed up and ready to go. In Brookline Sal Fishman glanced nervously at his Iron Man-branded “expedition” watch as 3:30 pm approached. He was confident that the watch had helped him communicate vitality and focus during his two-hour interview with representatives of the Simon Property Group, owner of the Chestnut Hill...

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