How we survived a timeshare presentation.
A day after we sailed into Cabo my childhood friend, was playing with her girl-band Frankie at the Todos Santos Music Festival, only an hour drive from where we were. So we struck out into the crowded streets to look for a car rental. The first man we asked told us that he could get us a cheap car rental if we would only attend a time share presentation for 3 hours the next morning. Being the cheap dirtbag sailors that we are, this seemed like a good idea, particularly as there was absolutely zero risk of us buying a time share. There was only one catch. Apparently our demographic, “young couples”, don’t buy time shares (probably because they’ve got kids, mortgages, and more sense than disposable income). So in order to qualify, I would have to pretend to be a single woman (apparently single women buy time shares) and Robin could come along as my friend. Of course we had to come up with a back story for Robin so we decided he would be my gay friend and successful entrepreneur/CEO of a beard oil line called “Bear Juice”. The Mexican sales rep seemed okay with this story and qualified us for the time share presentation the next morning.
Off we went to the time share presentation where we sat down with a very nice sales lady over a breakfast buffet. After asking us our names and occupations, and perhaps sensing our shiftyness, she came out with the hard ball questions.
“And how long have you been together,” she asked.
“Oh we’re not together,” I said.
“But you want buy a time share together?” the lady asked.
“Well yes, I mean no, it’s really complicated.”
“It’s sort of an on and off kind of thing.” Robin chimed in.
Within 2 minutes of conversation she’d blown our cover and so for the rest of the presentation we just pretended to be a very complicated bi-flexible couple. For the record it is almost impossible to pretend you’re not together when you’ve been together for 4 years! In any case she didn’t seem to mind that we were together and went on with the presentation.
After oohing and aahing over the suites we went to the champagne room. This is a nice airy room overlooking the pool with 10-15 tables. At each table there’s a salesperson and two potential timeshare buyers. When we walked in the door we were greeted with glasses of champagne and brought over to a kiosk that served as a giant timeshare financial calculator. “So you see,” our sales lady said plugging in some numbers, “If you spend $10,000 a year on vacation, you’ll spend $500,000 over the next 30 years including inflation!” She then led us over to a table and began to make us offers. “For $30,000 today you could have a timeshare for the next 30 years, now isn’t that better than $500,000.” The financial analyst in me gagged. A server came around to ply us with Mimosas. Suddenly, there was a big “Pop!” and “Hurrah!” from the table next to us. The salesman stood up and welcomed his latest clients to the timeshare family with a bottle of champagne while the rest of us all watched and clapped, cheering them on in a dazed mimosa stupor. We told our sales lady that we really weren’t interested, we could never make a big financial decision like this without first sleeping on it. Undeterred she then presented us with several more offers: $20,000, $15,000, $9,000! But we were ready to get out of there. “No thanks,” we said, “Really not for us.” “Okay,” she conceded, “I just need to check you out with my boss.” At which point we were lead into a very hot room by a huge guy who grilled us for another 20 minutes, making us further offers: $8,000, $7,000, $5,000! “No!” we exclaimed, “We’re leaving.” At which point we were then “checked out” with his boss. Another 10 minutes and 3 offers later, we were finally released and picked up our discounted car rental.
Would we do it again? Would I be prepared to misrepresent myself, my financial situation, and my intentions over a cheap bottle of champagne to a complete stranger? Yes it turns out (we went to another time share presentation the next weekend). But now, now that I am older and wiser, I’d like to think I’d hold mysef to a higher standard. Next time, I would ask for a much bigger discount on the car rental.