Call me a masochist, but sitting through a timeshare presentation has always been on my bucket list. Ok, not really, but when the GF called and said, “Hey, I got 5 Days and 4 nights in a Hilton Vegas Resort for $200, I just gotta go to this presentation thing, wanna go”? -I was all in. She even said she’d brace the presentation by herself, but who wants to miss THAT?
Rather than bore you with all the ways this is not a good deal, my mind turned to what if other goods and services were sold the same way?
Imagine getting an email from your favorite grocery store. “Hi, Safeway Customer!!! We see from your Safeway frequent flyer card that you buy groceries. A LOT of groceries. SOOO many groceries in fact, we see you REALLY like to eat! How would you like 4 days and three nights of groceries in MIAMI, FLORIDA for $50? All you have to do is attend our presentation on our irresistible grocery OWNERS club?!?!” So, one click, $800 of airline tickets and you’re in
You show up for your 10:30 appointment time and …. you wait for 15 minutes. What makes you more anxious to buy something than someone being disrespectful of your time? (Think doctors, cable repairmen and toll booths)
Finally, you and a large group of your fellow Safeway shoppers are ushered into a rather typically decorated hotel seminar room decorated in “high fever, blood drained from your face” beige with a 70 inch TV screen in the front of the room. Your host, a tall handsome, salesman named John takes the front of the room. He laughs, painfully and insincere, at all his jokes no one else laughs at.
He launches into his very scripted presentation which goes something like this. “Who likes to eat?” (Only a few hands). (We’re going to hear 90 “raise your hand questions” in 30 minutes which soon makes me wonder if they’re trying to sell something or just lack creativity at Simon Says). “Who buys groceries”? (Pic of people buying groceries in Paris). “Who LOVES food” (pic of grocery buying in London- you can feel the excitement building in the room)
“I’m now gonna answer the three questions you’re dying to know”. “First, how long is this gonna take””. 90 minutes. The other two questions, which I have now forgotten were also answered by -lies.
“What if you could have two weeks of groceries every year for –$59?” “Pic of people buying groceries in San Francisco”. “Wouldn’t you love that”? (Pic of people buying groceries in the Maldives”).
“Right now, you just go to the grocery store and BUY groceries.” (Pic of grocery shopping in Bali). “But what if you OWNED part of the grocery store”. “You could walk in and just take groceries out in a percentage of your ownership- for almost nothing!” (Wait, didn’t you say I had to buy part of the grocery store? Pic of grocery shopping in the Grand Canyon)
“Now this is not a timeshare. This is a prepaid ownership points system. We sell different ownership percentages from a teenie weenie bit to a whole lot!! We use a point system because if you wanna buy groceries in a blizzard nobody wants to eat at the airport in Detroit you get FOUR WEEKS of Groceries, but if you want healthy delicious food at Christmas in Paris, you get 48 hours”.
You then get your personal salesman, Mike, who takes you on a tour of the grocery store you’ve shopped in many times before and repeats, ad nauseam, much of what Snake Oil John said. The one question he claims to beyond his pale of understanding like “what caused the Big Bang” is “what does this cost?” I know, cause like a prosecutor in Law and Order, I rephrased this question a dozen different ways.
It is now 105 minutes in. I have behaved up until this point. Until, he asks, “if we actually DID tell you what this cost, would you buy today?” Apparently, suggesting that this one question is used by every scam artist selling used cars purchased out of a flood to Ponzi schemes was taken personally. We were immediately taken to Jay to sign out where we were required to listen to what caused the Big Bang. Meaning – cost
Jay was a nice Asian guy who sat down and started to listen to the Mike go through a word by word recitation of what had taken place the last 105 minutes. I angrily interrupted to say that we were told this would be 90 minutes total, that they were 15 minutes over time, and that even cars had stickers on the window to tell you the cost and even car dealers, at some point brought in the finance guy. Jay also took this personally and claimed he was only doing his job. I calmly said I was not addressing my anger to him, as a sociopath thief, but to Sociopathic Thieves, Inc for whom he worked. This resulted in an immediate pricing. $10,000 payable $2500 up front, with payments of $250 a month at 14%-24% credit card interest for 10 years plus a maintenance fee of $1000 a year, forever. For a weeks worth of groceries. I assume the lack of attraction for prepaying $30,000 worth of groceries where you would not reach the break even retail point and get a discount for 20 years needs no explication.
Health care-imagine the same scenario above except your paying a high monthly payment to Medicare or health insurance for health care you may or may not need, where you have less buying power for the best healthcare when and how you need it- oh wait, bad example. Healthcare IS A timeshare.