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We don't want no stinkin' time share!

4.19.2011

Russ and I arrived at our scheduled appointment at Vacation Internationale last Friday evening armed and prepared to fend off ALL sales tactics that might make us cave in and purchase into a vacation program that we had no interest in.  All we wanted was our free trip, man!

The first thing we discovered was that the sales guy that called us and scheduled our appointment told us no less than FIVE lies to get us there. Hmmm, what kind of havey-cavey business were these people running?! Russ was ticked and ready to walk then and there... except we had driven an hour to get there and were starving (due to lie #3: to come on an empty stomach because there would be plenty of hors d'oeuvres... yeah, there was a small platter of cookies) and the apologetic sales manager offered us dinner out at The Olive Garden if we stayed. 

Sold. Heck, we were already there, kid free and with no other plans - a paid dinner at one of our favorite places meant a done deal in our world.

And thus began the most excruciatingly high pressure sales pitch we have ever encountered. Picture the best and most savvy car salesman you've ever met and multiply him by 100

These people pulled out all the stops. At one point the woman making the main presentation to the room full of couples talked about her deceased daughter and the amazing vacation pictures they had to remember their time with her, and we looked around the room and at least two other sales people (one was assigned to each couple) had tears streaming down their faces. We're pretty sure that was a completely fabricated story and they were all a bunch of unscrupulous actors... especially after our personal sales lady went on to tell us about her own child that she also lost, and the effect this wonderful company has had on her family since then.

It was actually amazing Russ and I didn't laugh in her face. 

The more we said no, the longer we had to stay and face a higher-up employee, and the longer it went on, the less friendly Russ became until I was the one doing all the talking because I was afraid he'd be incredibly rude if I let him answer. And let's be honest; I can't be mean to save my life.

(And speaking of honesty, if I'd gone alone I would have bought in after sales pitch #3 because they were going to give us a FREE 8 DAY CRUISE!)

Thankfully I wasn't alone and we made it. After 2 1/2 hours and four different sales personnel, we were finally sent to Sergey - the mostly non-English speaking man who would give us our free weekend trip voucher (and our free dinner gift certificate). We picked San Fransisco and when he left the room to get our paperwork we heaved a huge sigh of relief that the stress of the evening was over. 

Little did we know that he would come back with a fifth and final offer, "You buy for two thousand?", less than half of their last price quote, with a sales man waiting outside the window for a discreet yes or no nod. That time we did laugh out loud - but still said no. 

And then we were finally free - Woohoo! We actually felt quite accomplished to make it out alive and still debt-free (we're not sure any other couple did!) and we celebrated in style at Olive Garden with appetizers, salad, dinner and dessert. Because remember, we were STARVING.

It was an interesting night to say the least. And believe it or not, we totally enjoyed ourselves :)

9 comments:

  1. Been there done that! And it is amazing how rude they can be when you say NO and let be real...who comes but for the FREE stuff they give you. :) glad you made it out!!

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  2. Great story, but I'm not sure it really sounds like it was worth it... then again, you do have a free trip to enjoy.

    Just curious, when they say free, does that include lodging and other expenses or just the flight?

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  3. Great story, but I'm not sure it really sounds like it was worth it... then again, you do have a free trip to enjoy.

    Just curious, when they say free, does that include lodging and other expenses or just the flight?

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  4. You can say that again Tim!

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  5. I think Tim did say that again:) Did you get a little excited with the, "publish your comment" button, Tim?!

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  6. perish the thought of going through all that.but Olive Garden did sound like a good trade off!. Nicely wangled!

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  7. Kudos for staying as long as you did! I would have left a long time ago and saying not nice words on the out!

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  8. Tim, our trip includes round trip airfare and a hotel stay for two nights.

    I think the reason we still had a fun night was because it was one of those "us against the world" situations and we stuck it out together! That, and Russ was highly intrigued by the salesmen's tactics and enjoyed watching them work. There was no way he was going to budge for a single second and that really frustrated them :)

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  9. I'm hoping the best for you. Alma and I got one of those free stays at Seaside once. They put us in by far the dumpiest hotel in town with a window air unit, carpet from the 40s, a nice window view of he police department parking lot and, honest to goodness an old rabbit-ear TV from before the days that remote controls were dreamed of. ?????? I used my travel miles to get us two free nights at the Best Western on the beach.

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