Squandering Time and Free Stuff

I towed my unwilling feet away from the bar and towards the eerily, tenantless business complex. The reasons I agreed to squander the next one hundred and twenty minutes of my life evaporated along with my buzz. It wouldn’t be that bad. My husband smiled in his handsome, reassuring way.

I took my seat in the small, crowded, conference room. It smelled like bleach. I pictured an older man cleaning up evidence from a recent and horrifying criminal act. The stain on the floor supported my theory. A woman stood in front of the room, smiling disingenuously as the red light from the projector shone across her pruned face. Devil. It wasn’t her fault, I was grumpy.

This is how grumpy I felt. Perhaps I am a little over dramatic. Image courtesy of Rob! via Flickr
This is how grumpy I felt. Perhaps I am a little over dramatic. Image courtesy of Rob! via Flickr

She enunciated each word so excruciatingly slow, that I wondered if she had been a kindergarten teacher. Her overly pink lipstick and deliberate blinking, castrated my patience. I looked at my rose gold watch and sighed. It had only been ten minutes. My husband rolled his eyes at my inability to sit quietly. Why don’t they serve wine at these events?

The screen behind the Deliberate Blinker, boasted beautiful beaches and palatial hotel rooms. The ability to travel “anywhere” and pay “minimal” fees remained the theme of her speech.  I focused on our next vacation, Cabo San Lucas. It was an unusual marketing strategy: I waste your time and you award me with a five day trip to Mexico. In my defense, the person that pitched this to us over the phone explained it this way.

My greedy dreams of revisiting Cabo. Image courtesy of Vox Efx via Flickr
My greedy dreams of revisiting Cabo. Image courtesy of Vox Efx via Flickr

My parents have owned a time share in Winter Park, Colorado, since 1979. I love it. It has been just about the only constant in my life. Now that I have hijacked the timeshare, I recall childhood memories once a year and share them with my lovely step-daughters.

I relive the constant smell of chlorine. The game room sits nearly barren, with the same Pac Man, air hockey and pool table from when I was a kid. The same paintings garnish the walls. My favorite image is a horde of creepy black birds caught in a bleak windstorm. I have no idea who originally designed this space, but I assume they love Alfred Hitchcock as much as I do.

Maybe timeshares aren’t so bad. I positioned myself a little straighter in the uncomfortable chair. Struggling to mirror the enthusiasm of the wild-haired, woman next to me. I’m certain I failed.

The lights brightened and we were excused to join a staff member in a new room. We took our seat at a desk and awaited our new sales demon. She asked us questions about our lifestyle, income and travel ideals. I sat mostly quiet and let my husband do the talking. He had assured me that I would want to buy and he knew how to politely decline. I felt a bit guilty squandering away this woman’s time, it could not be an easy job. She assured me that 52% of people actually do buy in. We were not a portion of that statistic.

My guilt heightened as I realized she was stuck with us, unwilling buyers. I tried to make up for my uselessness with a friendly smile, hoping to assure her that she was doing a great job. The time came when she realized we weren’t going to bite. She explained we could pay extra to upgrade our free package to Cabo. We declined. I wanted to leave. We had been there well past the promised one hundred and twenty minutes and I was uncomfortable. Frustration obvious on her now unfriendly face, Sales Demon explained the terms of our reward.

The sales woman clear frustration. Image courtesy of lennon:) via Flickr
The sales woman, clearly frustrated. Image courtesy of lennon:) via Flickr

The rules stated that you had to list three different dates that might work with your schedule. I was leery at this point. No one told me about these stipulations before we signed up. Another red flag- if the dates chosen were over a specified (very low) dollar amount then we would have to pay the extra. The last requirement, it would take at least six months for you to obtain.

We had all been duped! Image courtesy of Bradley Gordon via Flickr
We had all been duped! Image courtesy of Bradley Gordon via Flickr

Well, what did I expect? The guarantee of a complimentary trip, in hand, in trade for a couple hours of my time sounded too good to be true. It was.

In turn, our presence at this presentation misled that we may be interested. It all came full circle, none of us were entirely honest and none of us were entirely surprised by the outcome.

We never used the voucher.

Have you ever traded your time for a freebie? Misused your time and someone else’s? Been to a high pressure sales pitch? Or am I the only terrible person?



12 thoughts on “Squandering Time and Free Stuff

  1. What can I say. At least you didn’t buy in. I can never go to these things because I am too soft and always feel compelled to buy when I waste someone’s time. I have never gotten anything free except a turducken that has been in my freezer for 3 years.

  2. You did post! I’ve never been in that kind of situation before, and I don’t want to be. I’d feel so sorry for the poor person trying to earn their living, knowing that they weren’t going to do so because of me. I don’t think you’re a terrible person, you get put in a tough situation and how can anyone feel good under that kind of pressure? Besides, you never used the voucher, so all is good, right?

  3. Ha! I’ve had people try to sucker me into going to these things, and I’m like NO WAY! Probably because I’m like my mom and I’d feel so bad I’d want to buy – better to just not get involved in the first place.

    How did the person on the phone find you anyway? And why did you answer your phone?

    P.S. I like how called the one lady “Deliberate Blinker”

    1. I should have used the, NO WAY approach. Terrible.

      I have no idea how they found me. Probably one of my “friends” signed me up for something 😦

      Thanks…I have a hard time letting go of people’s mannerisms.

  4. I laughed when I read this post. From what little I got saw of you @ the PPW conference last weekend, I can SOOOO see you doing this. I’m older/wiser and no longer even venture on things like this, because experience (and pain) have taught me otherwise. Take care!

    1. Marcy! You found me:) I’m so excited.

      I’m glad I could make you laugh…I seriously don’t know how I got talked into that. Never Again!

      It was really great getting to know you. We must keep in touch.

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