Sunday, April 15, 2012

We don't like to call it a "timeshare"; we prefer "vacation ownership."

Last Christmas, my wife and I put our names in one of those "you-could-totally-win-stuff-if-you-just-give-us-more-personal-information-than-you're-comfortable-with-and-let-us-harass-you-about-super-special-deals-until-the-zombie-apocalypse-happens-but-actually-even-after-that-because-then-a-zombie-shambles-up-to-your-door-and-instead-of-being-all-'bra-a-a-a-ains'-it's-like-'de-e-e-e-als'" things because we're fucking stupid why not? (Just keep reading; I'll answer that. Also, that's way too damn many hyphens.) Anyway, after that, we pretty much forgot about it, which probably would have been the best possible ending for the story, but when you're the kind of person who gets picked up by the short bus while hitchhiking (no, seriously), that ending is never a real option anyway.

It should be a sign when you get a letter that tells you that you have to call a phone number that tells you that you have to drive to the Happy Dipshit Resort in fucking Flint, Texas and sit through a 90-minute presentation in order to claim your prize. It was, but we chose to ignore it because who doesn't want a free trip to Vegas? Us, ever again.

Chapter One: "Mistakes Were Made."

At first, it kind of sounds like fun: you pack some snacks and drinks and take a few-hour road trip. And at the end, FREE TRIP TO VEGAS! Since no one has ever been to Flint on purpose, I drew you a map:
On your way there, you will pass:
  • A rather seriously misnamed "mobile home" on blocks, with about 15 equally immobile cars in the yard.
  • A restaurant called Maggie's with a sign out front that says "COED." (Don't try to tell me East Texas isn't progressive.)
  • Some cows and trees, spaced very far apart.
Trust me, all this will come in useful later when you suggest that there's nothing to do in Satan's Asshole Flint, and your Vacation Ownership Representative gets all pissy and spits back "do you even know this area?" Yes, we drove through THREE FUCKING HOURS of it on the way here.

Immediately upon entering the building, two things become apparent to us:
  1. This "resort" is exclusively for people who will never be invited to a country club.
  2. We have made a huge fucking mistake in coming here.
There are screaming children all. The fuck. Over. We find the area that seems to have to fewest unsupervised banshee spawn and sit down by a table, except it's not actually a real table; it's a carpeted checkerboard with legs. A child comes running up, pushes past me, jumps one piece all around the board, then runs off again. In one corner of the room, there is a TV that cost more than most of the people here make in a month playing America's Funniest Home Videos on an endless loop. THE BOB SAGET VERSION. Next to me is Jake from Evil Dead II. Across the checkerboard from us is a skinny, bearded old man who looks like he would be more comfortable playing a banjo shirtless on the front porch. It's like a Cracker Barrel threw up in here. Jake asks me if we got VIP tickets, as though this were not asshat wankery, but a real thing that conferred some type of privileged status. This is most people's version of hell.

Forty-five minutes after being told we'd be going in right away, we're sitting in the Bullshit Lounge waiting for our Vacation Ownership Representative to show up so we can get this the fuck over with. We were expecting some Slick McDouche wearing a Rolex, so you can imagine our surprise when instead he turns out to be the self-proclaimed "best skateboarder in East Texas. No, seriously, just mention his name in Dallas and you'll see." What we'll actually see in a few minutes is that he should probably wear a helmet more often.

Chapter Two: "Something Witless This Way Comes."

Roughly the first ten minutes of our 90-minute* presentation involved rolling up every socially awkward sitcom character in television history into some kind of Mega Wank with logorrhea and a tenuous grasp of geography, and allowing him to ramble endlessly in the kind of way that would have given Miss Manners a seizure. The proper response to finding out that someone you're talking to has lost the relative you just asked about—no matter how far in the past—is to feel slightly embarrassed and say "I'm so sorry for your loss." Somewhat less acceptable is pontificating for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES on the deeper meaning of death. Seriously, he would not. Stop. Talking. About it. Twice we thought he was done, but then he started up again on some new tangent about "a better place," or some other clichéd bullshit. Then he asked us about past vacations and used some really sketchy match to show us how much money we would waste over the next 20 years. Also, he asked us where the Mediterranean was. "Um, it's between Europe and Africa. Unless we're playing Carmen Sandiego. Then it could be anywhere."

*Individual experience may vary.

A skeptical Jake appears!
Timeshare Salesman uses SKETCHY MATH!
Other things you don't do when you're trying to sell someone something (sadly, an abridged list):
  • Use the phrase "man cave." Especially when describing the bathroom, and in conjunction with the phrase "do some paperwork."
  • Proceed to shut your prospective customers in said bathroom together, then jump out from behind a wall with the "Surprise!" face and jazz hands when they come out.
  • Use any of the following words or phrases: "jizz," "shitting bricks," "fuck."
  • Smell like pot. Or try to blame it on the maintenance staff.
  • Get defensive and try to argue with your prospective customer about how much they'll enjoy whatever the hell it is you're selling.
  • Fuck around for so long that you take FOUR FUCKING HOURS to get through a 90-minute presentation, especially when another salesperson laps you more than once.
I tried to keep an open mind. I really did...ish. Unfortunately, even my patience runs out after the first couple of hours, so I just gave up and started fucking with him.

After making us list "five places you absolutely want to go sometime" for about the sixth time:
VOR: "Are you ready for this?" [He opens the door onto a tiny patio.] "Behold, your view of the beach in Fiji!" [It's a fucking parking lot.]
Me: "You've got a lot of cars parked in your ocean. All that salt water can't be good for them."

While showing us the camping area:
VOR: "You can even stay in a Lincoln log cabin!"
Me: "Is it made of real Lincoln Logs?"
VOR: "It's a Lincoln log cabin."

Chapter Three: "You Will Deny Me Three Times."

Finally, we return to the Bullshit Lounge for the coup de grâce (we fucking hope)—twenty more minutes about some three-letter company whose name I can't remember because my brain had actually shut off at this point, but which represents THE ULTIMATE INTERNATIONAL VACATION OWNERSHIP EXCHANGE PROGRAM! He flips through his encyclopedia of resorts, apparently intent on showing us every single one of the 5000 fucking places in the world we could stay for just $199 a month (not including meals or airfare) and circles his sketchy math a few more times, conclusively proving how fantastic it is. Meanwhile, my wife has turned into a Salvador Dalí painting on my shoulder. I actually say "yeah, circles don't impress me all that much." And anyway, we all know the steps to this particular dance.
  1. Skate or Die makes us a terrible offer, in the hopes that we're absolute fucktards who actually bought any of the bullshit he just fed us interested. We're not.
  2. He calls his "supervisor" over to see if she can offer us a better deal because she "has more authority to make a deal" than he does. She turns out to be a reanimated version of my Grandma Leone, with Flo-Jo nails. She tells me I have a "good Bible name" and makes an offer that cuts out about 75% of the "benefits" and about 15% of the price, and we suggest 5000 places she can stick it.
  3. Zombie Grandma Flo-Jo sighs at us and goes to have a cigarette talk to her supervisor to see if she can get us an EVEN BETTER deal, which is "really not very likely," but "it can't hurt to try." Meanwhile, Stoney Hawk asks "do you guys know what you just said no to?" Yes, in fact, we do, and it's not unlike syphilis.
  4. Magically, all of the benefits are restored, and the price drops to half of the original offer. This is presumably meant to be a fucking steal, so I carefully look at all the numbers, count on my fingers while mumbling to myself, and say that I think it sounds like a great deal. Then I look Grandma Pall Mall right in the eye and say "no" LIKE A MOTHERFUCKING CHAMP. Everyone walks away without even thanking us, and I tell Captain Cannabis "thanks for playing."
  5. The Regional Supervisor, who is totally real and has nothing fucking better to do on an entire Saturday than frown at strangers who don't want syphilis, sends us to another building where we have to wait another hour  to be treated with full-on dickery for insisting that there will actually be room for both of us to come back to the prize room, even if one of us has to stand. Also, you can only take the free Vegas trip in the middle of the fucking week, in the hopes that you just won't go and then they won't have to pay for it.
Timeshare Salesman uses CIRCLES! It's not very effective.
But then, on the way home, we decided to stop at this tiny Mexican restaurant that had a little trouble with signs, but also gave out free margaritas on Saturdays. Apparently the moral of the story is that I will give away ten hours of my life for free booze and a trip to Las Vegas.

Good thing I brought my ASIA card.
Also, I didn't have to wait four fucking hours
to find out I could only drink it on a Tuesday.

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