Sharing your time

Back when I was younger, more naïve and married, I found out that people would pay me to come and stay with them at some swanky resort. This discovery required only a short 90 minutes of my time with no pressure or purchase necessary. I had discovered the Time Share sales pitch.

Ol' Dutch has never been one to pass up a good deal and what's 90 minutes out of a week's vacation after all. The first one I recall going to was in Bella Vista Arkansas and we were jammed into a car with six other people due to lack of salesmen that day. I was pushed up against the door, my wife on my lap with another old lady's breasts against my left ear. It was too close to see but she either had a huge mole on her neck or a tick from the area forests.

 We sped around looking at “special” lots in an area with untold thousands of acres of open lots for sale so Ol' Dutch began to suspect an element of not so fair play at hand. I was smart enough (spell that “tight”) to not get sucked in but one young couple bought one. Visions of evening walks in the pretty oak forests clouded their good judgment and they ended up with payments and POA fees for eternity.

 I swore off ever going to another until, of course, a supper-time telephone call came tempting Ol’ Dutch with a free vacation and a $100 cold cash to boot. It seemed like a good trade-off for 90 minutes of my time again. I mean, how bad could it be, right?

Soon we were in the hands of another snake oil salesman and he was plying his memorized incantation like a witchdoctor performing a séance. He pulled out all the stops and soon asked me what the most important thing in my life was. I quickly said getting the kids raised and through college. He scolded me harshly for not saying it was giving my wife vacations to Tahiti and Branson.

 I am not sure I got the comparison between those two places but the wife saved me by saying that yes, the kids and college were most important to us. He quickly caught onto the gist of this middle class American family values conversation and said that he himself had three children by three different women and is a gospel singer at night.

That remark was enough to get my wife to swell up like a pig at the county fair and we were soon out the door with our $100 faster than a toad hopping on an icy pond.

After that, Ol' Dutch once again swore off any more presentations until a surprise trip to Disneyland found us waiting in the hotel foyer for a ride to wonderland. A gorgeous blonde bimbo found me there and begging, pleading and even crying some convinced me to go to another rip-off meeting so she could feed her starving kids and pet canary.

This one was actually a great deal as I negotiated for $150 in cash, my two kids destroyed the breakfast bar and we were back in time for the bus to Happy Land. Two days in a row on that combined with being there during Desert Storm got me such good rates that I was able to pay for the motel and then some. Ol' Dutch was now catching on and planned on looking at being a professional time share visitor if things worked out for me.

 Years passed and various offers came and went all with free accommodations and cash to boot. Then something shocking happened. They caught on to Ol' Dutch and his schemes. Suddenly they wanted me to pay $149 and the cash back disappeared like a house in a Florida sinkhole. That is still a bargain I guess if you can milk it for 3 nights instead of the two in the initial offer they give you but the presentations had also gotten longer and more pressurized.

Trixie's dad Shot, tells of his own travail with the vacation dream builders. One sales lady cried, pleaded and finally asked him, “As a father, what will you leave your children?” To which he replied, “It sure won’t be this timeshare.”

 Unlike Shot and me, millions of people did buy into timeshares which means millions of them are now available for free if you just pay the yearly dues. What sounded so good at the time now is an albatross around a lot of people's necks as there are too many for the demand.

 One man I know did buy the best one ever. He was in on one of the Texas deals and those dumb developers promised lifetime stays at any of their resorts for any period of time. He moved into one in Branson and would move every two weeks to another one close by. They finally tired of the rental cleaning and just let him pick one. That was 10 years ago and he still lives there for free. Now that's real sharing.