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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


So my husband and I were offered an opportunity to sit through a time share presentation for the sole purpose of 2 airline tickets to...wait for it...anywhere in the United States....sounds great doesn't it?

Well there is extensive initial pain...3 hours of being reminded everyone in the world is traveling and having fun and, well, you aren't.  Three hours of well intended salespeople trying to find ways to convince you to pay $20,000 for a vacation time share.  We don't have $20 extra dollars much less $20,000 so we were very passive, assured them it was a great idea...but kept one eye open for the door.

I felt like a hostage.

They had the first go offer is made to the first one who wrote a check for $20,000.  They would get an entire extra year of airline tickets.  One did...I watched him write out the check.  He was triumphantly escorted out, his salesman all smiles.  I wondered what the heck they did with him after the door was closed.

And then there were the rest of us, we obviously weren't as smart as the first buyer but we would have to do.   A very serious salesman in a red shirt stood in front of us and spoke very slowly, as though the reason we didn't accept his first offer was because we were too dumb to know what was going on.  But wait this offer was exactly the same as the first one but for $!0,000.  I suddenly felt so badly for that first guy, he pulled the trigger too fast. After that deal was revealed another couple jumped up screamed, "we'll take it!"   That happy couple was ushered out and I swear the wife turned and gave me a smirk.  A smirk?  Wow competition is alive and well no matter where you are.

Now there were the rest of us.  The salespeople looked at us as though we were the biggest losers ever and offered us "kind of a deal" for $2,000.  Keeping score?  It has gone from $20,000 to 10 to 2.
I kept thinking to myself, we are here for the tickets, we are here for the tickets.  They made one last sweep through the room and finally believed us that we would have to "think about it".  Euphemism for not in a million years.  Escape was so close....I could feel freedom.

After extensive paperwork, we ran to the elevator and kept running until we got to our car.  We didn't stop breathing hard until we were safely down the street.  Even then I kept looking behind us thinking the guy in the red shirt was going to be chasing us down the street.

Clean getaway...we did it!  And we had the paperwork in our hands for the tickets.  We had a plan for those tickets.  We were going to visit my husband's family in New Jersey for the family reunion.  With no extra money for anything in our household (what recession?) visiting Ray Ray's family hasn't been an option.  So this was a complete blessing.

I had jumped through every hoop...the paperwork was tedious to get the tickets, a $100 was required, but we finally got our activation number.  All that was left was to give them a date and an airport.  We are caterers and we can't make any vacation plans until we know what events we may have.  I looked at the paperwork a hundred times and I swear it said the departure date had to be 30 to 45 days in advance.

It didn' said I had to make the request for at least 60 days before departure....or...wait for it, the entire offer is void.  the 30 to 45 days was how long they had to respond to your request.

So this morning I received the following email

The Travel Service Center Processing Department is unable to accept your travel request because you have submitted the information within 60 days of your departure date.  Per the terms and conditions of the certificate which you have agreed to, all travel requires a minimum 60 day notice prior to your requested travel dates.  Any travel request forms received with invalid dates or destinations will void the offer.  

They said they would refund part of the $100 I paid them to activate the offer.

I called this nasty little outfit to find out what the heck had happened.  A nasty woman answered the phone and just kept talking over me.  That's when I realized I wasn't the only one who had made this grievous mistake.  Donna's wisdom - Whenever you speak to anyone on the phone about a problem and they start talking over you...they do not want to hear your side and want   you    off    the    phone.  So they start to filibuster.  To them you are just too stupid and didn't read the fine print of their well written contract.  I didn't have a chance.

I was amazed that asking for a departure date 45 days out instead of 60 cost us the 2 tickets.  No do- over, no excuses didn't read the fine print and you are out.  It is hard for us to know when we can actually get away, if someone asks us to cater a wedding or a party, we do it.  So coming up with a date we could go was a challenge.  All of our children will be in New Jersey for the family reunion with all the other family, and we were counting on those tickets.  Nutz....

Experience is the best teacher isn't it?  I will read the fine print to the best of my ability from now on and not assume I know what is in a contract, even if it is for a couple of airline tickets.

I learned the hard way, but I am still ticked.

Can we stowaway?  Fed Ex ourselves there?

For all my enlightened thinking I realize yet again it is a lot easier to go through life rich and thin.