Leisure Sales

I worked for a summer as a “gifter” for a Timeshare golf/hotel complex, helping people choose between cheap watches or crappy luggage sets. I also had to pick people for an “exit interview,” which was basically another hard sell. The most common trick–show them the golf course during the summer, but sell them a week in January. In a very snowy part of the country.

One week, a sewage pipe broke in the storage room, so I had to hose off all the “free luggage.” (Yes, people got suitcases that had been previously covered with leaky sewage.) We also had a “chance to win a free car!” Everyone received a key in their mailings, and they got to try it in a lockbox to see if it fit. The mailings very clearly said each key had a 1/25,000 chance of winning. That wasn’t strictly true. The manager kept the winning key locked in his office!  At the end of the promotion, he’d mail it out–to an address on the other side of the country, so the recipients wouldn’t come in and accidentally win the car.

The work itself was easy, but I felt like an accessory to duping. Never again!

Comments (4)

mmaireadApril 19th, 2010 at 10:44 am

I always wondered how people did this job. I’m glad to see that there are people like you who see and realize what they’re doing. This must’ve been horrible, working at a place like this, so I definitely sympathize.

These timeshare shills are sad; they talk people into buying things they just can’t afford, and then get as much money out of them as they can with ridiculous ‘financing’, and then they can resell the unit. My parents naively went to one when I was younger, thinking about purchasing one – after the insanely high-pressure sales pitch and the shady promises (which are completely NONenforceable once you sign the contract, because most contracts straight up say the company isn’t responsible for the promises their salespeople make!), they ran in the other direction, when they finally let us leave. The whole thing is a huge scam; there are cheaper and much easier ways to take vacations. I’d love to get my hands on an actual contract – they’re probably ridiculous.

efaneoApril 19th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

If you felt like an accessory to duping it’s probably because you were O_o

KimiErinJune 9th, 2010 at 11:30 am

I worked as a receptionist for 3 weeks for one of these places. It was horrible. I didn’t get along with anyone ( and I get along with pretty much everyone). The sales people were rude and aggressive. They also didn’t tell me certain things that I shouldn’t do and I got yelled at. I left because it was so awful. I felt bad for the people who came in to see the presentations knowing that they were getting ripped off.

ChicletSeptember 15th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I went to one of these presentations on my honeymoon. We basically only went so we could get free tickets to a boat tour. Totally worth it by the way. We sat in the back, answered the presenters questions unsatisfactorily because we took the time to bargain-shop our plane tickets and hotel and *gasp* didn’t spend $10,000 on our vacation, and remarked at how wasteful the $3,000/night room they showed us was. Then they let us go early because we weren’t interested. My husband wanted to pretend that we were interested so we could see how much it costs, but I’m such a pushover when it comes to salesmen, I wouldn’t let him.

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