There's no such thing as a free lunch ...
Yesterday the hubster and I were wandering down the strip to the Fashion Show Mall when a man with a clipboard asked if we'd like to see a show.
We're in Vegas, of course we'd like to see a show.
It turns out he was offering us the tickets for free. PLUS a free lunch.
All we had to do was visit a brand new property at the south end of the strip, hear what the spiel was and promise to talk about the property to our friends back in Australia as an alternative spot to stay next time they were in Las Vegas.
The blogger in me jumped to attention as I thought of the exclusive I'd be able to give you about the latest property to hit Vegas.
As we chatted to him and asked questions it became clearer that this might be a time-share spiel we were signing up for.
As we started to look at each other skeptically the dude not only agreed to give us two tickets to see a hypnotist, he agreed to double it to four tickets (we told him our friends were arriving late that night) and he would give us $400 in gambling money.
We didn't have anything much planned other than shopping and laying by the pool so we jumped in the little shuttle bus they had waiting for us and headed into the never never.
We knew we were going to have to "play the game" when we got there and pretend to be interested in the spiel. But we also knew there would be a buffet waiting for us where we could feed our faces.
As we approached it became clear that this property was not a new hotel I was going to brag about on the blog. It was a block of condos that were so far removed from the heart of the strip that we needed binoculars.
That's Ok, I thought. So the blogging bit was now out of the equation, but we still had a free lunch, and the promise of some gambling money and tickets to a show.
Now, I'm not going to go into detail here about what took place inside those walls, but I will tell you that FIVE HOURS later we could safely say we'd worked damn hard for our "free" stuff. We left the place exhausted.
The buffet was a bunch of sandwiches and the presentation was a one-on-one with a guy giving us the hard sell on buying into the condos.
Each time we said no and started leaving we'd be given another deal too good to turn down. What started as a $30,000 USD buy-in to the time-share vacation system ended up as a $5990 deal by the time we left the building.
The system itself isn't too bad. We can totally see why people get into time-share. It's not for us, but I can see how it would suit many people.
The people we spoke to were lovely and we had a good laugh with them.
Did we buy in?
We were tempted. With the amount of travel we do and with a system that would allow us access to properties all over the world, we could see the merits. But there were fine print limitations that just didn't sit well with our need for flexibility.
Plus I didn't like the process. The way they were bringing people of very average income off the streets and offering them on the spot financing (at 17%) to get on board that day. All decisions had to be made on the spot. You couldn't go away and think about it.
Also, why offer me this at $30,000 and then negotiate down to $5990? I definitely feel like I'm getting a bargain. But what happens to those poor people who have agreed to by-in at the top end? Note: If you are interested in time share, wait until you're out of the conference, down the escalators and about to exit onto the street before you sign on. The more you say no, the more they'll drop the price. Ours went from $30,000 to $24,990 to $19,990 to the very special employee only buy-in at $11,990 to the "because we like you and we know how much this would enhance your life rate" of $5,990 as we went to collect our free stuff downstairs.
As for the tickets and the casino cash?
The casino cash is a voucher that you have to use at one casino at one row of slot machines and you can't pull out your money. Once it goes into the machine you've got to sit there until you gamble it all away.
We're yet to determine if the tickets were worth the FIVE HOURS of our life we'll never get back. I'll keep you posted on that one!
Have you ever sat through a presentation for the promise of free stuff?
When was the last time you were given the hard sell?
Have you ever bought into time-share?