The Timeshare Promotion: Just another Cheap Trip?


He doesn’t appear to breath between the segues of his precise, rapid-fire sales routine, yet I feel that at all times his roving robotic Terminator eye is scanning me for information such as the size and weight of my head, my IQ, and the real amount of my total household income.

One thing is for sure — Bill has managed to invoke every ploy used by every salesperson who has ever tried to sell me anything. He is not only the top sales rep for the company (he “sells these things like hot cakes!”), but he wants us to buy the “Cadillac” timeshare (much nicer than the older “Chevys” on the other side of the complex).

He lets us know the unit of choice is just like the one he and his family own. (They all look cozy in the picture he shows us, although it looks like he Photo-Shopped his head into the middle.) And, if we bring down a few friends next year for him to talk to (at this point the Terminator leans in as if telling us a great secret, his unblinking eye now looking into my very soul), the entire cost of our vacation is on him!

I was beginning to drift hypnotically, lulled farther and farther onto neutral ground by Bill’s meticulously executed subterfuge, but Laura was quick to anticipate the close, parrying with: “It’s too bad you need your answer today. This might be something we’d be interested in the future, but as you said, this offer’s only good for today. And we definitely won’t buy today. Thank you very much, anyhow.” It was brilliant.

The Terminator’s skin went opaque and, for a fleeting moment, his pupils turned into two menacing, red pin pricks of light. Then, suddenly, the color returned to his cheeks, the life returned to his eyes and a warm smile once again spread across his face. He briskly shook our hands.

No longer targets, we decided to address some of our own curiosities. The only criterion you need to meet to be eligible to become an owner at Westgate is telling them that you have an annual household income of at least US$ 40,000. But how could this company expect to sell so many timeshares (an average of 40 per day, they claim) to so many families of low to middle-class means?

The answer: If we had accepted Bill’s special “today only” offer we would have purchased one week a year for US$ 12,900, with monthly payments of US$ 199 for 10 years, with US$ 500-600 yearly maintenance.

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