Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Timeshare Guilt

I got a card from a Marriott timeshare sales representative yesterday. It wasn't a pre-printed card but a handwritten card. The sales rep clearly took some time and effort to write since she mentioned stuff we talked about and not just generic pleasantries. And suddenly, I felt very, very, very guilty.

I attended a timeshare presentation for Marriott's Newport Coast Villas Timeshare last year. I saw an ad that offered a 2 night, 3 day stay at Marriott's Newport Beach hotel for $50. The offer also included a $50 gift certificate to the Fashion Island mall at Newport Beach and a $50 gift certificate to the hotel's steakhouse. Several of my friends convinced me to do it by saying they always attend timeshare presentations to get freebies.

Truth be told, I attended the timeshare presentation with NO intention of buying a timeshare. I also lied about whether I owned my own home (which apparently is a pre-requisite to participating in the offer.) I also knew that I could resist all the high-pressure sales tactics since my current job requires me to say "no" during negotiations all the time.

As expected, I breezed through the presentation and the subsequent sales pitch. I lied through my teeth about how I was in the market to buy a timeshare and that Marriott and Westin timeshares were in serious contention. Once I got out of the presentation unscathed, my sister and I spent several days in the lovely "OC" for merely $50 + tax + fees.

But now, after receiving the card, I suddenly felt guilty that I selfishly wasted a fellow human being's time so that I can earn some freebies. I realize that this is all part of the game, but I am now seeing that I had falsely raised someone's hope and expectation for a sale. The sales rep makes a living by selling timeshares and I shouldn't have participated in the deception solely to get a free hotel room.

Does anyone else feel this way? Or do you feel justified getting freebies from timeshare presentations even if you have zero intention to buy?

8 comments:

Sallie's Niece said...

Eh I wouldn't stress it too much, that's part of their business - getting rejected. I think offering people really cheap vacations to see if they'll buy a timeshare is a BAD business model because it assumes people could be persuaded to make that kind of decision with a bribe. But I guess for every 9 that say no, there's 1 that thinks its a great deal. I actually think timeshares can be a cool thing but don't feel guilty about not buying one just because you accepted a freebie. I'm sure she writes nice notes all day long.

moneymatekate said...

I completely avoid the timeshare brigade because most of them are tenacious bulldogs and I hate hate hate the hard-sell. Plus, whenever I attempt deception (I'm a lousy liar, so it's a rare event) I get a heavy heat in my neck and shoulders that I just don't like.

My main objection to timeshares (not for me, for my family - I hate that kind of vacation) is that they have crappy resale value. At least, that was the case last time I looked into it 10 years ago.

Money Beagle said...

I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'm sure that they have an expected rate of success and that it has to be pretty low. I doubt you skewed their numbers too much. Still, if it does make you feel guilty than you'd probably think twice before planning future vacays around the timeshare freebies, after all vacations are meant to be enjoyed, and if you're feeling stressed about it, that would defeat the purpose. Besides, the more you'd try the more you'll increase your chances of being pulled into one of those horror stories that we've all heard. You know, where you get trapped for hours and hours with no access to food, water, or toilet.

Chalk it up as a learning experience!

Christine said...

Ah, forget about it! It's a hardsell, like moneymatekate says. Don't stress. :)

There are plenty of people that attend for the freebies and the weekend vacations. Your not the first nor the last person to do this. Case closed: wouldn't feel guilty!

FruGal said...

Don't worry about it. When it's the other way around do you think sales reps ever feel bad about the things they do to others? Me neither.

Shtinkykat said...

Thank you. I realize the sales folks understand that their expectations are probably tempered so I have nothing to feel guilty. But as MoneyBeagle pointed out this isn't worth it if it stresses me out. I doubt I'll be doing this again! :-P

Jackie said...

In my humble opinion, if you have to lie, it is a usually a good indication you are doing the wrong thing.

Shtinkykat said...

Well said and duly noted, Jackie!