So, someone with knowledge and wisdom help me out here. I’m getting all sorts of mixed responses on the legitimacy of this resolution, because…. well, here’s the story.
You know these?
The car sitting in the middle of the shopping mall luring in to try your luck by dropping your name into a box and hoping you get to take it home?
Well, sometime around December I think, in the midst of all of my last minute holiday shopping, I decided “why the heck not” and threw my entry into that little box. I don’t even remember what car it was anymore, a Mercedes I think.
Well, just a couple of weeks ago I get a letter in the mail addressed to me–in my own handwriting. I ripped it open, curious to find out when I had possibly addressed a letter to myself. I honestly thought it was one of those “to my future self” letters that we wrote back in the 5th grade. Not so secretly, that would have been just as exciting to me as what I actually got. But, I digress.
It was actually the entry that I had filled out 3 months ago in the middle of that shopping mall. Attached was a typewritten letter, no letter head, that said something to effect of “Congratulations! You won!” …then something about being guaranteed a prize of either $500 cash, an island getaway vacation, a $1500 shopping spree–or that car that I really wanted in the first place.
Then, I had to call to redeem it. This is where it starts to sound like a very familiar Family Guy episode.
“You’re already guaranteed to win one of the 4 prizes, but if you stay for a 90 minute presentation you can also win…”
Oooh, I know what this is. The mother of all scams that mothers warn their children about as soon as they’re able to even say the words “timeshare.”
But you know what, a vacation sounded pretty good. And so did a chance at a new car. So off I went, to spend 90 minutes in San Antonio in order to walk away with at the very least, a free vacation. Luckily I had friends to warn me of what lay ahead, because here’s the bulleted list version of how it went.
- Receive phone call saying that a representative will be waiting for me at the resort. Makes me feel like I’m the only one showing up.
- Actually arrive, I am NOT the only one. Probably 50 other people with the same appt slot. Representative is NOT waiting. Arrive at 2:25 for 2:30 appointment, representative arrives at 3:10.
- Woman seems nice enough, thanks me for waiting. Sits me down and starts the stereotypical “I’m not gonna hard sell ya, but can you at least tell me that you can say ‘yes’ to a good deal” speech.
- I say yes. Commence to learn all about Silver Leaf Resorts and all of the great things they can offer me, how much money they can save me, and how much better my life will be if I become an owner today.
- Interrupted 4 times by other salesmen loudly announcing the people that just bought from them. They call it a ‘tradition.’
- Go on a tour of the facilities, nice enough, but not stunning. I can see how it would be good for lots of kids. Or old people.
- Come back, the big finale is that you can use your ownership to stay at hundreds of resorts around the world for a ridiculously low price. Pretty cool, until you find out that total it will cost you $15,000, with almost $4,000 down.
- I am not buying a new car’s worth of vacations today.
- Call in financials guy, “We can work with you.” “You can afford this.”
- I say no.
- Representative suddenly not so nice. Talks about the huge mistake I’m making. Walks away and leaves me alone to wait for someone else.
- Final boss man comes in, says he’s from corporate. “We’re not gonna beat you over the head with it, but what if…” and makes me another deal.
- I say no.
- Alright, head to the other building for your prizes.
15 more minutes of waiting in a DMV-esque room with screaming children (who no doubt had to wait through the same BS I did for way more than 90 minutes), and here’s what I walked away with:
1) A cruise to Cozumel
2) A lovely island getaway to either Hawaii, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico or Aruba (airfare not included)
I can’t prove it but I’m pretty confident that everyone who’s gullible enough to put their name in those boxes “wins.” It may not technically be winning a sweepstakes in that case, I guess. But…in my own defense, I THOUGHT I was entering a legitimate sweepstakes, the letter in the mail DID say that I “won,” and I did walk away with a cruise and a free island vacation. …So…I’d call that a win. Check!
But, seriously, if anyone knows for sure, let me know?
Would I recommend that other people do it? Sure, if you’re good at saying no, I’d say the two and half hours were worth a free cruise later. Then again, I haven’t gone on it yet, nor gone through the process of booking it, so I’ll let you know.