It was Monday morning. I slept in late by about 30 minutes, still basking in the aftermath of a weekend well spent. With good company on found, flaming bikes from beach time pizza and beach time syringes on my mind, I reluctantly woke up. I ran around my apartment, in a scramble to get ready. I checked to see if the cat had vomited, as she had done right before I went to bed. Not seeing any food in her bowl or on the floor, I fed the cats. I successfully put on my pants and made my way out the door.
It was warm out, but not too muggy, so I hadn’t immediately begun to sweat yet. As I got to the corner, I watched the most hated 111 bus roll away. Damn. I got to the bus stop and was preparing for a nice, long wait, when another 111 turned the corner! What luck! I reached for my back pocket to get my T-pass from my wallet. This is when I remembered that I absentmindedly went swimming with my wallet in my back pocket, so my wallet and all it’s contents were in my bed room, drying on my dresser.
An hour, a shoulder-to-shoulder bus ride, and two T lines later, I was just a half-a-mile walk away from my office. I took a peek down at my cellphone (mainly to see how much time I had before my boss got it work) and I noticed I had a new voice mail. Only about four people ever call me, so I was rather curious. I dialed up my voice mail, gave a little listen, and this is what I heard:
“Hello? Chris? Hi! This is Derick something-or-other. I have incredible news for you. You filled out our entry form in Newburyport. Give me a call back at 1-877-819-5072. Incredible news.”
Well, maybe HP’s luck is taking a turn for the better! I thought to myself about what I had filled out at the fair in Newburyport. There was a Careerbuilder.com tent, which I participated in to get free chap stick, but I could not recall anything else.
I gave Derick a call back. He congratulated me, and told me that I won four (4!) free airline tickets good for up to 2 (two!!) years to over thirty-two (XXXII!!!) locations! Amazing! I was not the least bit suspicious.
Derick told me he wanted me to come pick up the tickets, personally, at the InnSeason Resort in Ogunquit, Maine. This seemed like quite a hike to take. Then, Derick started asking me questions. How old am I? Do I make over 75k? I can tell you, with full certainty, that I do not make over 75k. When I told him that, he asked me to bring someone with me who was over 25 and did make over 75k. I was getting a little bit suspicious.
Now, getting a call out of the blue like this is a bit unusual. Especially one asking me to travel out of state with an older friend who makes over $75,000 a year. I decided that it would be in my best interest to Google the InnSeason Resort. It turns out they are a legitimate business. Any one who has stayed at an InnSeason Resort seemed to enjoy it. But, I dug deeper (id est: page 2 on the Google searches) and it seems, low and behold, that they sell timeshares! I thought the notion of selling timeshares was just a plot device used in comedies from the 1980s. How wrong I was. Now I was suspicious.
Apparently, the deal works like this: You get a call telling you that you have won free airline tickets in a drawing you don’t recall signing up for. All you have to do to pick up your wonderful tickets is sit through a 90 minute presentation. That still seems like a good deal, huh? Ninety minutes for four (4!) plane tickets? Well, sometimes the “ninety minute” presentation takes over three hours to finish. And I guess they just don’t like to take “no” for an answer! It seems that all over the internet, the reviews were not very flattering. People complained of rude staff, hard sales, and strict stipulations that come with the tickets. Well, a few reviews were positive, but it seems this one gentleman was staying at another hotel all together. I was very suspicious.
This establishment, so cleverly named the “InnSeason Resort,” seemed a tad bit dubious. I grabbed my phone, breathed a couple times, pushed several digits, and called their Marketing Department in Gilford (1-800-421-4213). I asked about how they got my information and the woman told me that I must have filled out a form at a fair in Newburyport. I asked her for more information and she put me on hold and transfered me to a woman who could help. This woman helped by congratulating me on my prize and by telling me that I could pick up the four (4!) plane tickets, personally, in Ogunquit, Maine.
I decided that the best option I had was to decline this package. Partly because they neglected to tell me that in order to receive the tickets, I had to agree to stay with them for a week on my own dime and partly because I didn’t want drive to Maine just to possibly get raped. I grabbed my phone, breathed a couple times, pushed several digits, and called Derick.
I transcribed that entire phone call. If you would like to read it, even the boring parts, please follow this link here. Here are the choice bits of that talk. I tried to simply decline the offer, but Derick was quite pushy. So, I got creative.
(Images of Derick(s) may vary.)
Alright Chris, how ya doing?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing good, thanks for asking.
All-right. Now did you find a good day you could come pick ‘em up?
I was wondering, um, would it be possible for you to mail them to me by any chance?
Alright, good question, I’m glad you asked. We can’t mail. The reason we’re giving you the tickets in the 1st place is for you to take 90 minutes and check out the resort.
We’re trying to get good word-of-mouth advertising, so our whole goal was to show you an amazing time, leave you with some amazing gifts, so you could go home and spread some good word of mouth about the company.
That’s it. You know, no cost. You’ll be out of here with the tickets in hand.
Alright, well- that’s probably not going to happen.
Yeah, well, have you done something like this before?
No, no, just, ah, have never heard of your establishment. Don’t know how you got my information to be quite honest. I don’t recall signing anything or filling anything out.
Alright, Chris, alright. Let me see here. Let me look you up. I could tell you exactly, just you caught me away from my desk. Alright, now you’ve never heard of our establishment?
(… he tells me about their history and their word of mouth campaign …)
So, everyone comes up here, we give them a GREAT time, and we issue them these tickets. Keep us in mind for a future nights stay. And have a nice vacation on us.
Well, uh, I’m going to have to go and decline.
I have the right Chris. So look, all you have to do is come up here and have a GREAT time, hopefully keep us in mind for a future night’s stay, and, honestly, no cost and no obligation, leave here with four free airline tickets. Good for two years. Two years. Two yea-
You know, I really think I’m going to have to pass. Really. Probably -
Alright Chris, who would- who do you – who would you like to give your tickets away to?
I’d say that, I think that you are, ah, a good person. I will give them to you.
Haha, yeah. Alright, well, I appreciate it. Of course I can’t pick up the tickets, I work for the company.
You’ll have to give it to a friend and they will transfer them over to you.
Do you have anybody that coooould, you know? Do you have a friend or a family member. Look, I don’t understand it. You just come up here. Have a WONDERFUL day at Cape Cod, we take you out to lunch -
Well, I’ve read a couple of reviews, so far. Of this institute. And the half a star isn’t really looking like it’s going to be all too spectacular. On top of that, my car is going to catch on fire soon, so I don’t think I’m going to be driving out to Cape Cod any time soon.
Haha, alrighty, you should probably get that fixed. Haha. What’s – ah, half a star? Outta five?
Ah, yes outta five.
The Harborside resort was just rated one of the best resorts in Cape Cod in – one of the the – I’m not exactly sure which magazine it was, but it was just – it was just this summer. Just got rated #1 resort in Cape Cod.
Well, we all have our preferences, but I only like the Cape Cod chips. I stay away from the cod, don’t even like the the fish.
Don’t even like the fish?
Don’t even like the fish. Some, I’m going to stay away from the whole area, and I’m just going to say – I gotta decline this, thank you for the offer, and you can take these tickets and you can – spin a roulette wheel. With a name on it.
No, sounds good to me. I – I could go down to Vegas, have a grand old time.
That. Sounds. Excellent.
Well, if it sounds excellent, why don’t you come pick ‘em up? I could send them up to Olgunquit, Maine and pick them up if you’d like to. I could easily transfer the gifts to Olgunquit.
Oh no. That’s quite alright, really.
Do you like that area better? Or …?
Ah, no I don’t go to Maine, I don’t believe in Maine, it’s against my personal beliefs to go to Maine. But, I -
(giggles like a school girl)
I have, um, I think I’m just going to say, I’m going to decline it. That’s what I’m going to do.
Say it’s on the basis of religious reasons if that makes it any easier to fill out in your filing. I don’t except gifts from – ah – inns.
Ah, inns, yes. It’s against my religion to accept gifts from an inn. Because of how many people stay there, they’re unclean and such. Metaphorically.
We – we- we clean every room.
In the same way that the pig is unclean in Judaism. You do not eat the pig. I do not stay in the inn.
But, I’m not Jewish. If that makes sense?
Alright, Chris, I’m glad that you gave us a call back and I will hopefully find someone who can come and pick up your tickets for ya.
Alright, Chris, hey, have a great night.
Thank you. Buh-bye.
So, after a rather drawn out phone call, I decline their offer of mysterious plane tickets. Derick was a bit pushy and he was very adamant about how GREAT this whole deal was. In his eyes, I must have been stupid to decline such a GREAT offer. He just kept telling me how GREAT it was. For a moment, I almost believed him. Then he told me that their inn located at Cape Cod was the #1 summer resort at the Cape, based upon a magazine he can’t remember. That’s where Derick lost me.
Pity, if Derick could have just sited that one reference, that oasis in his vast desert of illogic, I would have not only attended one of their conferences, but I would have bought four (4!) time shares.