It’s a rite of passage here in Florida, the call of the timeshare. It starts out innocently enough. At events, trade shows, or even posted on billboards there is an ad offering a free cruise, trip, flight, or ticket to an exotic or not so exotic location. All that is required is two hours of your time. They’ll even throw in a gas card to cover your costs there as well. Such a deal.
Or is it?
Having spent time at a few of these I can say it all depends. Let me give you a few tips on what to expect before you jump in.
Number 1: The trips are not free! The main part might be, but you have to pay the taxes and if it’s a cruise, it’s an inside room and you’ll have to pay the docking fees as well. The one time I didn’t have to pay taxes was for tickets to Disney. The timeshare company buys them in bulk and the tickets are so cheap that the company can swallow the taxes easily.
Number 2: They are going to point out all the pretty things first. Just like an obnoxious 70’s car salesman, the person showing/selling the time share is going to show you the best/highest priced room/condo first. Full of features and amenities, they dazzle you with the glitter. Then as they go on, they show the middle and lower end rooms, all the while showing the newly built rooms and not the older models.
Number 3: They constantly build and build upon the perceived value. As you expend energy going from place to place and get tired from the script, the sales person keeps adding features that you might or might not use. (I’m not a fan of pools myself, and the last thing I want to do is run on a treadmill when on vacation. I think that all the walking around I’ll be doing is more than enough.)
Number 4: They’re going to state the price then drop it, if you buy today. Just like the old Ginsue Knife, buy today and save 25%!
Number 5: The salesperson is looking to make money. They like eating and this is how they pay for their food. Expect them to try to get a sale.
Number 6: If you’re lucky and in a large enough group, the salesman will ignore you and focus on the people who are the most interested. The whole process of the sales pitch separates who’s really interested and who’s just there to get the “free” gift. (See Number 1)
Now the real question you have to ask yourself is: Is my time and mental energy worth the discount I am being offered? The answer is up to you. I’d rather pay for a day pass at Disney then deal with a time share, but a six night cruise costing $649 per person, not including taxes and port fees might be worth thinking about.
The second question you have to ask yourself is, can you afford it if you do say yes? Many people out there went to these things just for the trip/reward and ended up buying the thing. Is that possible for you and can you really afford it?
As I stated before, going to a time share sales pitch is a rite of passage for a Floridian. In fact, you might get kicked out of the state if you live here long enough and don’t go to one. It’s the Florida version of penance. If you decide to try one, take a copy of the points above and see how many they hit. It’ll help keep you grounded from all the glitter and give you something else to do when the sales team member groans on and on and on about the view and wallpaper.