Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sedona, Arizona

Quick: What is the lowest life form on earth? Correct. Bravo! It is timeshare salespeople.

Generally, I don’t mind salespeople if they follow several simple rules:
  • Spell or pronounce my name correctly. If they won’t go to the trouble of learning how to spell or pronounce my name, how can I trust them with my business?
  • Don’t call me by my first name without my express permission. They want some things from me: my money and hopefully my repeat business. I want some things from them: a reliable product and to be treated respectfully and with common courtesy. Acting as if they are a member of my family or one of my best friends doesn‘t qualify.
  • Don’t pull any of that bait and switch nonsense with me. If they advertise a Doohickey for sale at $129.00 and I go into their store because I want a Doohickey and $129.00 is exactly what I am prepared to pay for it, don’t try to switch me to a Doohickey Plus at $229.00 or a Doohickey Deluxe at $329.00. Don’t do it! If they try that approach with me, I am going to be really ticked off.
  • Don’t bullshit, mislead or misrepresent the company or the product. I want to know, upfront, exactly what I am getting, exactly what it is going to cost. No strings, no complications, no nonsense.
We were in Sedona, Arizona a few days ago. If you have never been here, I can tell you that it is worth the visit. There is almost supernaturally beautiful scenery everywhere. Incredible rock formations rise from lush, green forests and the contrasts are spectacular. In such beautiful surroundings, you might expect to find a business district with upscale stores, high priced art and souvenirs and, of course, hucksters. You know, those slimy timeshare salespeople.

My wife and I had left our son in the hotel, watching TV, and were walking down the main street looking for a variety store we had been told about. We were told that the store closed at 10:00 PM and it was already about 9:30 PM. As we walked along, a man stepped out from a doorway and started telling us about his ‘movie museum.’ We looked inside the building and sure enough, there were many pictures of movie stars on the walls, all in ‘western’ settings. According to the proprietor, all the movies represented on the pictures were shot in the Sedona area. It sounded fishy to me, but I am no expert on westerns and so I took him at his word. He next told us that the ’museum’ was also a tourist information office and that it was authorized, on behalf of many local businesses, to offer special deals to tourists as thanks for visiting the area. OK, that made sense too. Then, he spent some time marking out a route, on a local map, of some scenic points we shouldn't miss. Nice guy, right? Finally, he told us that he had several ‘no trick, no catch’ offers for us. One such offer was from a new tour company interested in publicity. Specifically, the promotion was for a free, off road tour, in a Hummer. It was sure to delight and thrill us. I was getting suspicious by this time. We were being offered for free something that should cost at least $100.00. While my wife was listening to the fellow, I looked around the ‘museum’ for clues that this might be a a set up, some indication that this might be a timeshare sales operation. I saw absolutely nothing to give that indication. Maybe this guy was on the level after all.

Nope. When my wife indicated that we might be interested in taking the Hummer tour, he pulled out a form for our signature and informed us that all we had to do to get the ‘free’ tour was go somewhere to listen to a sales pitch for timeshare condos. By now, we had invested nearly 30 minutes, only to find out that we would have to participate in something in which we had no interest. We said no thanks and started to leave. My wife turned and asked the guy for the map on which he had traced the scenic routes for us. He angrily threw the map at her and said that had he known we would turn him down, he wouldn’t have wasted his time on us.

We wouldn’t have wasted our time on him either.

It was 10:00 PM as we left. We rushed around the corner to the variety store we had been directed to and discovered that it had just closed. The salesclerk had just locked up and was about to turn out the lights. My wife pleaded with her to let us purchase a quart of milk and the lady kindly agreed and let us in to make the purchase. I told her that we would have made it earlier, but had been accosted by a timeshare salesman who had delayed us. I added that I, as one of those fabled ever-polite Canadians, had not wanted to be rude to him (or punch him in the nose) because I wanted to protect our national reputation. The salesclerk laughed.

So... if you are ever in Sedona, Arizona, watch out for that ‘movie museum.’ Otherwise, the area is worth visiting. Bring your camera.

1 comment:

  1. Your description of the "free" tour and the tactless treatment of your wife when he tossed the map at her, brings to mind the numerous glasses of free orange juice we put away everytime we went to Florida. We were stupid enough to sign up for the purchase of undeveloped land by alligator, or was it crocodiles we met. I'm referring of course to your favourite sub species before time share was invented.