Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tennessee Lampoon's Hillbilly Vacation

Husband and I spent this past weekend in Gatlinburg. It was our first vacation in quite a while, and we had a nice time despite the fact that we had to attend a timeshare presentation in exchange for our free motel room. We had no trouble standing up to the psychological sales tactics that the people used against us because we presented a united front against their wiles. I had been tipped off that if you say you can’t afford it, they’ll keep bringing the price down until you finally give in because the price is so ridiculously low, so we told them that we never take vacations and that their product would be useless to us. And that’s no lie.

The guy who did most of the talking told us (he had a whole group of us captive in a room together, each couple with their own personal salesman) that we deserve to take nice vacations after all the hard work we do and that we owe it to our children to make sure that they have good memories of great vacations. Pu-leeze! The sales people also said to just think how we would feel if something happened to our spouse. We'd feel so bad that we didn't spend more time together. Just how much time do we think we have left, they asked us. Will that time be spent creating great memories? How morbid! I'll tell you what would really make me feel bad--if something happened to my husband after we bought a timeshare and then I'd be stuck with all those monthly payments.

The guy kept suggesting that unless we have a certain vacation lifestyle, we aren’t really enjoying ourselves. He said that the average family spends $3000 per year on vacations. Wow! Husband and I haven’t spent $3000 in ten years for vacations. The guy said that most people spend their vacations in little motel rooms, and once they have spent that money, there’s nothing to show for it. The pitch was that we should take the money that we would spend in ten years on vacations (he approximated $20,000--coincidentally, just about the price of their most popular package) and use it to buy into their timeshare plan. Then we would “own” our vacations. We would be able to vacation in all the best locations, all the while staying in fabulous accommodations. I have to admit that the accommodations were very nice. They looked like homes you’d see in a magazine. But really, even if you “own” your vacation, what more do you have to show for it than someone who doesn’t? Does the family that stays in the luxury resort come home with better memories than the family that stays in the Motel 6? (Don’t even talk about the people who like to camp out in the woods—they are just plain weird!)

I guess because Husband and I stayed in a motel, we won’t have any good memories of our first trip to Gatlinburg together. We won’t remember riding on the chair lift for the first time to get up the mountain to ride back down on the alpine slide for the first time. We won’t remember looking down from the chair lift and seeing a groundhog pop out from his hole at the edge of the slide track and then pop back in when the next rider came down. We won’t remember the scrumptious chocolate brownie dessert and great steak we had at that gorgeous restaurant we ate at on Sunday night. We won’t remember laughing at the inordinate number of pancake restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Neither will we remember shaking our heads at all the places called Hillbilly Golf, Hillbilly Souvenirs, Hillbilly Landscaping Company, and Hillbilly Laundromat. Nope, all we’ll remember is that cramped little room.

No, not the motel room. The room with all the other desperate looking people wishing that the guy would shut up.


Wasp Jerky said...

Good grief. My wife and I spent 2 weeks in Europe over the summer and we didn't spend $3,000. Admittedly the airfare was free, but still.

Glad you enjoyed your visit to Gatlinburg. It's been a while since I've been there, but it's nice if you can overlook the crowds and the hokey bits.

jettybetty said...

I don't think we spend $3000 a year and we have been known to take a trip or two. We also don't own a timeshare. We have been to one of those presentations and when we wouldn't buy our saleslady asked what she did that made us not like her? huhhh? We liked her fine, we just didn't want a timeshare.

Sounds like you all had a fun trip--and the price was right *wink* perhaps!

Were the leaves pretty yet??

Tony Arnold said...

What is worse than the perversion of telling people that, "you deserve this or that; you owe yourself; you are entitled to stuff," is the fact that these salespeople aren't saying it for your benefit because they are deeply are convicted of these principles--they are saying it for their own greed.

That would be similiar to Christians who evangilize not because they love their fellowman and believe in the good news, but evangilize because it gets them to heaven.


JMG said...

I know what you mean, Tony. But in some weird way, I think these people seem to really believe in what they are selling--almost like some religious cult.

I wonder if the $3000 average is supposed to represent all American families, or just those who vacation. I still can't imagine spending that much.

JB, the leaves hadn't started turning. The only leaves we saw that weren't green were those that had turned yellow and brown due to lack of rain. I was a little disappointed, but it was still fun.

Chalet Village Properties said...

I am new to this blogging thing and ran across this posting. I live in Pigeon Forge and am sick of these idiots bothering me while I am at Wal-mart. As if being in that hole isn't bad enough. The vortex has just taken $200 of my money and this guy wants me to commit to bankruptcy on my way out! I work for an overnight rental company and my wife works in Real Estate. These jokers are preying upon people and don't have any remorse knowing they barely had enough money to make it to our area.

JMG said...

Thanks for stopping by, Chalet guy. I hadn't read this post in a while.

With the economy the way it is, I'll bet the timeshare salespeople are hurting.

Husband and I have been thinking about taking a little getaway to your area. I'm going to bookmark your blog.