May 2010
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How to not sell timeshares

(I just found a few half written blogs that should have been in the last trip report.  Pardon me while I catch up.  The photo below was taken on April 4th 2010.)

I’d love to name and shame, but I didn’t catch his name. So a photo will have to do.  This guy is my nomination for Worst Timeshare Seller ever.

If you’re a male walking around Las Vegas, you have to expect to get cards and magazines for (let’s call them) strippers pushed in your face.  That’s just the way it is.  In fact, many porn-slappers don’t discriminate on gender.  They just want to get rid of as many of their flyers as they can so they keep a pretty open mind about who might want to use their clients’ services.

But although their bright orange uniforms can make it look like some sort of brothel-sponsored chain gang littering up the streets, they’re not really that invasive.  They don’t stop you when you’re walking and they don’t cause a fuss if you ignore them.  They slap their wares to get your attention, hope you take one and then move on to the next punter.

If you’re a couple walking around Las Vegas, timeshare sellers are a much bigger pest.

Notably, they have never approached me when I’ve been walking on my own.  In fact, I’ve seen them turn away if I walk towards them.  But when I’m with Claire, it’s like they’re ants and we have our faces painted with jam.

Although I don’t usually give them chance to finish, if you’re a couple in Las Vegas and someone comes running after you to ask if you’d like to see a free show, I’m sure this is the catch 100% of the time.

Yes, you will get show tickets, but you’ll have to sit through hours of hard sell to earn them.  And who wants to spend their valuable Vegas time doing that?

It’s not even that I don’t have an interest in vacation property ownership in Las Vegas.  For how often I go there, it would actually make sense to invest in something, and a timeshare could be an affordable start.

But I’ve run some numbers on a few resorts.  Regardless of how much the timeshare itself actually costs, and ignoring comped or discounted hotel nights based on casino play, the amount you end up paying in maintenance fees each year exceeds the cost of a comparable hotel.

Here’s a quick example I just found: a week’s timeshare in Polo Towers (a decent location on the Strip, between Planet Hollywood and MGM Grand, opposite Monte Carlo) currently costs $1,016 in annual fees to maintain.

You might not get the best rate from a general reservation, but if you can’t find a promotional rate for a week at one of the neighbouring hotels for under a grand, you’re just not looking hard enough.

Alternatively, you could purchase 1/52nd of a room in the Grandview resort (technically “on Las Vegas Boulevard” but way South, several miles past Mandalay Bay) and get a bill for $677/year.  This place is near to the South Point, where they’re currently promoting a $42/night rate for summer weeknights – and it seems to be widely available too.  If this is the location you want to stay in, expect a typical week to cost about $400.

Hotels win, even before you take into account the five figure downpayment that’s needed to secure the privilege of staying in the exact same room for the exact same week of every year.

So, yes, I’ve done some research and I’m quite certain I don’t want a timeshare.  And even if I did, I wouldn’t buy if from some scumbag who gets in my way when I’m walking.

The trick is to spot them before they spot you.  Or, to just not care about being rude to the fuckers.

I like to avoid confrontations on holiday.  I’m there to chill out, after all.  So these are my two strategies:

If I see them well in advance, before they’ve had chance to lock onto us, we’ll split up and pull a cunning flanking manoeuvre, passing them as two individual units on either side and regrouping once back in neutral territory.  We’ve done this enough times that if one of us just says something like “You go left” or “Quick! Split!” we know exactly what to do, and it’s pretty effective.

If it’s too late and we’re already firmly in their sights, I still try not to engage the enemy.  We simply walk past, both chanting “No no no no no no no no no”, progressively louder until they go away.  It’s usually enough.  Very occasionally, when they don’t get the message, I have been known to descend into abuse and expletives.

Which is what happened this time.

Our friend pictured above had a commanding strategic advantage with his location.  He stood at the foot of the escalator leading down from the newest walkway over the Strip – between Aria and Planet Hollywood.

From there, he has chance to see you coming a good 15 seconds before you get to the bottom so he can get into position ready to harass.

It’s pretty horrible.  You know exactly what is going to happen and can’t do anything about it.  Which is probably why things didn’t go down particularly pleasantly.

It’s been so long since I started writing this that I can’t remember the gory details, but it began with him trying to block my way at the bottom of the escalator.  I brushed past and said, “Oh go away, I’ve had enough of you lot already”.

Or words to that effect.  In fact, I think I actually was that polite to start with.

Apparently he thought by engaging us he still stood a chance of selling an overpriced piece of real estate.

“Hey man?  Why come to Vegas with a bad attitude?”.  And from there it descended into little more than a discussion of who actually was the ignorant dickwad.

Well, I’d argue that causing a scene on the very street where you’re hoping to entice happy holidaymakers by to sign up for a lengthy presentation is quite possibly the worst sales tactic you can employ.

This is Vegas.  Take a tip from one of the gazillion card players you must come into contact with every day.

Once you know you’re beat, just muck your cards and move on to the next hand.

3 comments to How to not sell timeshares

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