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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pushy Salespeople

Last night Paul and I had the "pleasure" of sitting through a sales presentation/push by Worldmark by Wyndham. We did this before and got a free night at Anniversary Inn (a place I've always wanted to go but never wanted to spend the moola) and $25 to a nearby restaurant. It was wonderful! Enough so that we agreed to another 90-minute presentation to get two-night hotel stay (we pick from 8 locations) and $100 to Olive Garden.

We were snagged almost immediately by a salesperson who said he'd give us a tour of the place. Wonderful -- I would have NEVER guessed this was a cover to try to BRT with us ... sigh ...

So, we sat down with him and he informed us that the only thing between us and a great vacation plan was a 5'10" redhead. When we looked confused, he clarified that he meant himself. Okay, didn't really think your hair was red, but if you think it makes your sales pitch funny, move along ...

He asked why we were there, and we said it was for the free stuff. He said that was why everyone came in, but that we need to keep an open mind. He emphasized this by asking how many wise decisions we have made while being uninformed. He also said how he doesn't have slicked-back hair, a nice suit or a bunch of cars to sell us. He assured us he wouldn't be pushy. (That's the moment we knew not to trust him ... :)

Anyway, during this little pre-salespitch, he said he couldn't hear us well. We pointed out that it was because the music was so stinkin' loud. We asked if they could turn that down. He said no, because people are discussing personal financial information, and the blaring music was to serve as white noise to provide privacy. Hmmm ... privacy doesn't work well when you're shouting to be heard. Nonetheless, maybe I should inform my bank! I've never heard blaring music there! Good thing we never go in banks to discuss financial info, huh?

Then he asked if he was bugging us and if we needed a different sales person. Really, would a different sales person bug us any less? However, we did find it funny, because we weren't even bugged at this point -- that came later ...

So we went into the group presentation and had the pleasure of having our salesperson sit right next to us. I think he and the other "babysitters" were the only ones laughing when the guy told joke after terrible joke. Maybe the rest of us couldn't hear the jokes, because we could still hear the loud music, even though we were in an enclosed room with the doors shut.

Anyway, the guy in the group meeting annoyed me. He kept saying, "Well, I'm from Utah, and that's how we do things in Utah." He used this as a derogatory statement about how we have large families and say we're going on vacation when we're actually only going to visit family. What do you care how large my family is, and what's wrong with visiting family? After about the third put-down on visiting family, I said, "Sounds like you need a new family!" My only regret is that I didn't say it loud enough for the presenter to hear me. (Oh, and on the "Utah" topic, never get me going on the whole "Utah Mormon" subject unless you want me to realize how closed-minded and ridiculous you are ...)

The topper to the presentation? His ending. He said that if we didn't buy this program, then it was only because their sales people didn't get across to us what a wonderful program this is, and he apologized for his sales people if that was the case. Hello!

So the sales guy starts his presentation by talking about two kinds of people -- those who take vacations and have great memories, and those who stuff money under their mattresses and die with a bunch of money left under their mattresses and no great memories. I asked him if he REALLY knew anyone who was like that. He stumbled at my directness, but quickly answered that he knew a couple of people like that. Sure.

Anyway, he kept asking manipulative questions about vacationing: When you get older, do you think you'll regret not working more? Do you feel like spending time with your family is important? Don't you think vacations are an important? etc.

Then he wanted us to make a decision. We said that he had asked us to make an informed decision, so he should educate us. (I even pointed at the page where they have to write down the prices and such. We get a kick out of that sales tactic.) Anyway, he didn't want to jump right into money, so he asked a few more manipulative questions before the money aspect.

Well, he figured out a good plan for us would be 16,000 credits, which would only cost $32,000. With their lending program at 17.9 percent, that would only be $400-something per month with only $3,000 down. We informed him that we weren't interested at this time. He asked why. Paul said he didn't like being locked into that amount and this plan, and I mentioned that it just wasn't fiscally responsible to do right now.

Then he starts into more manipulation, which curiously didn't work on us. What if I were to give it to you, then would you want it? Sure. Then it's about the money. Hmmm ... I guess my hint with the word "fiscal" didn't make that clear. We said that we have other priorities with our money right now. He assured us he'd never want us to not contribute to our savings or 401(k), but that we also have to consider how much this would save us in the long run. (Obviously we have different ideas of fiscal responsibility. Also doesn't help that this guy was young 20s with no kids and no clue ...)

Needless to say, we got to the point where I said, "You said you weren't going to be pushy." He assured me this wasn't pushy. If that's the case, I'd hate to see pushy! I let him know that I was sorry for him, but that we weren't buying. He said it didn't matter to him since he had to be there working one way or the other.

Again, he asked how many credits we would want. We assured him we weren't buying. He kept asking, so we finally said, "We'd like zero credits in our plan, please."

Then he asked us to come with him over to a computer. He figured that if we spend $500/year on hotels for the next 40 years + inflation costs, it would end up costing us $109,000 in hotels. He assured us that this program was the best deal out there. We said that we're fine spending the $109,000 if we have it to spend, and that we're still not interested in his program.

At this point he just didn't know what to say. He said, "You guys aren't making sense. You say you like our program and that vacationing isn't important, but you don't want to buy the program." Can you imagine how in debt we'd be if I bought everything I wanted?!? I assured him that even if someone offered me a Lamborghini for $40,000, which is a steal of a deal, I still wouldn't buy it. He asked me how much I would pay. I said none -- I don't want or need a Lamborghini. He said that if I don't want one, then that's not a valid comparison. Sigh.

As he continued on, he asked about something being over. I said, "Do you mean when do we want the sales pitch to be over?" He said no, that the sales pitch was over and that he understood clearly that we weren't buying. (Oh, so this attempt at the computer wasn't trying to sell us anything, just to show us how dumb we are. Got it.) Then he asked another manipulative question. I said, "What is it you want us to say? What can we say to be done?

So, he went to get the next person who was going to "sign us out." When he sat down, I said, "So, you're the closer, huh?" He said, no, that the previous guy was the closer, and he's the ultimate closer. Sigh. This place reeks of bad jokes. He asked if the first guy was nice to us. Paul said, "Sure." He asked if we like the program. I said, "Sure, it's good." He said we didn't sound convinced. Please don't try to convince us, really!

He gave us an alternative to try the program. We said we'd think about it. (It really may be a good idea/deal.) He asked how long we wanted, and if we'd like to just sit there all night to think about it. I said we'd like to go home, if possible. He said it was just a joke. Really, do they make sure they have a bad sense of humor before they hire them or what?

Finally we got our certificate for our free stuff and got out of there. I would definitely say the 90 minutes of torture were worth the free stuff. Also, it gave us good laughter and conversation on the way home. Paul reminded me that last time they also tried to convince us how good the program was by actually taking us through one of their condos. Yes, they're nice, but we're not buying. They just don't think we're getting it if we say no.

Another funny thing was that our sales guy said that even if you happen upon hard times, you can sale your points for a year and still stay with the program. Paul came home and searched and found that you can buy someone's program with something like 16,000 points per year and a bunch more already accumulated for $10,000. So, if any of you are interested in a condo program, look online before buying directly from the company. Ditto to a Gold's Gym membership.

We'll probably attend another sales pitch in a year or two, because we love free stuff that makes us happy. However, any ideas on how to get out of there faster? I did mention recently that I need somewhere to practice my American Sign Language ... ;)


the Rowleys said...

You guys are better than me. We did it once, do a sales pitch for free things, and after we both said "never again!" I hated it! But you two are the kind that can deal well with those people. :)

Lizzylou said...

So funny, and sooo true. We've been to the same presentation. This kicker is the $600/yr cleaning and maintenance fee that you have to pay on top of your payments. We would never spend that much on hotels in a year. I referred my sister AND SHE BOUGHT IT! We always use hers. There is a big one going in right across from Disney land if you ever buy points. That is were we always stay in California. We love the full kitchens and separate sleeping area for the kids. I still would NEVER buy it. I'm like you, I love free-or very cheep stuff!