We have been to Hawaii 8 times. A lot of fun. We also have been to Timeshare presentations. A good way to see some free entertainment.
Here’s how it works, or used to, anyway. Along the main drag in Waikiki, there were men behind card tables, set up on the sidewalk. They would spot a tourist, and ask: “would you like to see a free show, or shoreline cruise?” You would come over, and he would have a spread of all the activities available if you signed up for a time-share presentation. In the ‘old days’ the shows were free. Later, as prices went up, it was a half-off deal. He only took married couples that looked like they might have some money. You would pick out something interesting. You had to give him $20.00 cash, which would be returned after the presentation. You could choose the hour for the presentation to suit your schedule. They ran all day, seven days a week.
You went to the location and signed in along with a bunch of other couples. You had a form to fill out. You stated that you had not been to a timeshare presentation, in the last 6 months. Your yearly income (we always left it blank), your names, and address. The sales room was filled with little cocktail tables, and three chairs, with a salesman at each table. In the front was a team leader, with charts. He explained that it now costs $1,000 for a week in Hawaii. It only cost $500 five years ago. In five more years, it will cost $5,000 a week. You better grab this bargain while you could. Then your salesman took over.
A VERY friendly guy. Talked about how everybody enjoyed vacations. How people return each year. How a their time-share would save you money on hotel bills, etc. He wanted to know our yearly income. I said that we wouldn’t divulge that information, but it was more than enough for his needs. He told us how great their program was. They had timeshares all over. If you bought a week in Hawaii, you could trade it for a week in New York, or elsewhere.
What he didn’t tell you was, there are good and bad seasons, everywhere. The people who fall for timeshares, are gullible to start with. They haven’t done any research about Hawaii. They were just were pulled off the street with the lure of a free offer.
The salesmen were really good. I have to admit. They became your friend, making it hard to say no or disappoint them. it was only $5,000 for a week, and it was yours FOREVER! A real steal. People were actually buying them. When a sale was made, they would ring a bell, and announce that: “Mr. and Mrs. Jones just bought one.” They would stand, and everyone would join in the applause led by the sales force.
Doris and I knew that time shares were a rip off. We, just like others, wanted the free coupons for shows, etc. We had a Plan.
Halfway through the presentation, I would ask the man, if he had a calculator? (They NEVER did.) I would say: “Honey, do we have a calculator?
She would fish around her purse, and find one.
“Well, let’s see. If a week costs us $5,000, And there’s 52 weeks in a year, that means you are selling each unit for, $260,000, each!”
If they sold out, at least half of the people were locked in for the worst times of the year. The salesmen will lie and tell you ANYTHING, to make a sale. Once, we told him that we loved Tahiti.
He said; “What a coincidence, My wife and are leaving for Tahiti, next Monday. All free. Didn’t cost us a cent.”
Tahiti, is French. We know Tahiti. And we knew there were no timeshares in the islands.
We smiled, and said, “How lucky he was, But we didn’t think it would be a bargain for us.”
If the salesman realized, that we were NOT going to buy, he left and a ‘Closer’ came over. He was the top salesman, of last resort. He could sway anybody into a sale. “Did our man insult us? They would fire him. ( Oh! Guilt!. Our not buying would cost him his job! Better buy! ) No, he was very thorough. Explained everything quite clearly. A GREAT salesman. But the deal was not for us. An obviously pissed closer, signed off on us, and we went to a table and got our $20 back, and our tickets.
Being hailed on the street by the ‘Card Table’ men became a problem. They were as persistent as the salesman. I asked one of them, how to stop it? He said, “Tell them that you’re from Canada” It worked, every time. Don’t know why.
The last time we were in Hawaii, there were no more tables on the sidewalks. I guess there was too much harassment of the tourists. Now, they were in little cubbyholes in the buildings. The sidewalks were clearer.
The first premium we got was a free dinner and show at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the other side of Oahu, with a free 1 hour bus ride, each way. Quite a deal.
We didn’t know it at the time, but it’s run by the Mormon Church, using students from BYU, Hawaii. You walk around “Authentic’ villages, from various islands. Then you watch the ‘Parade of the Canoes’. Different Island people paddle by, and behind them are dancers from those islands.
One of the funniest things is when the Samoans came out. They announced,” Here are the HAPPY people of Samoa”. Every knows that the Samoans are the most DANGEROUS people in the Pacific. They’re big, and if they get drunk they will rip your head off. They stressed the ‘happy’ part.
We had a luau buffet and watched a great show. But there was something odd about it.
The men just had loincloths on. But the women, were covered in clothes, from their ankles to their necks. A far cry from the old, pre-missionary days, when they always danced topless or completely nude. They have done this for so long, that people actually think it’s authentic. The missionaries have fucked up all the islands. But the Mormons have changed the hula. Fuckers!
We have been to Germain’s Lulu and Paradise Cove Luau, twice. A circle island tour. A Sunset Island Cruse off Waikiki, where they embarrass the Haoles, making them try to dance the Hula. We saw the ‘Creations’ show, at the Princess Kailuani Hotel. At that show, they had a bunch of Japanese tourists. At our table, there was a man, just looking at his food. He didn’t know what to do, since there were no chopsticks. I caught his eye, and demonstrated, holding a fork, and sliding it under the food. He smiled and nodded his head, but ate very carefully.
Prices and gifts have changed, since we started to go there. But with the magic of google, you can visit all these place, and find the latest, high prices. I was shocked.
If someone was going to buy a Timeshare try a bank. There are so many people who are trying to get out of their contract, or can’t pay the additional ‘Management fees,’ that they are a drug on the market. You can buy anything, at least 30% off.
“Welcome to the Islands.”
(written April 30, 2014)