Friday, December 31, 2010

281. Time-Share

(a flashback)

So The Husband and I are on vacation in Hawaii. We’re celebrating our second anniversary and no small children have been born yet, so we are ignorant and happy. I scored us a screaming good deal with a combination of my good looks and witty repartee free United flight passes and some Marriott Hotel points.

After our five hour flight, we arrive exhausted and exhilarated, ready to hit the beach. We have, by some Divine Intervention on the part of the Vacation Gods, been upgraded to an ocean-view suite, complete with mini-kitchen. As the hotel front desk clerk swipes my Amex card to prepay for the week ($300 for the entire seven days, did I say screaming good deal???), he shoves some paper in my face for me to sign and mumbles something about “attending the potential time-share buyer seminar”.

Whoa, there, what? As I glance down at the fine print (font size .6), I vaguely remember something about being required to go to the 3-hour seminar in order to get the cut-throat discount. Yikes. Not sure how The Husband’s going to take that. I glance over at The Husband and notice that he’s doing what he always does in times of stress or uncertainty: he’s checking the football scores in the local newspaper. He’s completely oblivious to what the desk clerk and I are whispering about.

I decide to tell him later, maybe after a few Mai-tai’s.

There’s really no need for me to put this off, as the phone is ringing by the time we enter our room with our suitcases. Yep, it’s the front desk, calling to verify which seminar time slot we would like to sign up for. I am somehow bullied into accepting the 10 AM appointment for the next morning (Clerk: “Madam, would the 10 AM appointment accommodate your schedule? Free drinks will be served.” Me: “Yes, please, that would be fine, I'm looking forward to it.”)

10 AM comes far too quickly, and by this point I have briefed The Husband on our obligation to attend (Him: “Why do we have to do this?”, Me: “Because otherwise the room is $875 per night instead of $300 for the whole week.” Him: “Can I wear my swimsuit?”). We decide ahead of time that since our Powers of Mental Telepathy are weak at best, we should devise a simple code so the other one knows exactly how we feel about stupid idiotic time shares (essentially that they’re stupid and idiotic).

The code phrase we agree on is: “that’s interesting”. The direct translation is: “I would never in a million years buy one”.

Things start out well. Our Personal Agent of Doom Sales Rep is named Corey and he's probably in his mid-50’s with salt-and-pepper gray hair and a well-cut suit (suit, in Hawaii? for some reason, yes that's what he has on).  He lays out all the numbers of why time shares actually pay for themselves (???) in only 6 or 7 years, and how you can trade for other resorts, blah-blah-blah. I am hoping The Husband is paying attention because my mind keeps wandering back to this cute seashell jewelry box I saw in the hotel gift shop ($42, and velvet-lined).

Now it’s time for a tour. Corey takes us to the Owner’s Level, and the Husband wisely asks if this would be where we would stay (“Yes, depending on which Tier of Ownership Investment you select,”). The view is mesmerizing—we can see dolphins and surfers and future sunsets. My brain has woken up enough to transfer from its happy place ($42 seashell box) to stare at the Cold Hard Truth (timeshare cost per month: $719 plus activity fee). That is more than our rent. Now, I am not very good at math, but after scrunching up my face and thinking hard, I realize that this equates to roughly $200,000 per year, which is money we just don’t have.

The Husband is being sucked in by the spiel. He is nodding-nodding-nodding as Corey goes on and on about dolphins and fresh ocean air and pineapple burgers. In an act of sheer desperation, I pull out the code phrase: “That’s interesting! That’s very interesting!” and The Husband goes pale. He looks at Corey and then back at me, and then he asks Corey if he can talk to me alone for a minute.

Corey graciously steps out of the room. I panic and say, “Are you insane?!? We can’t sign up for this garbage!” and The Husband replies, “Me? You are the one who’s ready to get her checkbook out!”

Huh? After further discussion, I am beginning to realize that my darling husband of two years has swiftly forgotten the Secret Code Phrase. It is so top secret, it's even a secret to him.

“Hon, ‘That’s interesting’ does not mean ‘That’s interesting’. That was the special code, remember?” I say patiently, as if trying to train a deaf dog.

“Code? Code for what?” Not only has he forgotten the code, he has apparently forgotten the discussion leading up to the necessity of said code. One day of unfiltered sunshine has fried his brain.

“The. Code. The code means ‘no’.” I look at him.

He starts laughing. He gives me a big hug. “Thank God! I thought you were really interested and I was getting ready to tell you that we do not have that kind of money!”

I smile back at him. “I know, I know........... Uh, do we maybe have $42 for a seashell box, though?”

("Maui, On Vacation")


  1. Well, MOV. I have officially read all of your posts. I have finished your archives! Whew. It actually was a treat.

    As for the timeshare, we inherited one when my Aunt passed. It's been a really great thing for us. But, let me be clear, the fees are NOT $719 a month (only $350 a YEAR). It's also not in Hawaii. (sniff, sniff, whimper, sob)

    1. thank you, couse! just found this comment. I am impressed that you read them all, I don't think my dad has even read them all.

      As for the time share, I am glad you got a good one. Need a pal to go along????????


  2. You're a great writer MOV, very entertaining.

    1. thanks, Julie! I do feel like this post was a little underappreciated gem. :) So glad you found it!



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