Men with name tags, sales pitches, uh-oh ...


It was supposed to be a time of relaxation. We had a beach, wristbands ensuring endless cocktails and unseasonably warm weather.

So, why was a man sliding a piece of paper across an office desk and asking if we liked the number on it?

My husband and I went to Mexico and got caught in a time share trap.

I had a bad feeling the minute we got off the plane. That's because the pitch started the minute we got off the plane.

Men wearing name tags shuffled us to other men wearing name tags. They each wanted to know which resort we were staying at and what activities interested us. Like morons, we answered.

They promised us a deal. The more they marked up our recreational brochures, the more we believed they could give us one. All that ink, making all those slashes over all those dollar signs had a way of convincing us.

We booked snorkeling for two and a trip to the Mayan ruins. But not before the friendly staff shared the "rules" with my husband and me. To secure the price we'd just been offered, we'd have to first sit through a short seminar about a time share. No more than an hour, we were told.

I can say "no" better than Nancy Reagan, so resisting the pressure of the pitch didn't concern me. Wasting an hour of our vacation time did. In retrospect, I understand why these salesmen struck when we were one step between the airport and our resort. We would've agreed to just about anything to get our trip started. And, we did.

One more rule before we left. We couldn't tell anyone we were on our honeymoon. Just trust them on this one. And, we did.

Out came the credit card and out went our better judgment.

It's funny now, to think we took a 45-minute cab ride to get hustled. That's how long it took to arrive at the hotel where the time share fiasco initiated. A little man with a big personality greeted us. His smile stretched further than our hotel room's ocean view. This must be the guy who wants our money, I thought.

He asked a lot of questions. Where we were from, what we did for a living and what brought us to Cozumel. We answered around the last question, not disclosing we were on our honeymoon and spending it with him.

Next, the little man took us for a ride. You can take that one of two ways, both work. We boarded a golf cart. This is when our salesman added that personal touch. He told us about his two daughters, even pulled out his wallet to prove they existed. He recalled his first love, a woman who dragged him to the United States only to break his heart months later. We got to know the little man better than some of our own wedding guests.

At the end of it all, we arrived at mecca, otherwise known as the product for sale.

This time share resort took the ocean from our resort and Photoshopped it. The buffet could've eaten our buffet for breakfast. And, the rooms came with everything but beautiful women throwing roses at our feet. The hard sell.

Three hours and five financing options later, I'd had enough. "We just got married! We're on our honeymoon! All we want to do is go snorkeling!" I confessed, back at the sales office.

By this time, my husband had all but surrendered to mecca. He started calculating which expenses we could eliminate to actually buy the time share. I blurted out the truth because I'd heard it can set you free.

Judging from the little man's reaction, I was certain it had. He apologized profusely and couldn't believe the nerve of those hagglers at the airport. If he'd known we just had a wedding, he wouldn't have bothered with us. Everyone knows newlyweds are broke. And, no wonder I was such a sourpuss during the tour, he said. I let that one slide.

Pretty soon we were all laughing about the whole thing, the light emanating at the end of the tunnel. Little man left to call us a cab.

He returned with a team of associates.

The last sound we wanted to hear was the pop of Champagne. "Congratulations!" they yelled, telling the room of strangers we were newlyweds. Applause filled the room. Little man's boss poured the bubbly.

They had one final offer before we left. A special deal just for us.

Contact columnist Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.

 

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