…Now I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Shady, shady, shady.

You know how they’ll give you a free vacation just for listening to their spiel? I posted about that ultra-manipulative sales experience here. At the time I figured, hey, if you can withstand their cultlike mind control tactics and see through their rationalizations, you get a free vacation out of it.

I thought the trade off was even.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Because just setting this thing up has been one gigantic pain in the butt after another.

First, we had to wait for their company to send us a gift certificate in the mail. Weeks later, we got it. Then we had to fill it out and return it back to them (but not before making copies of the certificate in case it got lost in the mail), which we did. After that we had to wait for a confirmation letter to arrive stating that they got our certificate. This letter had the phone number we were to call to actually schedule the vacation.

So we waited, and we got the confirmation letter. At which point we found out that the vacation must be scheduled at least 60 days in advance, but not within a week of any of the major summer holidays (Memorial Day and Labor Day). And I understand holding those dates out… those dates are high volume dates and they need to get paying customers in the door, I understand that. But still.

So then a week or two later, after Hol and I figured out most of our summer plans, I called to schedule the trip. Our first and second choices for dates were taken, so we took our third option. Which, okay, still… no biggie. It’s still a free trip.

Today, I get a letter in the mail, saying that in order to confirm the arrival date, we must pay a tax deposit of $50, in the form of either a money order or a cashier’s check. No personal checks, no cash, no credit cards. Failure to confirm the deposit deadline will result in a cancellation of reservation.

This, to me, is a sad state of affairs.

The reason why these companies can afford to give these trips away is the same reason why companies offer mail-in rebates on their products bought in stores — because they know that, statistically speaking, many people will not have the fortitude to stick with the process long enough to get what they were promised.

After awhile, it feels like it’s just not worth it to keep making phone calls, following up, sending things in the mail.

Arranging your vacation should not feel like choosing an insurance company.

Seaside better be awesome in the fall, or else someone at this agency is getting a prickly letter from a certain West Indian blogger with a penchant for hip-hop and a Portland address.

*shaking head* ]]>

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