Sometimes, it is a good thing to get blindsided. While I would like to consider myself a veteran of the trade, there is always someone who can come and knock you off your high horse. While I’m not ready to admit that I’m maybe on the downward slope of my travel-savvy peak, I will say that there is a possibility I was out of practice. Regardless, my first day back to the developing world after a long trip to Australia saw me fall for a new spin on the one of the oldest tricks in the book.
The story goes like this: As I walked down the beach of Kuta in Bali, I was approached by a man on the street. Much like many a tale of falling for stupid stuff while traveling, said man offered me something and reluctantly I took it. This said thing was a free prize offer card, and although my free gift of two T-shirts wasn’t enough of a draw to continue conversation with this man, my friend’s free iPad or $1000 was. This, of course, led to an afternoon spent in a newer version of a time-share meeting.
While we were promised only one hour of conversation followed by a chance to win an iPad, our afternoon was quickly wisped away by a very chatty Brit named Tony. Tony was new to the organization and I’m assuming that is why he was put with two obvious backpackers who didn’t have the money to afford eating in a five-star hotel restaurant, let alone join their membership team. Tony, though, wanted to give it his all. Tony took us through all the places a membership worked at, all the money we would save and finally, all we would need to pay. After the presentation met its conclusion and we finally declined membership, we made our way to “claim our prizes.” This is where the magnitude of our mistake came to fruition.
While my free T-shirts ended up being a $10 voucher to a local convenience store (score!), the possible free iPad or $1000 could also be a “free” one-week vacation with said company. Though the actual vacation is free, the stipulations attached to profit on this vacation, unfortunately, involved a few clauses our hustling friend on the street didn’t tell us about. One of which was an age clause, which has the ability to exclude us from picking up our trip. Bummer.
In conclusion, for two hours of my time, I came out with a $10 voucher to the local convenience store, some free tea and the hope that maybe my travel partner and I can actually swing this free vacation we supposedly won. It is a shot-in-the-dark, but we are going to make a run at it. I guess the truth is that even the best fall down sometimes, and even the best can fall for a stupid timeshare meeting if a free iPad is involved.