Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Time Share - oh yeah!

Still on the subject of hard sell, years ago I was suckered into a attending a time share 'presentation'. I got a random phone call to say a friend had entered me into a draw to win a new car and all I needed to do was come along - with my partner - to the presentation.

The sellers should have cottoned-on quicker. Here's a snippet of the call:

'Who entered me?'
'We don't know. A form was filled in at the airport and deposited into the box.'
'Okay... but I want to see it when I get there so I can see who's handwriting it might be.'
'Sure. Now when can we book you in?'

Trust me. There never was a form.

We arrived at the location - a large office space housing an example of the style of apartments in Yarrawonga that you'd be buying into, an audio visual of how amazing the destination was (it wasn't - ithe area is actually prone to flooding and extreme storms) and an area of desks for one-on-one consultations. There was a big display board covered with photos of happy, smiling buyers and I kid you not, they all looked to have some kind of intellectual, social or economic disability. It made me angry just looking at it. I cannot stand predatory selling.

We were assigned a 'seller' and off we went, starting with a quick survey on how much we spent on accommodation on our last holiday. It was trekking in Nepal and about $7 a night each - not the answer they were hoping for - still, she soldiered on.

Her, armed with a chart to illustrate: 'Did you know that in winter, Yarrawonga gets more hours of sunshine than the Gold Coast?'
Me: 'Yes, but what's the average temperature? I can't imagine it's warm.'
See chart below - the maximum is less that 15C - hardly ideal for all the water sports they promised!

Her: 'If the dates of your 2 week allocation don't suit, you can swap or rent it out, assuming someone wants those 2 weeks.'
Me: 'Yes, good point! That reminds me, what is your occupancy rate in July?'
Her: 'I think I need to get my supervisor...'
Me: 'Good idea!'

It wasn't her fault she'd been drinking from the Kool-Aid.

As Geoff and I were biding our time, watching the animated discussion going on in the glassed-in office between our sales person and her supervisor, I glanced around the other other desks - and spied the number $45,000 written on a note pad between the salesperson and the hapless couple opposite. Perfect! Now I had all the info I needed. And here comes the supervisor for a second crack....

After him having a pathetic attempt to win me over and me having none of it - just complaining bitterly about their selling tactics and getting us here to waste time, it did become a little heated.
Me: 'Seriously, if I stuck $45,000 in the bank at 5%, that's well over $2,000 a year towards two-weeks accommodation somewhere a lot fancier than Yarrawonga! It's ridiculous. We could go to Hawaii for that.'
(Just a reminder this was a long time ago when prices were low and interest was high.)
Him, going very red in the face and increasing to a yell: 'Where did you get that number? Did she tell you that number? Where did you get it?'
Me: 'I just made it up. It's just a guess.'
Him: 'I want to know where you got that number.'
Me (equally forcefully): 'I told you, I made it up.'
I got a whiff of victory as he pushed back his chair.

Him: 'Alright, you're obviously not interested. '
Me: 'What about my chance to win the car?'
This was killing him.

We were taken back to reception and asked to select a key from a small box of about 10.
Me: 'So is the winning key actually in here? Do I have the same chance as everyone else to win? According to the Bingo and Lotteries Permit Board.... blah blah blah'
Him: 'Just take a key...'
We were ushered down to the basement car park where he managed not to murder me - probably because Geoff was there! - where a sad little white car covered in flashing Christmas lights sat, bound in plastic-tubed chains held together by a padlock that my key didn't fit. Who'd have thought?

On reflection, I'm quite sure I did have the same chance as everyone else to win - none!

Monday, 21 April 2014


Hands up if you have one?

I don't.

I have been to two parties (thanks ladies!) and each time the hostess and I have been completely frank with each other - them about not expecting me to buy one and me confirming that I won't. But I do genuinely love a get together of women over a couple of glasses of bubbles, a bit of tasty food and to see what it's all about.

I was so dazzled by the recipes at the first party that I did go out and buy a new Magimix food processor to replace my ancient, cracked but still working one (do those things ever stop??) and managed to replicate the beetroot salad among other gems.

Converts swear by them. And people who have them say they use them regularly, so that's a good indication that they are practical. But the 'sell' is a killer.

I know I work in advertising - selling is my game - but these presenters have stepped it up to evangelism. All hail the Thermomix!!

Both presenters made a point of telling us its key components are all made from Surgical Grade Stainless Steel.

Do you know what 'Surgical Grade' means? That's right - not much. There is no specification for 'surgical grade stainless steel', (note use of lower case letters now), nor 'marine grade' as it so happens - they were probably made up by advertisers. There are various grades of stainless steel - that's true - but they're not specifically allocated to uses. Even more interesting is the Thermomix website refers only to 'stainless steel'. They keep the fluffy stuff for the presenters - they don't commit to it in writing - that would be silly.

I was also amazed that from the first to the second party the price went up from $1,784 (yes, I got much mileage from the 1, 784 reasons I wouldn't be buying one) to over $2k at the next party. Especially as the presenter had espoused that it was all made in Germany - and yet, over that same period, the Australian dollar had strengthen dramatically against all major currencies, including the Euro.

Being the smart-arse that I am, I had to enquire how that could be. Of course I already knew the answer - opportunism - but I was curious to see how the high-priestess of Thermomix would justify the hike. Somewhat predictably, she fell into her indoctrinated answer - to a different question. She was answering 'Why are Thermomixes so expensive?' because she had no answer to 'Why have they gone up so much when the dollar has also gone up and it's fully imported?' Naturally she started banging on about the excellent but expensive quality components of the machine, including surgical grade stainless steel - and I lost interest.

So, there you have it. I don't have a Thermomix but all power to those of you who do.

The hard sell is lost on me... which reminds me of the time I got suckered into going to a time share presentation. A topic for another post but let's just say that once my smart arse questioning got going, they couldn't get me out of there fast enough!!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Addictive Personalities

In a very short amount of time, we'll all be able to have our genomes run through a quick test and be told what things we should best avoid due to our makeup. Some people will be able to smoke and drink, other will have to avoid saturated fats.

There also needs to be a personality test as friends and I have also talked about certain types that should avoid drugs at all costs. And people like me, who should avoid cake shops.

But I'm putting it out there - there are people who should not be allowed to watch the TV Shopping Network (or TVSN as it's known).

Look what's on my kitchen bench. Recognise it? Yes - lose weight, be healthy, consume more vegetables and clutter up your kitchen with the SoupMate...... Pro!!

And it wasn't me who bought that great chunk of landfill. I'm not allowed to blog about that person, so let's just say it's someone in our household who's an adult with a credit card. And don't mention it to them or I'll be in trouble - again!

Weren't the useless vacuums (yes, plural because it was buy one get one free) lesson enough? Or the time I was force to slap the pencil and paper from his hands as he was about to take down the number for the sanding set?? (He's a professional builder for goodness sake, even I could see it was a piece of crap!) Never mind the child-filter on the laptop, we need a channel-block on the selling channel.

Even worse, can you see that after a mere four uses the bottom is burnt?! The soup is undercooked and frankly, just not that nice. What's wrong with a pot and the stick blender? We already had both of those.

And I'll save Thermo-mixes for a separate post.....they deserve one.

I give it another 3 weeks and that thing will be gathering dust in the laundry.

Do you have an addictive personality? Have you ever fallen victim to TVSN? 

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...