FREE STUFF FROM TIMESHARE PRESENTATIONS: We recently considered the idea of whether there were any possible circumstances under which timeshare ownership might be worth your time. Today, we ask a related question: what kind of free stuff can you get for attending a timeshare hard-sell presentation?
As luck would have it, Mommy Points is on the scene with her experience in this potentially rewarding activity. She writes:
One of the pieces of mail I get with some regularity is an invitation to the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch in San Antonio to stay in a one-bedroom suite on a discounted rate that is typically $99/night or less plus 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. A one-bedroom suite in a fun and family-friendly city for under $100 night plus 10K bonus Hyatt points awarded for visiting – what a deal, right?!
Well, maybe, but the catch is that you are supposed to attend a 90 minute time-share presentation while you are there. We had actually booked a similar offer at this property a while back, but had to cancel due to unrelated events. We did accept an offer for a time-share presentation at Westin Beaver Creek a little over a year ago, and in exchange for attending the presentation we were given 10,000 SPG points that posted without incident. In this instance there was no upfront discounted stay offered, we just agreed to the presentation while we were staying there on points. I value those points between two to three cents each, so that is about $200 – $300 in value for attending the presentation (aka sales pitch).
From time to time i also hear about pretty interesting offers for many resorts in Hawaii including a 5-night stay at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Maui for around $800, plus other perks like some SPG points or resort credit, car rental certificate, or similar included in that $800 amount. That is far below the going rate for that hotel.
We have done [timeshare presentations] for Universal Studio tickets, $500 in discounts for tourist crap and $200 cash. The $200 in cash was the best. Showed up 15 minutes early, to be greeted by my salesman.
I said “I am not going to buy, I am here for the free gift. I have access to cheap/free timeshares, and if I were to buy I would buy used at a resort with a low maintenance fee and trade all the time. I plan my vacations in advance so I never have an issue trading.”
He responded “Don’t you feel guilty going to a presentation for a free gift?” I said “Don’t you feel guilty selling people stuff that they can’t afford?” He responded “OK let’s get you out of here.”
$200 in 15 total minutes.
One of the commenters in the Mommy Points article is a former timeshare salesman who pleaded for mercy, and we sympathize with anybody who has a horrible job like that, but… they’re ripping off people with a horrible product, which is why they have to offer these kind of enticements as bait.
Speaking of bait, here’s an artistic depiction of how the timeshare industry works. The timeshare-selling company occupies the right half of the picture, while the free/discounted vacation can be seen in the upper left. And of course, the timeshare customers appear in the lower left.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM SEWER GRATES: Here’s an unusual niche: Guy Who Finds Valuable Objects Beneath Sewer Grates.
For eight years, Eliel Santos has been using dental floss and mousetrap glue to reel in gold, jewelry, electronics and cash trapped beneath city sidewalk grates.
“If you drop it, I’m going to pick it up — so be careful,” advised Santos, 38, a Puerto Rico native who lives in The Bronx.
When The Post followed Santos on a fishing trip last week, he hauled in a green iPod Nano in Times Square, a fake gold necklace, and a pocket full of change along Broadway between 23rd and 47th streets.
How does one get started in this line of work?
He got hooked on the urban trade entirely by happenstance.
“I saw a guy on 41st Street and Broadway who dropped his keys down a grate and he was looking for a locksmith.
I said, ‘I will help you if I can.’”
Santos ran to a store to buy a mouse trap — he guessed the tacky glue would do a better job than chewing gum. He affixed the glue to a rock, tied a string around it, and lowered the contraption down about 15 feet. In no time, the keys were secured.
“He said, ‘Oh man, that’s awesome!’ — and he gave me $50.”
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is a good way to make money!’” Santos said.
THE CASTLE MARKET IS SLOW THESE DAYS: Also from New York comes a cautionary tale about biting off more real estate than you can chew. A couple with previous experience flipping real estate bought a 36,000 sq ft castle for $800,000, spent $400,000 on renovations, and listed the property in 2007 for $2 million.
As of 2013, they are still waiting for the right buyer to come along.
In the five years since, the castle has been taken off the market and put back on several times — for $1.95 million, $1.25 million fully furnished (including a mounted bison head and 20 stuffed pheasants), $1 million and now, for $895,000.
If you know anybody in the market for a castle, look them up! In the meantime, their kids have a pretty sweet playroom…