Friday, June 13, 2014

Cheap Vacations



Occasionally our office fax will receive an unsolicited message from a nameless corporation wishing to sell us cheap health insurance, cheap vacations, or cheap roof work. Normally these are quickly fed into the paper deconstruction machine we keep nearby, but for some reason I felt the urge to follow up on one particular item titled “Super Savings on Fantastic Vacations.” It advertised a $300, 7 nights, all inclusive trip to Hawaii. The flyer indicated that this exceptional price included meals, accommodations, and roundtrip airfare to Oahu for one adult. It also warned me that this offer would only last until “Thursday.”  Even though it was already a Friday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make the call.

I dialed the toll-free number that appeared and the bottom of the information sheet and was given a recorded message advising me that “all circuits were busy” and that I should try back. Not only does this give the consumer a sense of urgency, but also serves to weed out the curious from the determined. I, being the latter, was more than willing to call back until I was patched through to “Chase.” Wary of revealing personal details over the phone, I gave him the name of a co-worker who had it coming and told Chase that I was interested in the $300 trip to Hawaii. Before I could finish my sentence, he was compelled to inform me that the Hawaii deal would be sold out in the next hour.

Continuing to express his relief at my fortuitous timing, he also informed me that there were some taxes and fees that I would be responsible for. Unfortunately, this brought my price up to $600 per person. Somewhat dismayed that the price of my dream vacation had doubled in the first thirty-seconds of our conversation, I asked Chase if there was a discount for children as well. I was told that while they could stay in my room for free, I would be responsible for their airfare to Hawaii.I responded that the added cost would give me a good reason to leave the ungrateful brat at the house. I then asked if there would be a compulsory sales pitch or mandatory colonoscopy as part of the trip. He responded that a reputable firm like theirs needn’t stoop to such things as they simply re-purposed unclaimed business trips at substantial savings.  

He again implored me that time was of the essence and that he could not guarantee my spot if I remained indecisive past the quarter hour. He restated the price (which somehow had increased another $20) and I explained that I would need to discuss this with my wife to confirm that these dates would not work for her as I was planning on taking my mistress and needed a plausible reason to leave her at home with my aforementioned ungrateful offspring.

To Chase’s credit (or discredit depending on your views on marital ethics) he quickly responded that he “had been there before” and could empathize with my dilemma. I assured him that I would attempt to get an answer as soon as possible and call back. Oddly enough, it appeared that he had been authorized to extend the deal until Monday because I could call back next week and be shoehorned in.

I did not inquire about the $190 trip to Aruba, but I have to wonder how many people book their international vacations through unsolicited faxes. I then have to wonder how many of those people arrive to find that their “accommodations” turn out to be a futon in an opium den and the included “airfare” is Delta steerage. I suppose these are truly all-or-nothing propositions. If it turns out to be exactly what it says, your friends and family will never hear the end of your $84 2-week trip to Cancun. If things go wrong, you will just tell everyone it was exactly what it said while privately Googling “life with one kidney” once you get back to your house.

No comments:

Post a Comment