trendwest? we think not.

monday evening, as we were sitting on my couch studiously doing our homework (that time we really were!), I got a phone call from trendwest. they’re a resort chain that does a combination of timeshare and ownership. apparently at one of the many bridal websites I looked at, I entered a sweepstakes, sponsored by trendwest, and they said I won. it was a 3-day 2-night airfare-paid trip to anaheim, reno, or las vegas. we would have to drive up to ogden to listen to their marketing scheme, but they said they’d give us a $20 gas card for our trouble.

so tonight we headed up. the presentation was supposed to be at 8, and it turns out to be in eden, not ogden, which took a little less than 2 hours to get to. we were a little early, so a guy named cody or cory or cole gave us a tour of one of the condos. everything he said was planned, I think, and he was really annoying. throughout the evening he would ask us what was a fun date we went on or a trip we remembered going on with our families, and then he’d tell a personal story. at the end of the story he would say some variation of “I liked it because it was spontaneous and memorable.” hmm.

anyway, we sat through their why-you-should-buy presentation and watched the video, and then we and the other 5 or 6 couples went back to our respective tour guides. someone in charge announced that there was going to be a contest. each couple would be given a piece of paper with spots to write the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of 15 friends, and whichever couple wrote down the most names by the end of “mambo #5” would win a $50 tgi friday’s gift card. also, every name would count as an entry for a free $1500 gas card; if all 15 slots were filled, that would be an additional $50 dinner gift card.

I flatly refused to fill it out. jarom was maybe a little embarrased, and I suppose it was kind of rude to our tour guide. but I couldn’t in good conscience write down my friends and family to be harrassed by these people, or bribed into driving up to eden for the same experience we were having. besides, I have very strong opinions about timeshares and resorts and so on. trendwest’s big persuasion point is that everyone should be able to spend more time with their families doing what they like, and that everyone deserves more vacations. I think, however, that there are much better ways to spend my money than on myself. obviously this is not a completely ingrained belief, because I drove 2 hours to get a free vacation. but nevertheless, I believe that not only should our money be spent on other things — like making the world a better place — but family vacations don’t have to be extravagant or destination-oriented.

so cory or cody or cole was visibly disappointed that I didn’t fill out any names. at the end of the song, he started chatting with us again, asking about school and work some more. he kept pressing the point with jarom about if he was using his korean skills in his job, until finally jarom said that he had scholarships and was just focusing on school for now. I explained that we’re going to have summer jobs after we get back from our wedding and honeymoon. at this point, the tour guide said he needed to talk to his manager about something.

and guess what? he came back and told us that because we don’t make over $32k a year, we were ineligible for the sweepstakes prize. (I know very well we don’t make that much, and I would never have said we did on any sort of entry form.) not only that, when we asked about the gas card, he said that it was in conjunction with the recommend-a-friend paper we didn’t fill out.

he did offer, though, to hold onto the prize for us for when we will be making enough money. but he didn’t want to show us all the cool ownership packages right now, because that would be like showing someone a cadillac, and they say “ooooh I want that!” but they can’t afford it. cory or cody or cole didn’t want to break our hearts, because everyone that sees the packages wants to be part of it.

so…we left. what else were we supposed to do? jarom was furious. never mind the sweepstakes prize, we had been promised a $20 gas card for our trouble, and that got taken away too. I tried to stick it to the man by not filling out that paper but the man screwed us over. altogether it was 5 hours and over 200 miles for…um…nothing. I’ve rarely seen jarom so riled up. he vows to email trendwest tomorrow and let them know that even if we have $5 billion dollars, we’ll never ever ever participate in their programs or stay at any of their affiliated resorts.

and so we have agreed that if we ever get talked into sitting through another marketing scheme like this, we won’t go outside of the city we live in. it’s not worth it.

the good news is, yesterday we went shopping for new church clothes for jarom, and I found the cutest dress I’ve ever seen. maybe the wedding dress is better. I’m still undecided. but I’ll wear it to the temple on our wedding day and to the luncheon and whatnot. barely 2 weeks away! we drive back to california next thursday. how will I ever get things done before then?!

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