AS I walked past the booth between camping supplies and shoes, I made the mistake of looking the point man in the eye,
“How would you like to get $150 dollars in Bass Pro gift cards today?”
I didn’t. I don’t fish and on rare occasions I camp. We were in this Bass Pro Shop because the South Carolina Sun is brutally hot.It makes a guy like me, one that is genetically engineered for cold climates with a fur shirt, melt. We were here for the air conditioning and free aquarium that these places offer.
“You can instead get $125 in cash instead…” Now I was interested.
All along I knew this was for a timeshare. The point man kept going on and on about how this is merely a chance to see a “place to stay” but nobody gives you loot for looking. It’s a carrot stuck out in the hopes of snagging a greedy yet timid soul that will succumb to the pressure of a hard sale.
Not this Pilgrim.
THE demo property was several miles away from North Myrtle on the bypass, considerably off the beach. After passing through a stalled series of industrial parks and past a closed decaying amusement park the complex was on our right, across from the seemingly abandoned Waccamaw Factory Shoppes. We pulled in about 15 minutes late because Google maps didn’t even have the details of this ghost town. I didn’t think beach; I thought about breaking into the shuttered Freestyle Music Park and roaming around. I made sure to feed the kids sugar. Bad behavior would help speed this ‘tour’ up. That was my hedge anyway.
My first impressions of Bluegreen’s Harbour Lights resort is not favorable. It could have used a coat of paint; like three or four years ago. The offices are contained in a big mixed use building reminiscent of a lot of the construction prior to the age of the steel building boom. A rectangle with elements of someones ideal home; a porch, pillars and sparse windows. This design has surly been stripped down and used for offices. It was pretending to be homey and was failing miserably.
Walking into the Welcome Center was the very antithesis of welcoming; it was impersonal and sterile. A huge lobby of couches with tables that had buckets of candy. The seats were filled with the People of Walmart. To the back of the waiting room were yet more salty and sweet snacks and a fountain drink machine. I took notice of a woman with a little boy who was around 7 years old. He seemed vacant and lost; the product of divorce or a dead father. They sent a young dude to work this woman. I heard her say she was from Texas and when the sales guy asked about her husband, she hugged the little boy and said, “Here’s the only man in my life.”
We were greeted by a Britney. She was like a lot of chicks I’ve meet in the South, extremely cute from some angles but with a bit of piss in the gene pool which resulted in some obvious defect; maybe one eye noticeably lower than the other or visibly misshapen and uneven breasts. She had a grill that looked like a sharks: there were teeth everywhere. She lead us to a room of low glass cubicles that was designed for the pitch. Guys in cheap ties and unsized watch bracelets moved around the room to add an air of action in an otherwise dead environment. She started her presentation as I zoned out and the sugar kicked in for the kids who were now swarming the popcorn machine. I did notice other things about Brit – like her unwashed hair from a night of partying; her doe like eyes, those teeth and her inability to sit in a dress. She sat with her legs wide open. I imagined getting an upskirt shot of this to tweet but was unsuccessful. She droned on and asked questions that we provided vague answers to; questions designed to peel the layers back and find hooks. As that failed, she began the next phase of the tour, actually walking around the grounds and seeing a unit. A guy who looked like Billy Bob Thorton stopped by and mumbled some shit about a price sheet after he introduced himself.
AS we make our way to the first of several pools, the thought “Ugly American” came to mind. I have to admit, though, the facilities were nice.
Eventually we walked across a small pond via a rope bridge. It was at this point that I noticed you could see Brits black underwear through her black dress. I also noticed how unusually long her arms were. Like ape long. The condo is laid out exactly like the one that we’re renting. Albeit this one has recently been remodeled where as ours was firmly stuck in 1992 interior design. My son starts complaining about his stomach. All of the sweets and salty snacks have got to him. He proceeds to take a huge smelly shit in the guest bathroom located near the front door. As he’s dropping bombs like some shit in Vietnam, I’m in the kitchen across from him holding the baby. I notice a pretzel on her thigh. I take it and look for the garbage. Not finding it as Brit drones and drones on about the benefits of a timeshare. I end up placing it in the bowl of plastic fruit. She totally busts me as she grabs it and says, “Hmm – that doesn’t belong there…”
It’s finally dawning on her that we are not buyers as my wife continues to roll her eyes and the kids jump on the furniture. As we make our way out of the unit, she mentions that she’ll be moving to DC with her paramedic boyfriend after her dad gets a liver transplant because “…he has cirrhosis”. Classic appeal to sympathy that falls short. It gets me thinking her mom must have been a drinker too; explains the brachiating arms. Just when it seems it’s over there is yet more presentation. At this my wife laughs and starts to cry. Brit turned around and my wife said, “Just ignore me, I’m bipolar…” Brit reassuringly responds with, “Oh – that’s okay…” completely missing the joke. She lead us back to the low glass cube room to a flat panel TV that featured the companies website with pictures of all of their resorts. The kids are wrestling as she launches into the same angle as before; oblivious to the reality that we are not buying.
Finally it ends as Billy Bob again returns and tries to pressure me into a sale. I blame my unwillingness to buy on the Democrat majority and that does the trick and Sling Blade backs off. His attitude changes as he instructs her to “…take [us] to the gift department” and he acts disappointed as he heads back to the mission control desk that occupies the back of the room where all of the closers hang out. A bell sounds and people cheer. My wife asks, “What just happened?”
I have a pretty good hunch, “Someone just bought in” Brit says.
I can hear Billy Bob at the desk saying, “I can’t believe they wasted our time…” Come on fucko – I’m the one on vacation – it’s my time that was wasted but I did make over $50 an hour of walking around money!
DOWNSTAIRS in the Prize Center, Brit’s demeanor changes as well. We were now scum bags because we were able to outlast these snakes. Brit’s demeanor changes too as my kids see the check and shout “We got paid!”
She gets snide and bitchy but I don’t take it personal or hold it against her – she’s just trying to get paid.
Hopefully she got the next single mom from Texas.