Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Read This Now, It May Be Gone by Tomorrow

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Read This Now, It May Be Gone by Tomorrow

Article excerpt

Sometimes, in my more delusional moments, I think of myself as a kind of apprentice anthropologist, studying how and why we do the things we do.

Which is why, after 25 years of resisting their blandishments, I agreed last week to listen to a pitch from some people selling time-share condominiums.

They didn't actually reveal that was what they were doing until I drove up to the place, an oceanfront high-rise in Ormond Beach. But I knew.

So I listened to the pitch, in which I detected only one obvious distortion, and took a look around the place -- it was really quite attractive, at least the parts they'd already renovated.

I wasn't quite hooked, but I had my mouth open and my eyes were on the bait. When the woman who showed me the place wrote down some numbers -- they were offering an annual week of bliss, complete with sun, sand and ocean view, for between $9,000 and $11,000, depending on the size of the unit -- my first thought was, "Hey, I can afford that."

I told the saleswoman I'd like her card so I could think about it over the weekend and call her Monday. She nodded, said something about needing her manager to sign off on the prizes I'd been promised in exchange for a visit, and disappeared. When she returned, he was with her, the master angler ready to reel in a big one.

The offers, the explanations, the warnings came in rapid succession. He assured me he really wanted to do business with me, so much so that he kept improving the terms. I kept resisting, insisting I would make no decision until I had thought things over. The warnings grew sterner. All these wonderful terms would vanish if I didn't act immediately, he said. In fact, were I to come back Monday, he implied, he probably wouldn't be able to spare a salesman to deal with me.

At which point, I got stubborn. And with that, he lost all interest in me. …

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