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The Time Share Story

The timeshare pitch is an often repeated “talk story”.  We attended for the cash credit we could receive. We have heard the Timeshare pitch before.  

Whenever here in Hawaii, I am always impressed with the huge capital investments you find here on the islands, the destination resorts, golf courses, landscaping that have been created here.  The Timeshare is an artifact of this huge capital infusion.

The story goes like this. You are on vacation here and spending XXX dollars.  So why not take the money that you are spending here anyway and sink some into an “investment” for future trips with one of these huge corporations.  By doing so you purchase a place, a destination resort for future visits.

Of course there is an ongoing maintenance fee in addition to your initial “investment”.  The recent offer was a $25,000 investment for 2000 points. This would get us a couple of weeks, in many places, but not enough for two weeks in Hawaii during the busy Winter season.  In addition we would have an annual maintenance fee of about $1100 which is adjusted for inflation each year. This assures that you will spend XXX dollars on travel annually. The annual fee is so that your destination will be in top shape when you visit.  It’s effect is to let the corporate owner off the hook for maintenance of the initial investment and assure cash flow, profit, for the corporation that build the resort. It obviously pays here in Hawaii or these timeshares would not be so common.

The timeshare has never been a big selling point for Gabriela and I.  The destination resort cancels an aspect of travel we highly value, seeing and experiencing the culture and uniqueness of the places we visit.  Why go to Munich and stay at a Marriott destination resort? Why not something a little more authentic? But Marriott and others keep pitching this “talk story” to us and for two hours of our time we get some cash.

I am reading Hawaii, by James Michener.  Each of the chapters in his book seem to be an historic novella, a big book, but interesting.  Now I’m reading about the missionaries who came from New England to save the souls of the natives here.  Who owns Hawaii today? You can trace it back to those missionary families. The Hawaiians didn’t even have the concept of land ownership before the European contact.  That idea, land ownership came with the missionaries.

Before the timeshare presentation I realized that there is a continuum here; the missionaries to the timeshare capitalist.  Today the timeshare is the new religion that the white man brings to these islands. Now instead of churches and saving souls, we have destination resorts and fancy accomodations and the priests today are the salesman who are selling two weeks of comfortable living for your “investment” and annual fee.  The winner here is of course the huge corporation, return on investment.