Sharing time

5 06 2007

Finally, no more CFA! Results will be released in August – so fingers crossed till then.

Timeshare is in the news again – read QY‘s post about her experience with one, and the legal letter sent to tomorrow.sg. Some of the suggestions QY’s readers gave to deal with such companies were hilarious, haha. I especially think it would be fun to send Nanny Wen and Wang Wang to Orchard Road to “deal” with the numerous “surveyors” hanging around. I can imagine the sarcasm and insults already ūüėõ

Timeshare has had its share of bad press, but I must say they try really hard to promote their packages and get you to attend their talks/sales pitches. And their techniques have certainly evolved!

When I was in Junior College, I worked part-time for a now defunct timeshare company¬†as an exhibition staff. Their tactic was¬†to¬†rent booths at various exhibitions at Suntec/World Trade Centre (yes, that was a LONG time ago) to conduct a lucky draw. Just answer a simple question, fill up this lucky draw coupon and stand a chance to win a holiday package for 2 to some exotic location! The pay was pretty good – $7 to $10/hr.¬† To give the company credit, they did give away a decent holiday to the winner of each draw – but, as you guessed, the remaining lucky draw coupons were passed to the company’s telemarketers. At that time, I think I believed that this was a perfectly legitimate, reasonable marketing tactic – so I was pretty ok with the job, though it got boring after a while.

¬†Personally, I’ve never attended any telemarketing talks but S.O. and I came close more than once. A couple of years ago, S.O. and I were in Bali strolling along their shopping street, killing time before dinner. A girl that looked to be in her late teens approached us to do a “tourist” survey. Being in a holiday mood, we agreed and were thereafter rewarded with a tear-and-win card. S.O. won a token T-shirt and umbrella (or something like that) prize, but my card showed that I had “struck gold”, so to speak – the big prize! Of course, the girl and her colleagues went gushy and all that, saying they’d never ever seen the big prize being won, and they could send a car over the next morning to our hotel to fetch us to collect our prize. Being skeptical, we refused to divulge our room number (though they knew which hotel we were at), told them we had other plans for tomorrow, and left.

The next morning, we were awakened by … a call from the “survey” company, persuading us, again, to attend their talk. (Since we in our room and not “busy” as claimed, we should have time to kill, right?) I supposed they managed to get our room number from hotel reception. Annoyed, we told them no and fortunately, that was the last we heard of them.

Besides timeshare, I’ve had a few “close encounters” with MLM companies. I was once invited by an ex-colleague to visit the office of a health products firm she had joined, to have a look-see and to meet her “mentor” there. Man, I really walked off with a bad taste in my mouth. Mentor woman promoted the company’s products & prospects aggressively, which was to be expected, but mid-way, she turned personal:

Mentor woman (MW): So, do you like what you’re doing now?

Me: So-so lor.

MW: Have you ever thought of being your own boss?

Me: Er, not really. I’m not the business type.

MW: How far do you think you can get in XXX company? Do you think you can earn enough to be financially independant? Our top earners can get XXX a month, you can be like them too .. blah blah. Not much time commitment required. Can treat it as a sideline.

Me: (mumbles something about anything-is-possible-if-you-work-hard and I-really-hate-selling-so-no-thanks)

MW: Hmmmphf. In X years, what if your current industry (IT) has a downturn/you lose your job/you want a change of environment etc? What would you fall back on? If you join our company part-time, you can build your network over the years and thus have a backup plan.

Me: /shrug. I have an Econs degree. I can always do something along that line.

MW: Peh! By that time, your degree will be worthless because so long ago already, you will not have the knowledge anymore, no use one! (Plus a few more lines about how “stupid” my plan was)

Me: (grins and bears it)

I suppose what she said made sense, but I didn’t need to have it shoved down my throat in such a distasteful manner (by such a distasteful woman). Needless to say, I didn’t join that woman’s network.

(By the way, if you read QY’s blog –¬†the woman that she encountered was much worse than mine. I hope I never meet such a person – because I know I would feel totally lousy after getting such crap, but I wouldn’t have the courage to make a big fuss at the scene – or give her a tight slap, like she deserved :p)