Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Myth busters! (part 2)

The other people who seem to think that you have limitless financial resources the instant you are married are those lovely Timeshare folk.

I am one of those fools who has limitless faith in competitions. I enter everything. On the internet, on products, on TV. If you don't enter, you'll never win (well apparantly either way you'll never win, but never mind that).

So I recently entered a competition to win a cruise. I guess I should have become suspicious while filling in the income details of both my spouse and I. But I am not a "ye of little faith" and so when, on my birthday in fact, I received a phone call telling me that I had won a great prize.

I had to go to the waterfront to get it and it would be either a plasma screen TV, an overseas trip, a couple of grand cash, or a free week long local holiday.


Sure in the over-the-phone fine print they mentioned that we'd need to listen to a presentation, but the lady on the phone was so nice and so happy for me and so sure I would win big (the overseas trip, no less). How could I not be filled with anticipation?

So there we went, into the dark recesses of the Leisurenet offices. Our first clue was the fact that instead of couches in the reception area, they had old aeroplane seats.

We were soon met by... let me call him Jon. You know that annoying little dweeb in Dirty Dancing? The nephew of the hotel owner who always wants to dance with Baby? Imagine him combined with Jon Arbuckle of Garfield fame. Add a greasy, slicked back pony tail (I kid you not) and a billowing PLEATED shirt and we have Jon, our timeshare assistant. (Of course he would never admit that it is timeshare. Sorry, it is a shared ownership company in which you, the client, are master of your own asset).

Well Jon was the quintessential timeshare salesman. I really had to stifle the laughs when he used phrases like "But wait!! That's not all..." (no, really)

The whole situation was so special. First thing we noticed was that couples were matched to consultants of the same general age and race...more "approachable" I guess.

When Jon led us around the office and showed us this very impressive poster which was not only colour printed but laminated as well, and asked us for the umpteenth frikken time "What do you like about what I've just shown you" I snapped. I had to tell him (albeit quite politely) that what I didn't like was that there were several obvious spelling errors on his poster which is not very impressive.

He hastily assured me that he knew all about them and (of course) it was the printing company's error (so hard to find good printers who don't change your grammer and stuff it up these days).

Jon had many endearing little ploys, and the space on this site is not enough to detail them all but I cannot resist sharing 3 of them with you.

1) In an attempt to relate to us as newly weds, Jon told us of his own upcoming nuptuals and of how excited he was that he could use one of the listed resorts for his honeymoon...his choice of resort? A cave! I kid you not. Not even a real cave, a fake stone cave so he can experience the whole cave man vibe! She sure is a lucky gal....

2) Jon took us through EVERY SINGLE resort in the whole fake-crocodile leather bound file - more than a hundred (and every last one of them very very dingy looking indeed). On every page he would try entice us with some or other personal experience or success story... my personal favourite was when Jon got to a resort near Hole in the Wall at the Wild Coast. He told us all about this guy who he convinced that he could go feed the dolphins right in the Hole in the Wall bay and of how the guy returned, delighted, with these photos to give to Jon of him feeding the dolphins. I have spent many holidays in that area and I guess Jon's client must be a really lucky guy coz the chances of dolphins swimming through that hollowed out rock is..well...slim. That's not to say that I doubt jonny's word...

3) "If that was you in that photo, Stefan, what would you be drinking?"......"If that was you on that beach, Carolyn, what colour would your bikini be?" Oh please

After nearly two hours Jonny handn't lost a bit of steam. He was so ready to go through the gajillions of cruise options (the other half of the mammoth file) and I couldn't take it anymore. I flashed him a dazzling smile and told him he needn't bother, my husband is terribly seasick and we would never go on a cruise.

Finally at the end of a loooooooooooooong day's listening and politeness Jon said that we could "invest in our holidays" for a mere R38 000 upfront and R2000 a year (give or take). That would give us a week at a nice local resort annually.

Thanks, Jon, but...uh we'll pass.

The truly terrifying bit was that all around us people were merrily signing up. I wanted to run around the room shouting "stop! It's not too late! Don't do it!" But instead we asked Jon about the prize.

Suffice it to say Jonny was a lot less friendly after we had convinced him (which took some doing) that we were not in fact interested in paying a small fortune for a week in a dump. First he called over his superior who said "well lets see if we can do something special for you. Tongue tip out, he used his oversized calculator to fiddle a bit and made us another offer with a look of "WOW, you guys are getting a deal now!" Still no. Sorry.

Out we filed to the reception where we got to write down 5 digits (oh the beauty of it). We spun a dirty little lotto type thing filled with ping pong balls. If we got all 5 digits IN ORDER (!!!!!) we would have won the overseas trip. Now I'm no mathematician but I'm guessing the chances of selecting the 5 correct digits in order must be something like 1 to the power of never.

So off we walked with our free local holiday. Awesome prize - it's free, but you have to pay like R400 to register the vouchers, plus an additional R200 per person per day for house cleaning etc plus buy meals. What a deal.

I'd like to take this opportunity to really thank over-the-phone lady who confidently wished me all the best for winning the big prize and telling me she was on my side. "The axe may forget, but the tree never does"
(Shona proverb more or less meaning: I'll get you!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Myth busters! (part 1)

In my 4 brief months of marriage I have discovered that the instant you are married, certain assumptions are attached to you and the hub.

The one I want to discuss today is that married people are wealthy. I have to say that I get a true kick out of this one. Suddenly you are eligible for all kinds of things. Most notably credit purchases and loans. (the sharks!!)

I went in to find out about homeloans the other day and was all prepared with our salary slips etc etc. The guy positively oozed. "You guys are so fortunate!" "Very few people earn what you earn at your age" "Renting is money down the drain" "I can pretty much guarantee your homeloan right now with that kind of income" and on and on.

When I told my man the amount the guy had guaranteed he was as shocked as I was. Maybe we are actually quite wealthy! Perhaps we are in the fortunate part of the population that are more than merely comfortable. Heck, the guy as good as said WE'RE RICH! The world is our oyster! There's no mountain to high! No valley to low (etc etc).

Well a couple of cloud walking days later I received the formal faxed statement of our homeloan eligibility. It began as follows..."I must start with an apology, when I read your salary slip I thought it was monthly income. I now realise it was annual income".


Friday, June 23, 2006

Sick and sordid plots

On the topic of reverse psychology and jinxing.....

I just need a mini-vent quickly.

Have you ever noticed that on those riddle emails (that people insist on sending at like 4.45 knowing that you can't possibly leave until you've solved it) they always make sure that you know full well, before you even attempt the riddle, that if you are smart you would crack it in less than 3 minutes.

Why! Why must they do that? No, they can't just give you the riddle and BELOW the riddle, after you've had a chance to solve it, mention the fact.

Instead, they have to scare you witless: If you DON'T get this in 3 minutes you are stoopid. Naturally that strikes terror into the heart of any self respecting person PARTICULARLY one who is already trying to overcome the gnawing terror of DMWness and the inevitable bulge!

By definition someone who is scared witless is temporarily robbed of their intelligence and hence will OBVIOUSLY take longer than the allocated 3 minutes to solve the aforementioned offending riddle.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

DMWness and the inevitable bulge

There is something which, I am warned, goes hand in hand with DMWness. This supposed inevitability is that post-wedding women gain weight. I would like to emphatically dispute this. For one thing there is a distinct difference between fat and voluptous. For another, it is winter in the Cape, hence much rain, hence much tumble dryer, hence clothes SHRINK. Thirdly, it is a circular argument of sorts... if people insist on predicting you will gain weight, subconciously you surrender and oblige. So if newly married women do gain weight it may have more to do with
all their cursed married friends nodding knowingly (complete with rueful smile) and saying "it happens to all of us dear." (aka "YOU'RE ONE OF US NOW! muh ha ha" - evil laugh)

Now of course it should be noted that the reverse is not true. The reverse is in fact a sick and sordid plot to plunge you ever deeper and faster into DMW-bulginess. What am I on about you ask? I am on about the fact that from the moment you get engaged everyone from other ladies (this time sporting knowing smiles) to your dressmaker to... well... everyone telling you how the weight is just going to fly off you between now and the "big day". WHAT A CROCK. Any sensible person knows that actually saying that to someone completely jinxes whatever weight loss they may have experienced.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"rage, rage against the dying of the light"

Ok, so I guess I should admit that I have in fact walked down the aisle before. I am, you see, a newly wed. But as any newly wed woman will admit, one of our greatest fears is that we have been tragicly transformed from young, ravishing singleton, to our brief moment in the lime light as beautiful blushing bride, to dowdy married woman.

Dowdy married women have practical hairdos (worse than that; they use the term "hairdo"!!) They have a tendency to discuss the merits of cleaning products with anyone who cares to listen. They get excited about things like new curtains and being up to date with the wash cycle. No one wants to be dowdy married woman. Some DMW may argue that the regression is inevitable... As for me, I will take the advice of Dylan Thomas and "rage, rage, against the dying of the light" and refuse "to go gentle into that good night".

In protest of DMWness, I have refused to cut my hair. (Except two weekends ago when I was suffering a particularly venomous form of that-time-of-the-month-induced meloncholy. I was inspired by Susannah - Julia Ormond - in Legends of the Fall, just minus the flowing dress and the pretty dressing table. I sat staring meaningfully at my reflection in the mirror, eyes shimmering with unshed tears, grabbed my hair and cut it. Sure it was a little melodramatic, but it was immensely satisfying. Unlike our friend Susannah, I wasn't about to top myself and hence I maintained the good sense to refrain from doing any real damage. In fact I only cut off about 5cm and even worked in some very nice looking layers.)

In addition I really do make a real effort to hide my excitement about the innovative cleaning products on the market... (I won't mention the great dishwashing sponge I found which clips to a handle so that you don't even need to wet your hands and, wait for it... the handle holds dishwashing liquid which it dispenses as you use it.... I WON'T! I WON'T)

In my defence; the wash cycle is weeks behind (clothing pyramids look quite artistic on the spare room carpet) and I find curtains far from thrilling.

More on the things which qualify you as a DMW coming soon.............