Welcome to installment #1 of Curt and Meg’s excellent Vegas adventure. I’ll wait here while you go and pour a glass of Chablis – you’ll need it because this is kind of a long one…ready?
OK. So, we rolled into Las Vegas around dinnertime on Wednesday, checked in, had dinner and enjoyed some live music at House of Blues, did some things that will stay in Vegas (because this is not a tell-all blog, people) and got us a good night’s sleep. Them’s some comfy beds!
Thursday morning, we set out to explore the Strip, hoping to visit a few resorts and find some trouble get the lay of the land. We wandered into New York, New York and were immediately accosted approached by a nice young man who asked if we had plans or did we need some help figuring out what to do during our stay, and offered that he could get us some good deals on show tickets. We were wary but intrigued and stepped over to his kiosk where he started tapping at a computer screen to help us narrow down a good fit for our interests. You know – because he cared. We settled on tickets to see the erotic Zumanity for $20 each – a real bargain! Then, Because He Liked Us So Much, he threw in VIP access and a waived cover charge at Rok, and then added VIP passes to Coyote Ugly too. (More about Coyote Ugly later!)
“So dude – what’s the catch?” I asked, one skeptical eyebrow raised.
“No catch, really – all you have to do is agree to go on a short little 120minutetourofagorgeousresortpropertydownthestrip. It’s fun, you’ll get to meet some really nice people, and they give away other prizes, too. Once you finish the tour, you’ll get your gifts.”
“OK,” we said, figuring there’s no way we could be pressured into buying some vacation resort, because you can’t squeeze blood from a stone, or a turnip, or however the saying goes. Meanwhile, we’d take advantage of the free refreshments and likely score some serious blog fodder, and on that last point, we were richly rewarded.
Tahiti Village is a condo resort on the south end of the Strip. But it’s more than that, they promise, for the owners of Tahiti Village are purveyors of a lifestyle. Dream merchants. Turns out, it’s also a bit of a cult. Our own personal Dream Merchant, coincidentally named Curt, escorted us to a seminar room where we got acquainted while enjoying a delicious breakfast shrink-wrapped Danish and watery coffee. Turns out, we had more in common with our boy Curt than just his name, for he, too, had come here on vacation, was snagged by the “body snatchers,” and the next thing you know, he and his wife had sold their house, moved to Las Vegas, and he fell so in love with the lifestyle that he began selling DREAMS to other couples. All this from a former network engineer! Who’da thunkit.
Then, the lights were dimmed and the captives potential buyers were shown a video of all the old Vegas hotels being imploded (actually a cool video), the point being that the new mega-resorts are an unaffordable way for most to vacation. But, Fear Not! For Tahiti Village offers you the opportunity to literally own a piece of land on the Las Vegas Strip (it’s a deeded timeshare), and the good folks at Tahiti Village could make that possible for us today!
So went our host’s script. I can’t recall his name, but he was clearly a legend in his own mind. He hosts some cable TV boxing show. He had longish blond hair, quite the suntan, and wore a khaki-colored suit. He reminded us Matthew Modine’s character from the third season of Weeds, Sullivan Groff, who developed Majestic next to Agrestic. A slick huckster. (Is that redundant?) The vultures Dream Merchants, full from drinking this guy’s Kool-Aid, were planted about the room knew exactly when to applaud, stand and cheer, and they did so with gusto.
Who’s here celebrating something today? Our host asked the room, and the Dream Merchants announced their couple’s occasion to much applause and fanfare. There were three anniversaries and a honeymoon. See? We are MAKING MEMORIES here, people!
Dream Merchant Curt gave us a tour of the lovely pool outside and the lobby complete with full concierge service. Then he showed us the condo unit, which really was quite lovely – very modern. He gushed about the maid service, the free shuttle to the Strip and the airport, the 24-hour bar and restaurant, the organized activities for the kiddies. Really, a little slice of paradise here, and who are you to deny your loved ones of that opportunity? But not only that, we could have TWELVE WEEKS a year to vacation at any affiliated resort for maybe a couple hundred dollars each week, and you can share the weeks with your friends.
We started thinking about it. Could we somehow parlay this “investment” into a cheap beach week in North Carolina with our friends, all of us in our own beachfront condos in the same resort? Of course, said Dream Merchant Curt. You can go anywhere, anytime you want, with whomever you want. And your week in Las Vegas is free! Now let’s go talk some numbers, shall we?
Back we went to the seminar room, where all of the zombies Dream Merchants were seated at tables with their unsuspecting prey potential buyers, Running The Numbers, where Running The Numbers equals trying to get you to commit to a small monthly payment while placing little or no focus on the HIGH-INTEREST LOAN OF UPWARDS OF $10,000, and did we mention, unless you have a bankruptcy or lien, we guarantee we’ll approve financing?
All of a sudden, one of the Dream Merchants stood up and yelled to the room, “PLEASE WELCOME JOE AND CINDY TO THE FAMILY – THEY ARE OUR NEWEST OWNERS!” All the Dream Merchants stood and enthusiastically applauded. Joe and Cindy approached the stage, were given floral leis to place around each other’s necks, and told to pop a balloon that contained a chance to spin a wheel to win even more trips. Dream Merchant Curt leaned in and shared some insider scoop: “I know what’s in the balloons because I fill them. If they pick red, they get the jackpot, and if you go up there, I’ll tell you which one to pop!” Super.
Our interest was beginning to wane, and we held firm, even when their Numbers Guy joined our table to present us with a list of even better deals. They didn’t want to let us deny our children a lifetime of memories, of frolic in the sand and sun, over a measly $150 per month for one week every other year in Vegas, plus you still get the 12 weeks a year at other resorts! Instead of paying all that money to rent a vacation house on the Outer Banks, you could invest in this Dream Resort, gain equity, write off the mortgage interest, plus join the vacation club, because really, isn’t this the LIFESTYLE you DESERVE?
They seemed surprised that I kept going back to the bottom line, which is that if we had extra money each month, we’d be putting it towards existing debt or, oh, I dunno, silly me, saving for THREE COLLEGE EDUCATIONS.
Nope, sorry, we insisted, it just isn’t the right time for us. Now how about hooking us up with those Zumanity tickets and letting us get on with our vacation? The fun had worn off like the gold from a gumball machine ring. We were done.
Dream Merchant Curt escorted us to the “Gifting” window, where we received our ticket vouchers, and handed us a pass to ride their shuttle back to the Strip. He also helpfully pointed us in the direction of the outlet mall, which, as it happened, was within walking distance, and that was good because my own dreamy Curt had managed somehow to pack only one shoe besides the pair of sneakers he wore (yes, way), and I insisted he needed to wear something other than athletic footwear to the clubs. (Call me crazy.)
And that is how we spent our first morning in Las Vegas. We’ve no regrets – it was a hilarious experience, the tickets to Zumanity were a huge score and the show was really great. But it turned out the best part of the whole thing was our night at Coyote Ugly, and that, readers, will be the subject for my next installment. Stay tuned…