Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tippity-Do-Dah

Part of my vacation I've been thinking about servitude, serving others, tipping and how business standards that aren't transparent aren't worth a squirt of piss.

Yesterday morning we got roped in by a time share sales person here at the beach. The lure was a free meal at the best seafood buffet I've ever eaten at and a certificate for a free week at the same hotel we're at now.

We knew going in it was a timeshare, but figured we'd believe the hospitality gal who insisted the presentation would take no more than 90 minutes. It took 3 hours and the African American lady who tried everything to get us to sign up for a 1/52 deed in a timeshare condo with a five hundred dollar monthly note and 700 buck yearly maintenance fee. Oh, and cough up a downpayment check of four thousand right then.

The condo was nice but quite frankly it wasn't much better than the mid quality hotel we're in. The sales lady refused to give us the interest rates being charged by the financier on the five year loan. She had all this slick presentation babble down pat but no real answers to our questions. We walked at hour 3 and she flipped out, wanting to know what she did wrong to blow the sale. I had to explain to her that I'm not really a fan of middle America mediocrity, that I really don't want to stay in a condo like that at the beach. Hey, it's the BEACH, if there's a clean bed and a working shower plus quick access to the beach I am good. That I love quirky mom and pop oddball places, that my husband is thrifty. I hated saying no, but it was just something we would never do.

I do view the listings of timeshares on Ebay sometime and if I ever bought one it would be from some person desperate to unload it cheap. If you just took that 500 bucks they wanted monthly in a savings account you'd have 6,000 bucks at the end of the year and that would go a very long way on a luxury vacation.

Yet I also shopped at a ladies clothing store that had loads of fair trade beautiful neo hippy type clothing. The lady running the shop was awesome, helping me, making suggestions to the point where I walked out with a large bag full of stuff including organic hand cream and face care products.

The difference between the two experiences was that the owner of the boutique fully understood the challenges of my age, my body shape and my own tastes, steering me to colors, styles and unique pieces that would suit me best. The timeshare sales lady only wanted to make the sale, get the commission,  regardless of if the product even suited my husband and I, our lifestyle, our tastes, our needs.

One of the big things I learned in sales through the years is that if you rip off, hoodwink, or pressure a customer to buy something that isn't right for them it's going to backfire in your face. The key to sales success is loyal repeat customers and the secret to cultivating repeat customers is doing what is best for the customer. Before I left the clothing shop I'd gotten the owner's business card and website address so that I could order things in the future.

Today, being Jim's 62nd birthday, we spent the day swimming and hot tubbing before going out for a steak at a place we love here. I made an excuse about looking for the restroom before sneaking over to our waiter and asking her to bring us a piece of cheesecake with a candle on it if possible at the end of the meal as a surprise for Jim. She did way more than that, bringing a decorated plate holding the cheesecake with fruit and ice cream with a lit sparkler on it and the wait staff singing Happy Birthday. Way more than I expected! Jim was very surprised by it.

Things like our meal tonight and the great service I have no problem tipping for. But, I'm unsure about tomorrow. My years stuck in fundegelical ville have left me sometimes stumped as to polite social mores I once understood. It seems when I was toiling to be Most Perfect Jesus-Lovin' Woman we did like everyone else, rarely tipped, expected those serving us to just do it because, we loved Jesus, making us more specialer than anyone else.

Being emotionally knocked down by my former brothers and sisters in Christ leads me to understand I'm not special, I'm just like everyone else. Another meat suit wearer riding a ball of dirt around outer space. 

Now I feel a sense of gratitude I didn't in those days, a new appreciation for most folks that do the things that make our lives easier. I am trying to express that in my interactions with others, at least others that don't try to con or manipulate me.

So do people still tip their hotel maids? I feel like I should leave something but know I'd gotten seriously lax in my old tipping & polite society mad skillz. What to do?

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