Not too long ago, I attended the Barnum and Bailey’s latest circus extravaganza, Legends, at the United Center in Chicago. The show was amazing and very entertaining, but that’s not what this post is about. While I was at the circus, a woman stopped me and asked if I would want to sign up to win a vacation. Win a vacation? That sounded tempting, so I completed the form, gave it back to her, and thought nothing more of it. I have no luck when it comes to winning things anyway.
Fast forward to a few weeks later. I am home sick after having my wisdom teeth ripped from my head – I mean extracted – and I get a call. I have just won a vacation for two to my choice of Jamaica, Mexico, or Puerto Rico with airfare and hotel included! Wow! But there’s a catch (there’s always a catch isn’t there): I have to come to the offices of Sundance Vacations and listen to a presentation. That’s it. Well, I thought, I can certainly show up and let them attempt to sell me whatever it is they specialize in. I am great at saying no – ask any of my students, they can tell you.
And so I found myself driving out to the Sundance Vacations offices in Downers Grove, Illinois one Friday evening with my boyfriend in tow to claim our vacation. Upon arrival, I was asked to give my ID and the code that was given to me over the phone. The lady at the front desk handed me some paperwork that asked questions about where I have traveled and where I would like to travel. Of course, water and cookies were available if we needed hydration or sustenance. I took full advantage.
We only had to wait a few minutes before we were ushered into a room for the presentation. One of the managers introduced himself and began his pitch. Sundance Vacations are a discount vacation company that specialize in wholesale locations. This means they pay for a large quantity of vacations rooms or homes and can therefore sell it to their customers at a discounted price. What they offer is 30 weeks of vacation for $15,000… which at this point in my life I can’t even come close to paying for. The manager pointed out that hotel prices are on the rise, and so it is the best time to invest in their offer. Basically, hurry up before it’s too late! Their cheapest offer was available for that day only.
Once the presentation concluded, the back doors of the room opened and in stepped the salesmen and women. They each had a folder with the name of a guest (all of us lured by the promise of free vacations) and they called us by name to ‘please follow them’ so that the selling could begin.
Having come with the clear idea that I was not interested in their product, I found the whole interaction with our guy amusing. First he asked, do we like to travel? Why yes, we do. Where would we like to travel? Well, many of the places you offer. Are we ready to sign away our lives? No, we are not. He went over all of the perks of signing up today, which had previously been covered, but we still politely declined. Too poor, sorry.
Then he went to bring in the big guns. Out strolled another manager who had the power to offer us a special deal. Sign up now and we could get the employee package for much cheaper. Tempting, but still a no. Eventually, after going back and forth a few times and lowering the price even more, we came to the conclusion of our visit and were brought to the guy with the gifts. We sat in his office where he handed us a folder, told us to follow the steps on the back, thanked us for coming, and sent us on our way.
And the vacation? Well I just got back from a glorious escape from Chicago winter to sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica where I had a fabulous time. All I had to do was 1) Register online, 2) Pay a deposit of $100, 3) Sign up for the dates and location I wanted and, 4) Call the booking agent once they sent me the number, who booked it on the phone with me (this took some time so plan to spend at least an hour on the phone once you get to this step). There was an option to upgrade my hotel for more money, but I declined. After paying the taxes on our flight and hotel, we packed our bags and off we went.
So is the Sundance Vacation gift a scam? Absolutely not. If they call, definitely pick up the phone. Is it free? No, you are required to pay for taxes (on average comes out to about $200 per person). I had a lovely vacation courtesy of them and for quite a low price. And all I had to do was say no. I can tell you… saying no never felt so good.
3000 Finley Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Have you won a Sundance Vacation trip? Share your questions or experiences in the comments below!