I remembered Julius Caesar when I opened our Gulf newspaper recently, and read a report about how scores of people were duped by a time-sharing company, into parting with several thousands of their hard-earned dirhams.
How did Caesar come into the picture? Well he didn’t (bless his soul), his words did. “Et tu Brute?” I thought to myself as I read about those hapless people. Why?
Because we (the husband and I, i.e. ) had been in a similar situation with the same company some months ago!! So, while wholeheartedly sympathizing with those people it’s nice to know there are others like us!
It all started when the husband got a congratulatory phone call one fine morning. We had apparently won a prize – a holiday package and a free dinner voucher!
Tracing it back still further, we can pinpoint the beginning of this saga to when we filled up a couple of forms at a concert we attended. The chap outside the entrance of the auditorium was pretty persistent as he shoved paper and pen beneath our nose and assured us it was for some survey. Just to get rid of him we duly filled in our name, Tel no. and mail id.
Many Full moons later (when we’d forgotten all about it) came the above mentioned phone call. And the guy followed that up with 3 more calls through the day, to remind us to claim our prize that evening!
So we went in our Sunday best. For the prize and for a free dinner!
At the venue it was the Meet & Greet session first where a guy at the counter took down our details – just to confirm, he said, murmuring darkly about imposters and false claimants and all.
We were then escorted to a small Hall for the Presentation Ceremony. But first there would be a brief Counselling session they said. Just a formality they assured us and we followed meekly, innocently, like sheep to a slaughter-house.
Once we entered, as our eyes got adjusted to the scene inside, we noticed there were several other couples seated at small round tables with staff members scouting around like sentinels.
I muttered to the husband that I didn’t have a good feel about the whole thing but the well trained sentinels had already shepherded us to a table and put us in the care of a Deputy Manager and his stooge.
The scheme it turned out was to get people to sign up for time-share contracts which would then award members access to selected hotels worldwide, besides a plethora of other benefits including health insurance, discount vouchers, Gym membership…. for a fee. A hefty one. Of course!
The duo at our table began proceedings with a question/answer session, ostensibly aimed at putting us at our ease and catching us off guard, to sign on the dotted line. The session lasted good and long, in the course of which, the chap shared a lot of his personal stories and asked us a lot of ours; admonished us twice for turning and looking around and once (believe it or not) for not sitting properly with our legs tucked beneath the table! It seemed like it would go on and on! I finally took it upon myself to end it when the conversation moved in this direction…..
He – “So what does Uncle do?”
Uncle (I mean the husband) – “I work in a bank.”
He (turning to me) – “And what about ma’am…. What do you do?”
At this juncture, I could have very well told him the truth like –
“I cook 3 wholesome meals a day – sometimes 4. I wash and clean and keep the house spick and span. Without a maid. I raised a pair of boisterous twin sons. Singlehandedly.”
And more ……..
But instead I said “I’m a house wife.”
And you know what that nincompoop tells me, “Oh I see. Uncle works hard the whole day while you relax at home!”
Well really!!! Grrr…..
If you’ve never seen a dragon before, then that moment you would have right there! I was breathing fire and there was smoke coming out of my ears but …..all of it was wasted on that utter idiot!
To cut a long story short, the more we tried to get up and leave the more they tried to sell us their schemes, none of which convinced nor impressed us.
Finally I got out of the room citing a desperate need to visit the wash room and then flatly refused to get back in again.
And that was how we came out of the whole thing, thanking God that we’d lost nothing more than our time that day and resolving not to be tempted by such offers next time.
And the dinner voucher? Apparently we misunderstood.
So we returned home and we ate dinner – cooked by the house wife. The one who relaxes at home remember!!