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A Bad Trip to Piney Shores Resort
Is it worth it?
As promised, I was offered a four-day retreat at Piney Shores Resort. This was a selling point that encouraged me to agree to a $1000 trial package. Since the purpose of the trial package was to sell me on purchasing a time share, one would think that the experience would be made special. One would be so wrong!
Piney Shores Resort is only an hour and a half from my home. It is a pleasant enough drive even though it includes crossing Houston. If you time it just right, traffic moves smoothly.
Heading north on IH 45, you can see and feel the change in the terrain. The trees are taller and greener, and even in the summer, the area appears to be cooler. Of course, this last bit has to be observed from the interior of an air conditioned car. The first step outside the car will dispel that illusion of coolness.
Conroe, north of Houston, sprawls. It isn't a bad town, just self important. Piney Shores Resort is to the west, down a long two-lane road that ends at the water's edge. In the late afternoon the first view of the water is almost breath taking. I said "almost" because the immediate reaction is to realize how "man made" everything is.
As it turned out, the trip to Piney Shores and the trip back home were the best parts of the retreat.
I didn't mind that the free four days were during the slowest time of the year. Very few cabins or condos were occupied. But, to compensate for this, very few employees were available. Perhaps this makes business sense but it doesn't make sense from the customer service aspect.
Then, you have to consider the employees who were there. Where do they get these people, and why do they not give them any training? When I finally found the correct building for check in (evidently signage is not a major concern) I had to deal with two young girls whose only attribute was that they were perky. They did find my name in the computer, and they did find the correct key. It took both of them to accomplish this.
The next thing for me to do, they excitedly told me, was to talk to the guy at the end of the counter to schedule my meeting with one of Piney Shores' associates. If I avoided this meeting I would be charged $50!! I should have paid the $50. More about this later.
Let me tell you about the condo I was assigned. The refrigerator was clean, but the accommodations went down from there. I understand rustic. I don't mind rustic. However, a rustic condo is such an oxymoron that few decorating ideas make sense.
I decided to overlook the grotesque dead fish metal sculptures because the sagging sofa loomed so large as an even greater revulsion. This sofa was supposed to convert to a bed so this condo could claim to sleep six. Tell me, if a sofa is not comfortable to sit on, how can you expect it to be comfortable to sleep on?
The two bedrooms were a good size, adequate for a short vacation. The best thing to be said about the bathrooms is that they were inside.
This condo had a balcony. Nice touch?
Since the computer told the perky girls at the reception desk which condo I was to use, it seems that the housekeeping crew would also know which condo needed to be made ready. This would include cleaning the balcony. However, when the many layers of dust have set so long that they have hardened into dirt, it is obvious that preparation for guests is not high on the list of considerations for Piney Shores personnel.
All in all, the condo was dingy and slightly sticky. My last evening there, I ate my dinner at the small table by the kitchen. Halfway through the meal, a roach dropped from the underside of the table, onto my knee, ran down my leg and across the floor.
I have to tell you about the meeting I had with the Piney Shores associate. It turned out to be three associates who tried to double-team me and convince me that obviously I wasn't very smart since I didn't take advantage of the special offers they were offering me.
Their scare tactic seemed to be built on the mortgage crisis that was starting to be daily headlines. I was shown how if I acted that very day I could lock in certain favorable rates they were offering me because I was "special." They must deal with a lot of people who have just fallen off a turnip truck if they think their slick hard sell is truly a deal. The end of the third salesman's pitch turned out to be a real eyeopener for me. When he decided he wasn't going to make a sale, he jumped up from the table, told me I didn't know what I was missing and stalked away. Let's just call him rude.
Time shares are big business. Piney Shores Resort is lacking what it takes to compete.