Piney Shores Resort
I'll bet you're sorry now
If you have just plunked down $14,000-$30,000 to purchase a time-share with the Silverleaf resort at Piney Shores you may want to stop reading now. If you received one of the "you are special" invitations to attend --------- and you are considering going, let me tell you my story.
The trip from south of Houston, Texas to the Conroe, Texas site of Piney Shores is a pleasant one hour drive. Houston traffic always creates tension for a driver, but in this instance, the real tension doesn't start until you reach your destination. You are greeted by resort staff as if you are a long-lost friend and your attendance at their "party" is the best thing that has happened in recent memory. Now the pressure is on to live up to their expectation of you and your participation.
You are not special
If you look around you in the comfortable waiting room, you will quickly decide that you are not so special. The room is filled with people who, just like you, were excited by the giveaways to be received by attending a funfilled 90-minute presentation and tour. Now, they look as though they are beginning to think they may have made a mistake.
Sales representatives bounce out of the back room and seek out the individuals whose paperwork they've been given. For a while, you feel really good, because even your mother isn't as interested in you as this sales rep is. He or she wants to know about your hobbies, your children, your likes and dislikes, your health, and anything else you want to talk about. Your life fascinates them. You are interesting. You are special.
And, because you are special, your sales rep really wants to take you on a tour of this wonderful vacation environment. You are escorted to a nice, new car that has ample room for you and however many people you brouoght with you. The tour is maybe thirty minutes and visits each of the types of facility offered at the resort. It is funny to watch the sales rep work. They have a memorized line of patter and their energy and enthuasism never flaggs.
They use a tried and true method of sales by asking you questions that will be answered by yes. The idea is that is you say "yes" enough during the tour, you probably will say "yes" when the real sales pitch starts. Questions such as, "Can you see yourself enjoying sitting on the balcony of this beautiful condo?", "Will your children enjoy being able to walk to the miniature golf course?", "Do you wish you had a chance to do nothing and not feel guilty?"
When the tour is over you are herded back into the Welcome Center and seated at a table in the large sales room. It resenbles a large cafeteria with tables and chairs filled with people just like you. Now, the sales pitch swings into high gear.
For about twenty minutes your sales representative walks you through the many facets of time-share ownership. The joys are enumerated over and over. You are treated to a lenghty price comparison of the vacation trips you have taken and how you could have had a better time for less money if you had only joined sooner.
I could go on and on about this first level of sales presentation, but my head is beginning to swim just thinking about it. So, I will move on to what happens next if you have not yet fallen to your knees and begged to be allowed to sign up.
Your sales rep asks you to wait a minute while he gets his manager to come and talk to you. There are phrases like "He knows a lot more about the program than I do," or "I know she would like to met you and tell you about our special offers," etc.
Now, a second attack begins. This new person is just as happy to see you as the original representative was and goes through the same small talk getting to know you. Once again, you are lulled into thinking how nice everybody is. There are charts presented, papers moved in front of you with info on them that the rep condenses for you, encouragement to consider the value of the resort package (dollar value and family value).
Where is Piney Shores?
So far, I've related just how I was treated when I attended one of the events at Piney Shores. Since I didn't speak to anyone but the sales representatives, I can't say for sure what was going on at the other tables. I can say that many of the other people seemed to have the same glazed look in their eyes that I had.
Since I was still not willing to sign on the dotted line that very day, a third line of attack began. I will say that the woman who showed up at my table this time appeared to be much more professional than the previous representatives. I surmised that she was salaried.
She, of course, wanted to know all about me and began the ritual of becoming my best friend. However, her style was a little warmer, a little less intemidating. I think she quickly determined that she was not going to change my mind about making an immediate decision to buy into Piney Shores. At that point she did a smart thing. She quit pushing the "buy now" approach and suggested that I might be interested in a program they offered that would let me try out the resort vacation concept and see for myself just how wonderful Piney Shores and Silverleaf Resorts were.
So, for $1000, I signed up for a one-year trial. Of course, I could, at any time, convert what I had paid into payment toward purchase. This program offered me day passes to any of the resorts ("Just show your card at the security gate") and, when my monthly payments were complete I would be able to have a free six-day, five-night vacation at any of the 14 resorts. I questioned the use of the word "free" when I had paid $1000, but she smoothly worked past that.
I was assured that I would get a world of good from my trial package. Then, as if divulging a company secret, she whispered that I would probably get one or two invitations to spend a few free days at the resort during the year. She said that sometimes they called their best clients and offered them a free week so that the resort people could give them a "heads up" on new upgrades and new opportunities.
The 90-minute funfilled presentation took about three hours. Thirty minutes was taken up by the tour of the facilities. The rest of the time was spent fending off salespeople who had their hearts set on having me join their resort family. By the time I left, I was exhausted. And, I was not impressed with Piney Shores or Silverleaf Resorts.