Friday, September 21, 2007

Reno, San Francisco and the Big 3-0; Part III

Okay this story is taking longer to tell than I thought it would so I’m going to try and get done. When we woke up on Saturday it was raining pretty steadily, and we had planned on taking a boat tour of the bay so we were a little disappointed. Luckily the rain had mostly stopped by the time we got downtown. We couldn’t really complain because the weather had been beautiful the whole time we were there so a few sprinkles were okay. We finally got our cable car ride, which we took to Fisherman’s Wharf. We bought tickets for the tour and then we had an hour to wander around pier 39. Because of the rain we didn’t see as many street performers as we had hoped, but it was fun nonetheless. There is an area at the pier that is sectioned off for a bunch of sea lions. They have these wooden slats that they hang out on, and from what I saw, they don’t really do a whole lot. It’s against the law to feed them, so they must have to go out and find food once in a while, but it seemed like a small area for so many animals.

Our tour went under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz a couple of times and over to the Bay Bridge. It was interesting to hear some of the stories, and to get to see the view of the city from the bay. The construction of the Golden Gate Bridge is amazing, even more so when you think that it was done 70 years ago. They had worked on the project for four and a half years before there were any fatalities, which is amazing, because I recently found out that when construction companies bid on jobs they allot an amount for fatalities, at least in Las Vegas. We also found out that some of the guards at Alcatraz lived there with their families and their children would take a ferry to school everyday. I don’t think that is an environment I would want to raise me kids in, but one of the guards stories pointed out, at least you knew who was good and who was bad on that island and you couldn’t say the same for the main land. The tour was fun, but pretty cold for us desert dwellers.

After the tour we were going to take the cable car to Chinatown and walk around before we had to get to the airport. On our way we were stopped by a guy trying to get us to go listen to a 90 min. presentation. He didn’t tell us what is was for, but we figured it was for a timeshare. We told him we only had about an hour be fore we had to go and he said that was fine, “you can just watch the 20 min. video and tell them you aren’t interested.” We could get $150 cash card so we figured why not. We get to the presentation and there is no video and when we tell the guy that we have to leave by 4:00 (about an hour and 40 min from when we sat down) he said that definitely wouldn’t be enough time and usually it can take 4-6 hours. What the?!? He decided to do us the “favor” of trying to get through it quickly because he knew this was something we were really going to want. This wasn’t our first time at the races and we knew there wasn’t anything he could say that would sell us, but we wanted to get some souvenirs so we listened to him for a while. About 40 min. into the spiel (double the amount the guy on the street said we had to give him) I asked what the upfront cost would be. He pointed to a number that he had previously written down that was $2,500. I told him there was no way we would be able to put that much down today to which he replied, “Then why did you come up here, you knew what it was about.” Duh, we were there for what everyone else was there for, the free gift. We told him as much and he said, “You said you were willing to listen to a 90 min. presentation, so basically you’re just stealing.” I was done. This guy was starting to get rude and I told him I didn’t want to waste his time and I was ready to leave without the money. Chris asked what we needed to do to get the gift cards, so the guy continued to talk about how over 40 years we would be spending over $90,000 and wasn’t $2,500 a small price to pay to save a lot of money over the years. I told him we weren’t spending $90,000 that day so $2,500 still seemed like a hefty amount. He again told us we knew what we were coming to. The burden is on the sales people to change our minds, nobody goes ready to hand over a check. He told that it was just sad that we needed the $150 so much and he just seemed to get more and more agitated. At one point he asked, “How are your kids going to feel when their friends tell them about the great vacations they went on and your kids just have to stay home.” I just started shaking my head and said you have got to be kidding me. I was actually laughing, because I could not believe those words actually came out of his mouth. That line would make me laugh for the rest of the day. I told him that I honestly never remember being jealous of my friends vacations when I was growing up. He didn’t seem to believe me and asked where I went to school. So after insinuating that we were bad parents by not purchasing this time share, commenting on how he spent $4500 a month for his 600 square foot apartment and still managed to pay for this vacation plan (a gibe at how we managed our finances) and throwing in another “I just think it’s sad”, Chris said, “look I don’t appreciate you judging her.” (because the guy was talking mainly to me). His response, “I already have.” Then he walked off to get the person who would give us the gift cards. We were furious! This single guy with no kids has no idea what it takes to take a family of six on vacation, even if we had a timeshare and he is trying to judge us! We got a little checklist before the presentation of what these people would do for us. Among them were “treat you with respect” and “no high pressure sales tactics”. We met with his manager and went down the check list and he had failed every point on the list. Chris even said, “He’s lucky I’m not the fighting kind, otherwise I would have been over the table.” I thought it was sweet he would fight for me. The manager seemed appalled at the way we were treated and apologized. She also told us that was the second complaint she had received on that guy that day. We did finally get our money, but I tell you I feel like it was hard earned.

We were still going to try and make it to Chinatown, but it took forever to even get on the trolley, and then were packed in like tuna, so we decided it would be safer just to get the car and go to the airport

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