Apparently, Country Comes with a Price

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My husband and I recently signed up to hear a timeshare pitch at the Wilderness Club at Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri with Bluegreen Vacations & Outdoor Traveler. This package was offered to us at the new Bass Pro Shops in Little Rock. We had never sat through a timeshare presentation, but we have friends who do it regularly just to get all of the free stuff. This particular package offered us Bass Pro gift cards, so we gladly signed up.

The timeshare presentation wasn’t as high-pressured as I expected. Our assigned sales guy was extremely nice and not like a typical salesman at all. A different person gave the main presentation to a group of us, and he was quite entertaining – very funny. We then went with our assigned salesman and toured the Wilderness Club property, which included anything from a studio to a cabin – all of which were lovely.

After our tour, we were offered the base of 12,000 points for a whopping $28,800. Gulp! As if the price wasn’t bad enough, you get 10 years to pay for it at 16.99%, but they required 20% that day. Once we said our initial “NO”, the “finance guy” came in the room to discuss “other options”. They presented three different plans at that time – 10,000 points, a different 12,000, and a 15,000 points – all at reduced amounts per point – so reduced that the original 12,000 point offer was now $20,000. This made me sad for those folks who said yes immediately.

Needless to say, we did not walk away with a timeshare property that day. It’s just not something we would spend our hard-earned money on. The timeshare pitchman kept trying to remind us of all of the memories we have with our families while on vacation. I suppose that’s true, but my favorite family memories come from laughter in spontaneous, goofy moments – not from an out-of-town itinerary. Vacations always make me tired and homesick.

After our presentation, we finished our trip by spending four days in Branson. It was nice only because we weren’t at work, but that’s about all we can honestly say about it. The theatrical shows were too expensive in our thrifty opinions. I’d rather spend $120 on a decorative something for our home that reminds us of the trip than $120 for two tickets to a show that may or may not be worth watching. The flea markets didn’t really seem all that flea ridden either. Most items in them were brand new. The sign above one item actually read, “Antique Looking Door”. It wasn’t an antique door – just painted to look that way. We have a few old doors in our fruit house (where we stored our home-canned veggies) that are older than I am. I could dust one of those off, paint it, and actually have an antique door for the price of a can of paint. Their door was almost $200!

My husband attended school at College of the Ozarks in Branson. Of course, that was more than 20 years ago; but he was really surprised at how touristy and pricey Branson had become in that amount of time. He was really disappointed. It seemed so strange to pay such high prices for things that are so common to us. I just refuse to pay $7+ for a pint jar of jelly, jam, or preserves. The same can be said for “homemade” quilts. We don’t own a quilt that’s not homemade by either my step-grandmother or my mother. I have the knowledge, recipes, and patterns to do all of this stuff; so paying money for it just seems odd to me.

However, there were people from other states who were cooing over some of the same items we scoffed at. I suppose it’s all about perspective. People were buying quilts, jelly, fudge, etc. It honestly made me want to set up shop somewhere and start selling my family’s wares. Who knew that being country was so chic now? However, I still believe folks should be cautious of buying such things at tourist traps. Just because it’s sold in the Ozarks doesn’t mean it’s authentically country. On the way to your tourist trap destination, find a small town where the locals sell such things. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the quality and the price.

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