We had reached the Goa International Airport after the flight that landed 20 minutes late from the scheduled time. Hordes of holiday makers that were leaving the sweltering heat of Delhi with children to destinations across the country as schools and colleges had closed a week earlier. Within minutes of landing we were zipped across the salubrious, ever green glades to Candolim in the hotel cab that had come to pick us up! After checking in we relaxed for about an hour and then decided to go out for a short walk as soon the sun would set! We had barely walked a 100m when two young men walked towards us and asked us a few questions in a very friendly and polite manner and enquired if we would like to attend a presentation to mark the anniversary of the hotel they were representing. On showing our disinterest they pulled out a sealed envelope akin to the ones the banks use to send the PIN number of ATM/ Credit cards. The duo assured us that it was a lucky dip with no cost or commitment. Reluctantly, I broke the seal and it turned out to be a 20% discount on any meal in the hotel that was located nearby. Next a similar envelope was handed over to my wife and after some glib talk they made her open the sealed envelope. There was a sudden buzz of excitement as the contents indicated that we have won either a DSLR camera, or an Apple I Phone, or a LED TV or a 7 night 8 day holiday package. All that remained was to scratch a card below but in the presence of the hotel team. The only condition was that we would have to attend a presentation for an hour and had to be less than 60 years old, in possession of identity proof and also carried a credit/ debit card from leading vendors like Mastercard/ Visa. As we had nothing much to do, we agreed and were taken in a waiting taxi to the venue. I was keen to see what happens now, more than in the gifts that were promised and how the events will unfold. Within minutes we had reached the hotel, where we were greeted by smartly attired men and ladies and after some initial verification of antecedents asked to sign a paper saying that we were under no obligation of any cost or commitment. That being done we were ushered in a big hall swarming with people and agents. It resembled like a gambling area where game of poker was in progress. Tea and coffee was ordered and next a young manager of the company came and joined us and asked us a few questions of our background, how, when ,where, we had traveled before and where we planned to go next. He pulled out different brochures and how they had tied up with some global chain of hotels where we could stay for peanuts comparing even with present stay! We could become members for 25 years for unlimited holidays and everything else just short of promise for a moon! Having generated interest, and asking us of our willingness he next called his senior who explained us the dynamics of cost and comparison with rival schemes! The best was yet to come. If we availed the scheme on the same day we would have to shell about Rs 200000 which could be either lump sum or part payments spread over 18 months. I told him that we needed about 5 minutes to make up our mind and asked him a few inconvenient questions for the first time! He then told his representative to show us around the property to impress us what we stood to lose if we did not avail of the offer. On return when he asked us again of our willingness I told him that I needed some time! Next their Managing Director stepped in and tried to better the offer by reducing cost to 75000/- for 5 year trial with all terms remaining same and we could pay in one year time. Only, we needed to sign the agreement the same day or else the scheme would not be available the next day! I told him bluntly, that I did not take financial decisions on the spur of moment even for things that cost Rs 5000/- so expecting something this big was impossible. Now, it was his turn to throw up his hands and tell his team that they were worthless who could not find the right customer. Still, they scratched the coupon to announce that we had won a Seven Night/ Eight Day Offer in their chain of hotels valid for one year! Let’s see what really lies in store as we came across many such touts the next days of our stay at places of interests offering such trips and memberships intimating it was the last day of the offer!
PS- 1. Image Kind courtesy Google
2. Thanks to Yatra.com and Indiblogger for this holiday and all the lovely readers for their support