Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Restaurant Vacation Contests

When you see these contest cards near the entrance to a restaurant, just leave them on the rack.   At best they are just a crappy come-on, at worst, an utter rip-off or scam.  Click to enlarge.

I saw this card in a restaurant the other day, next to a plexiglass fishbowl that was half-full of completed cards.  Apparently, a lot of people think they are going to "win" a vacation to the Bahamas.   They aren't.

This card is at least up-front, with no fine print on the back.   In the old days, many of these cards would have fine print on the back saying you consented to signing up for a long-distance service or other telephone add-on plan, by filling out the card.   You think you were entering a contest, when in fact, you were being "slammed" with a long-distance service - an expensive one, too.

This one didn't have "fine print" on the back, but pretty large print on the front, and it was pretty humorous to me.  If you fill out this card, you are automatically a "winner" and you "won" a "Free Bahamas Vacation" (in quotes) and all you have to do is pay for the airfare, transportation, hotels, and resort fees and taxes.  The "vacation" is free, just the getting and staying there you have to pay for.

In other words, you have to pay for the whole damn vacation.

It is a pretty funny come-on promotion, to be sure.  They are just harvesting names and later on will call you (and call you) and offer to sell you a vacation.

Is the vacation a good bargain?   Well, I don't need to call them to find out, because the way it is marketed tells me all I need to know.   They are implying (but not saying) that you are entering a contest and if you win, you will get a free vacation.   But it is not free, you have to pay for it, period.

I find it also humorous that they have, at the top, "THIS IS NOT A TIMESHARE - Your Name will NOT BE SOLD!" as people are already wise to the "free cruise" scam which is just a cheap cruise to the Bahamas, that you pay the "port fees" for (and thus pay for the cruise, basically) and they force you to sit through a three-hour timeshare sales presentation before you leave, or worse, while on the boat. 

At least it isn't that!

But I think that any of these deals offered in the vestibule of a restaurant are likely to be shitty deals.  Even putting your business card in a bowl for a drawing for a "free meal" probably will never result in said free meal, but rather your name being added to a mailing list or sold to someone.

Contests are usually a waste of time to begin with.   Contest cards at a restaurant?  Just walk away!