You should understand that at first I didn’t get excited. I’ve had my fair share of “All Aboard” phone calls with the horn blowing in the background telling me I’d won a cruise! But the thing is, I’d actually filled out a ballot at the Fair to win my choice of either a Harley or $15,000 cash. At the time I wasn’t sure which I’d like more… but the thought of a hog in my driveway puts a little thrill up my spine!
Admittedly, I don’t remember the ballot saying anything about about a trip to Florida and the Bahamas and he teased me repeatedly about not being excited about the “second prize”.
I’d been lying on my couch all day, struck down again with Pneumonia, but after quite a bit of work he’d convinced me I’d won. Then after a coughing fit, I got excited!
A trip for four to Florida and the Bahamas! 11 days, 10 nights… to be used anytime in the next year and I’m thinking… it would be AWESOME to take the kids away for February break. What a surprise it would be for them! Maybe I could even give it to them for Christmas!
He told me to get a piece of paper and pen so he could run through the details. Three nights at the Ramada Plaza Resort in Disney with tickets for four to the parks. Two nights at the Ramada in Daytona, two nights at the one in Fort Lauderdale and the remainder at the Island Calm Resort in the Bahamas. He then gave me the phone number of the travel agency that will arrange all the details and told me the complete package would be in the mail in about 10 days… and he rattled off my address.
My head was spinning of rental cars, hotels and travelling alone with three kids. You might recall how the trip to PEI went… but still… how delighted they’d all be to go to Disney! I was hooked.
Then things went a little funny. He tells me that there’s a small cost. $149 for the first adult, $149 for the second… and the next two people are totally free… but they have to charge a fee to cover administration costs. He continued on for a few minutes about the trip and then mentioned that I’d said I had a Visa… and could I tell him the expiry date.
“Nope”, I said. “I didn’t say I had a Visa. In fact, I don’t have a credit card at all.”
And that was that.
I sat there for a moment thinking we’d been disconnected and he’d be phoning back… but then I did a search on the Internet and apparently there’s quite a scam going on with this Ramada Plaza deal and the Ramada they talk about is not the same Ramada we’re all acquainted with. There is indeed a trip… but when you get to the hotel you find the room has “accidentally” been booked for only one night, the rooms are awful, the rental car is beyond gross and you’re out thousands of dollars trying to keep your family happy in Florida on a trip you never would have booked. There are hundreds of stories of vacationers who’ve fallen for the scam!
So I’m sitting here feeling rather emotional and let down. Wanting to take the kids on a vacation and feeling totally scammed. It’s probably due to the fact that I can’t get a deep breath and feel like crap. Or that I’ve been staring at the TV all day watching families be reunited with loved ones after months apart. Or that some asshole has no conscience and makes his living phoning people convincing them they’d won a trip then scamming them out of money. Or that I filled out a ballot to win a Harley at the Fall Fair and trusted that it was legitimate. Or that I’ve even begun trusting people at all.
Maybe… maybe it’s just that I’m tired of someone telling you they’d give you the moon and stars then finding out they fed you a load of shit.
And I could have really used a vacation.