A day on the beach path
KAANAPALI BEACH – What job here is the toughest? Aside from plantation work and cleaning, it may well be representing resorts and trying to stop passersby to tell them about vacation ownership options. Whether or not you agree with the concept, some of these tireless workers who stand in the sun all day and cope are fun to watch.
Timeshares entitling the purchaser to spend a week or more in a specific unit on a specific week of the year are still sold. The new trend, however, is vacation ownership, in which you buy points that entitle you to stay anytime at one resort for a set period or at hundreds, if not thousands, of other properties around the world.
One rep is a former teacher at Maui Community College, third generation on Maui, whose grandparents came from China to work on the plantations. Another is a relative newcomer who lost a highly successful business on the Mainland through no fault of her own and strives to build a new life in paradise.
Standing at kiosks, the representatives keep up a constant patter designed to get visitors to stop to talk story and sign up for a presentation inside a sales pavilion. Styles vary – one tries to get visitors to stop by asking a question. She talked so much the first year that she grew horse. Another, who uses a sense of humor, greeted passers recently with “Happy New Year!” and engaged visitors in conversation not only about vacation ownership but good restaurants and things to do.
One of the biggest challenges is being rejected all day. Although some passersby respond with a “good morning,” others ignore greetings and are sometimes downright rude, passing without a word. Not much aloha there.
It takes all kinds to populate a beach path, but one out of ten times, there is a conversation and a sign-up that entitles the vacation ambassadors a fee. Once in awhile, a visitor makes the rep’s day. “Thank you for your time,” one said to the ambassador the other day.
Recommendation: If you are on the beach path, especially if you live on Maui, at least say “good morning” or “hello” as a response when you pass a kiosk.