Yes, I’m going all freshman English on you assholes and opening up an article with a definition.
Colonialism – The establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous population.
Technically, America doesn’t practice colonialism anymore, but that’s just because America doesn’t exist. Somewhere between drinking gin in speakeasies and Tang in outer space, we became ruled by companies, companies that were too big to fail, too big to prosecute…too big to even slow down. Their perpetual growth is carried by the sheer, unstoppable momentum of capital and investment. These institutions are brilliantly constructed factories that convert the labor of the masses into the luxuries of the few. The sweat of men mixing cement or women changing linen is funneled into an elaborate 3D printer that shoots out seventy foot yachts for the wealthy.
Recently, I went to one of our most beautiful colonies located at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. I’m speaking of the the Westgate/RCI Colony of course. On ancient maps, it’s referred to as Cabo San Lucus. It was here that my cousin and his lady friend persuaded me to attend a time share presentation in order to receive a free snorkeling tour. It appeared to be a great deal, as it was only supposed to last seventy minutes. Plus, there would be a free breakfast buffet, which is kryptonite for three hungover American tourists. I thought we were really fleecing these rich assholes, until it became apparent that we were engulfed in a lake of slime and filth so vile that it would tarnish every amenity promised to us.
What Happens At A Timeshare Presentation:
The first thing you notice is that as soon as the presentation begins, all of the Mexicans disappear, and you’re now dealing only with the white people. Brilliant move because white people feel more comfortable buying from other white people. Thanks to racism, this is one job the corporate overlord couldn’t outsource.
Will, our sales associate, came over and met with us. He was a gangly, mid-20’s asshat from Dallas who looked like he was cut out from a business casual ad with dork scissors. He was equipped with all of the artificiality and feigned humanity you’d expect from a salesman. Every question he asked, however personal, was pointed at gaining some type of advantage into selling us empty space between walls.
When you buy a time share, you are not buying anything tangible: you are buying empty space between walls that you can use for a short period of time. You’ve purchased the freedom of movement inside a certain volume of air that is surrounded by the remnants of wealth, someone else’s idea of status, the illusion that you’re amongst the elite, that you’re automatically having a good time. And this particular space, just as hollow as Will’s personality, contained about 10,000 cubic feet of nitrogen and oxygen that you could use for one week out of the year for the grand total of twenty three thousand dollars.
But that’s not the lens in which the 10,000 cubic feet was intended to be viewed. First, we were taken to breakfast. We dined on bacon, eggs, and fresh fruit while sipping coffee on a veranda that overlooked the ocean. Will made small talk, aimed at trying to gauge our interests, estimate our value, and get a feel for our lifestyles. I imagine he thought all of this would come in handy later. The average person tends to let their guard down while chewing on bacon.
We were then lead into a sample unit. I guess it was nice. My cousin, a man of impeccable taste, was being a dick just for the fun of it, “I don’t do white appliances, so this won’t work for me…so sorry.” Each statement put a little skidmark inside Will’s pleated khakis. He soon realized that his morning was going to be as wasted as ours.
We were then taken to the penthouse. It had a dome ceiling and a hot tub, so the Floridaman in me was really impressed. I searched all over for the waterbed, but it must have been in a secret room you can only access by knowing which candlestick to pull on. I started to notice something while on the balcony overlooking the beach. The beautiful sandstone and granite rocks at the tip of the cape, separating the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific ocean, seemed like a mere affectation of this convoluted sales pitch. These mountains didn’t appear majestic anymore. They seemed like props. I started to feel really icky. I was not looking at the real Cabo. I was standing in the real Cabo.
We were then taken to the top floor of another building. We walked into a big room with glass walls on three sides. Again, we were treated to free drinks and panoramic views of the ocean. There were about two dozen desks; on one side there was a family, and on the other was a salesman. I used my best paranormal psychic voice to whisper, “A lot of evil things have happened in here.”
This is where Will quietly stepped aside. Being fairly new, he was still a peon in this world. He quietly sat in the corner like an obedient dog while a middle-aged women sat down in front of us. Her charm had been sharpened over the years, edged out on middle class rubes who arrived on vacation but departed in debt. She started talking about price and points and fees, but the three of us just kept insisting we were not interested.
Suddenly, someone would ring a bell, indicating a sale, and the entire room would erupt in applause. The salespeople would initiate the clapping, but all of the families would soon join in. It’s a great psychological trick. Clapping is contagious. You don’t want to be the only downer in the room not clapping. Sometimes the family purchasing the time share would even stand up and take a bow. This was beyond sleazy marketing or fabricated festivity. This wasn’t ten dollar body shots or the plastic joy of an office birthday party. This was something far more sinister. It was like watching telemarketers rejoice while suffocating kittens inside the lobby of a payday loan.
“See, they’re going fast!” the lady said. “You want to get in on this before they’re all gone.” We told her no. She asked if it was the money. We assured her it was not. “It’s always the money!” she pleaded, “If you have the money, then it makes total sense for you to get in on this! You guys are really missing out. I don’t want you to miss out!” She was puzzled that we didn’t just give her twenty thousand dollars. I mean, she was just trying to help us. Why wouldn’t we let her help us?
And here is the catch, they wouldn’t even accept the entire amount. If they did, they’d have to pay Mexican taxes on it. She was requesting a down payment of ten grand that day and would expect the balance to be paid when we were back in the United States of Corporate Tax Breaks. Yes, let’s funnel as much money away from Mexico as possible. We shall exploit their labor and natural beauty until even our pets have their own time shares, but we shouldn’t let any money flow into the hands of the Mexican people.
She then performed some incredibly presumptuous math that made it look like if we bought a timeshare, we’d be saving money in the long run. We again declined. Suddenly, her tone changed from gentle to incredulous. “Why did you even come here then? Why did you even waste our time? Why won’t you even consider it?” She demanded. We were over three hours into a seventy minute presentation, and she sat there pompously J’accusing us of wasting her day.
This lady went from charming to logical to altruistic to incredulous before finally pretending we victimized her. When she saw her guilt darts were not working, she turned her scowl towards poor gangly Will, quietly sitting there in agony. “Where did he lose you?! What did he do wrong? You can tell me.”
“Well, he made me uncomfortable when he opened the oven in the penthouse and said that you could fit a lot of Jews in there.” I almost replied, just to get that dipshit fired. Instead, we said he was a good boy. I kind of felt bad. These timeshare salesmen, however vapid they appear, are just replaceable cogs caught up inside the 3D printer of rich toys.
She was persistent that Will must have did something wrong. He sat there the entire time, within earshot, being scrutinized. Maybe there was a puddle of piss on the carpet under him. I didn’t check. I was waiting for her to say, “If you buy a time share today, you can tie Will to a palm tree beat him with a pipe wrench for fifteen minutes…no, twenty minutes! I’m serious, what’s it going to take? You want to stick a pencil all the way into his ear? Wanna watch me do it? That can happen, today! Just sign, please!”
We finally made it out of there and were given a document and instructed to wait in line to sit at a table and sign our names. I’m not going to waste your time describing the labyrinth of resort-dwelling bureaucracy we got caught up in. That would be cruel. Instead, I drew you a diagram.
I had the distinct feeling we were getting dicked around. It wasn’t until I studied the drawing that I saw how huge the dickening was.
We decided against heading back to the resort for our “free taxi” and elected to walk over the mountains to get back to our hotel. Even then, we couldn’t fully escape the long arm of the sale.
To put things in perspective, I realize I spent the last 1,500 words complaining how a time share company controlled five hours of my life. Now I’m going to try and illustrate what it’s like when these same companies control a whole lot more of it.
The citizens of Mexico don’t live on the beach. They’ve been priced out decades ago. They are bused in just after dawn. The hotel workers, in pressed, spotless uniforms, amble briskly through the remaining corridors, filtering quietly into their respective hotels, weary not to wake any sleeping guests. The construction workers find their way into the sites of newest projects. They get busy erecting the hotels and time shares that their sons and daughters will inevitably work at. This is the economy here. You get a choice of working construction or the service industry. In many ways, it’s not much different than many parts of the United States. However, we can afford to visit their colony, but they will never see ours unless they risk federal detention centers and dying in some desert. And even if they make it here, they’ll be subject to the same mistreatment, or worse.
Cabo can be a really fun place, but you have to accept that you will be reduced into a walking dollar sign everywhere you go. That’s the North American burden, and if you complain about it, you feel like a jerk because you could be on the other side, reduced to begging drunk tourists to go fishing on your boat or delivering drinks to spoiled teens while referring to them as “sir.”
That said, we had a great time, but we learned to stay away from the time share/resort scams. This colony is best enjoyed by hiking in the mountains, relaxing on the beach, or underwater. But even then you have to be careful….