Tuesday
Dec082009

Seasons Greetings from Branson! Want to buy a Timeshare?

Most days, I drive by both the Grand Crown and Spinniker Sales Centers near the Thousand Oaks Complex. Judging from the overflow parking lots you would think that they might be giving away "Timeshare Vacation Property".  A closer look reveals that most of the vehicles are not SUV's from nearby states, but are clunkers driven by nominally employed young locals hoping to get $9 an hour sans manual labor.  These "telemarketers" gather daily and make 200+ obligatory phone calls reciting professionally scripted pitches touting free vacations to our magical little town.  Perhaps Charlie the math whiz on the TV show Numbers could calculate more accurately, but my rough multiplication suggests that during the last 15 years every home within 1000 miles of Branson has been called, about 4 times.   I have heard from more than one seasoned "telemarketer" that some prospects have "free toured" as many as 10 of the 30+ "resorts".  From the 100 million visitors during this period, a modest less than .3%, have opted to "tie the Branson knot". This is shorthand for "contractually obligating one's self and his/her progeny to annual prepay the cost of a Branson vacation until Jesus returns". This is shorthand for "what happens when one becomes the owner of a "timeshare unit" with open ended maintenance fees and in perpetuity deficiency judgment provisions.  Thank you to these 250,000+ altruists who signed up to forever fund our rich little Ozark town.   Merry Christmas!

Saturday
Nov212009

Terminating Branson Timeshares/A New Profit Plan

Branson's aging Country Music Celebrities are not the only Legends here in the picturesque Ozark Mountains. Indeed, through the boom years, much of their show business success was due to the lesser known timeshare sales legends.  You cannot find a Branson local who does know a story about that friend/neighbor/relative who "made a killing" selling timeshares.  In tandem with the "entertainment legends" these Porsche driving, Rolex appointed, fast talking "Vacation Consultants", made Branson what it is today. But alas, as the economy weakened, even the best of these "hard sell ninjas" just couldn't get Fred & Martha to contract, in spite of the singing/dancing/lodging/golf/food.  But then a funny thing happened as the "Vacation Consultants" were on their way to the unemployment lines.  They realized that those 100,000's of "timeshare owners" converted during the golden years were now desperate to unload their prized "week 32" to get out from under the obligation to pay maintence and special assessment fees.  Being savey "Vacation Consultants" who had routinely overcome the dubious economics objections of timeshare investment, they knew full well that there would be no secondary commissions to be made in the resell market.  Ebay validated this insight by offering up pages of "no bid" owner offerings on every timeshare project in town.  What they came to understand, as counter intuitive as it might have seemed, was that their past customers who had paid $5k/20k to own a timeshare would now be willing to pay $1k/$3k to disown their timeshare.  It might not enable the "hard sell ninjas"  to keep their Cabin Cruiser or Rolex, but for now, the Porsche is safe!. 

By the way, where are all of those disowned timeshare units going?

 Guess!_________________________

Saturday
Nov212009

Branson's One God, One Nation, One President 

For six decades, I been accustomed to seeing the United States President's picture being displayed in public buildings supported by tax dollars.  Not so, here in Branson, the "God & Country Mecca" for America's emboldened fundamentalist.  Each year 9 million+ of the faithfully find their way to our celebrated Vacation MegaTown.  They bring their Visa Cards and their Extreme Christian Values.  We locals appreciate both, and in our own quiet way pay tribute to the politics that, "as best we reckon", produced our bounty. In tribute our new City Hall Complex offers but the one displayed "presidential likeness"........yes, it is  "W".     

Sunday
Nov012009

Come To Branson and See If God Likes You!

The Fall Creek Extension has now been open a couple of weeks and there is some good news and some bad new to report.  The bad news is that virtually no drivers are using the multi-million dollar road.
 It has previously been reported that we locals who circumnavigate "the strip" everyday have yet to figure out what confused assumption led to building the road. Further,  there is no chance that tourists will over a three day stay  find this up/down or down/up connector useful.  The good news is that so far the few who have driven the road have seemingly met with God's favor, in that neither of the two "ROCK CACHES" has released yet.  Actually, I have driven the road several times just to assure myself that it's not yet "my time".  I TOOK THIS FROM THE PASSENGER WINDOWIf you seek verification that your still "good with God", come on down and drive the road with two caches of 10 ton boulders precariously perched 100 feet over the road.  If they don't release, you will feel good.  If they do, you'll never know it, but you "will" make the evening news.  (Click on the photos for a close-up).    

Tuesday
Oct272009

A "TeenChick" Bell Curve

All teenage boys, save a few really dorky ones, classify teenage girls into three catagories based exclusively on appearance.  The percentage numbers follow a bell curve distribution such that only about 15% are considered "hot", only about 15% are judged "untouchables", and of course the 70% majority populate the "normal" group.  At some point before age 30 these same boys will succeed in subcatagorizing each "teenchick"group such that everything will not come up roses for all "hot chicks" nor will life be but a sad little affair for all "untouchables".  A few in both catagories will migrate up or down based on unforseen physical changes and many will shift up/down the gradient based on personality which is to say, a combination of intelligence and values.  Throughout history, it's interesting to note that for every "teenchick" generation, as time passes, the shift from both "hot" and "untouchable" to "normal" is many times greater than the shift to "hot" and "untouchable".  The explanation is that very many "hot" teenchicks, from there high ego state, fail to develop mature personality traits, while very many "untouchables", utilize their more isolated teen status to build mature personalities.  Indeed, it is but a rare few of the "hot" teenchicks that are able to stay the course through their season of adoration and build attractive personalities.  Those forever "hot" few that do stay focused on intelligence/values become the model for the next generation.  Those who do not are destined to know the lifelong trials of "normal" or the anguish of "untouchable"