The first 5 days of my Kauai stay were spent at the Grand Hyatt. It was a bright, shining example of what customer service can be. But this post is about what happened after I left. I moved on to the Westin because of a targeted offer that sounded great ($649 for 5 nights, car included, and 5,000 Starwood points tossed in). The catch was that I needed to go in for a presentation about the Westin Vacation Club. I’d done one of these types of things before and they have always been pretty pleasant. This one, uh, was not…
I meet the guy and he’s literally looking at me like a boxer sizing up his opponent. I didn’t know if I should smile or put up my gloves. Apparently friendliness wasn’t his thing. Pretty strange since the meeting was taking place ON A TROPICAL ISLAND. I decided I should be honest. I told him my goal wasn’t to waste his time but there was no way I would be a buyer. I explained, “Obviously you have a job to do and I respect that. Just wanted to be direct about my situation. I travel with miles and points so this type of thing isn’t for me.”
I glanced up. The expression on his face was as if I had said “Aliens abducted your dogs and stole all of your money.” The man was staring at me like he was about to start screaming, chanting, and/or twitching. I looked around to see if anyone was in the room. Was he going to call me a loser? Throw a pineapple at me? Strike me with a flip flop? I mumbled something about knowing he had a job to do and part of that was to keep me there for a certain amount of time. He started his pitch and I was patient even though this guy was working on the world’s best Hannibal Lecter imitation. In fairness, he seemed new and was clearly an awkward fit in that job. The problem is that he was also rude. It wasn’t a subtle rudeness. There didn’t seem to be any boundaries. He didn’t mind getting personal. And he kept asking me what I was doing there if I wasn’t interested. When I say “asking,” I mean he was interrogating me like a slightly less intense Denzel Washington in Man On Fire. Obviously, I was there because of the offers SPG sends out. For some reason, this dude kept trying to push me emotionally. Not as a salesman, but as a man trying to get a reaction from another man. Was he trying to sell me vacations or ask me to step outside at high noon? Imagine the tone of someone laughing at another person without actual laughter. Then imagine a pair of dead, unblinking eyes trying to stare into your soul. That was the highlight of the afternoon.
I assume this was all part of his “game.” I kept explaining (more like begging for forgiveness) that I agreed to be there so I’m keeping my word. He kept saying “cool” every time I spoke. The tone of his “cool” was kind of Ivan Drago-ish. As in, “I must break you.” At one point, I made the unforgivable mistake of looking at a text message and he snapped at me asking sharply if I needed a minute. I told him my grandfather was very sick (which was the truth) and he said “cool” in an exceptionally cold way. You probably had to be there for it, but that one was so rude it was jarring. He was looking for a reaction. This was more psychological warfare than Westin presentation.
At that point, I was done being easy on him. Everything was very adversarial with the guy. He asked me to imagine how I would use the property if I bought, but I was done playing along. I told him “I will stay here until we’re done but I’m not going to be playing imagination games with you.” Then I stared into his ice cold eyes and he must have sensed I was done with him. At that point, he skipped his conclusion and pulled his supervisor in who…I say this with no exaggeration…looked like she just got off her shift at the Vegas Crazy Horse. Apparently he was the bad cop and she was the happy ending of this twisted game. Luckily, she was competent, knew I was ready to be done, and got me out of there.
Obviously, I don’t like rude people. This wasn’t salesmanship. It was rudeness. When he shook my hand to say goodbye, he sarcastically added “Thanks for coming in for something you had no interest in” and sneered as if I stole his son’s Christmas Tonka truck. I left quietly shaking my head and realizing that he had sucked all of the aloha out of my day. I’ve been to this type of thing before but have never experienced anything close to this. In case it isn’t clear, I don’t recommend going to a presentation at the Kauai Westin.