February 25, 2011 — In the late 1990’s a felon named Larry (real name withheld) walked out of Folsom Prison outside Sacramento California and like most ‘cons’ he was facing a very bleak future as he began the laborious task of trying to fit back into the community, find work, etc.
Larry had been convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter and having served his time he found a very unforgiving society for what many deemed, in his case, was a miscarriage of justice, as that he was not guilty in the first place.
But Larry persevered and was able to hone a trade (auto mechanic), find work, met a nice gal and eventually married, had a son and daughter and within five years he and his ‘bride’ opened up (not the real name) Larry and Sally’s Auto Repair Shop.
As usual, the first couple years of their new business was rough going but they made it work and at the end of the third year treated themselves to a vacation in Lake Tahoe, Ca. that originated from a telemarketing call they received and that required them to attend a timeshare presentation.
And yes, they became owners, etc. but that is not the story here. The real anecdote is that although Larry (and Sally) was able to purchase a timeshare it is extremely unlikely that the same convicted felon would have been able, by ‘law’ or company policy, to become a timeshare sales rep (instead of a mechanic).
It seems okay, and I’m fine with it, that felons can ‘purchase’ a timeshare but in most cases developers won’t hire them or they won’t be granted a license (where applicable) to sell timeshares. But that, as Paul Harvey might have said, is not the rest of the story…
There are millions of Timeshares owners (just in the USA) from all walks of life and excluding some developers who do ‘credit-checks’ I have yet to read or know about any ‘background’ or ‘drug testing’ required of consumers prior to them purchasing.
In the USA it is estimated that at any given time we have 2.3 Million of our citizens incarcerated and although most are not Charles Manson types, I suspect if he or someone of his background got ‘out’, had a job, met those ‘qualifications’ to attend a timeshare sales presentation and whipped out the old credit card, the ‘morality-police’ would not jump in and prevent the sale from occurring.
And if that is correct and anyone who has been convicted of being (e.g.) an ax murder, an arsonist, a pedophile, a drug pusher, a domestic violence abuser, etc., then whatzup with all the anal retentive hiring practices in our industry?
Of course I’m no attorney but from a lay-person’s perspective it seems that there could be grounds to at least challenge state licensing agencies under the portion of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits, in part, discrimination by state institutions: that the states must apply law equally and cannot give preference to one person or class of people over others.
Of course that isn’t going to happen, but at least the developers could lighten up a little because if they’re willing to openly embrace the likes of the Menendez Brothers into the timeshare owners community then they ought to at least establish a ‘Second Chance’ policy for those who may have done the crime and served the time.
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