February 24, 2012 — I came across a recruiting advertisement the other day in a regional newspaper from a very well recognized company that is seeking timeshare “Sales Executives” or “Sales Professionals”, and a few words in that expensive ad that caught my attention were “Guaranteed Earnings” (“plus commissions”).
So here’s the scoop. About 28 years ago the Westin hotel brand started to market and sell intervals at the world renowned Ilikai hotel in Waikiki on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. They and their marketing entity (TMC Vacation Sales) ran advertisements in the Honolulu Advertiser seeking ‘professional sales executives’ and offered a base monthly salary of $1,800 (not a draw) plus commissions, bonuses and full benefits.
Adjusted for inflation, today that guaranteed monthly salary would be $4,193.72 and it began on day-one of a sales, product and industry training phase that was originally scheduled to take place— before the ‘marketing/selling began— over a 4-week period consisting of 40 hours per week.
In the advertisement that I came across the other day there was no mention of what their “guaranteed earnings” are. But if I had to bet the farm I’m pretty sure it would be one of those $10.00 per hour schemes paid for a few hours each day during ‘training’ and then perhaps once on the sales line those “Sales Executives/Professionals” would be ‘guaranteed’ the $10-per-hour based on a 36 hour work week.
The all-too-often dreaded timeshare word “benefits” was not mentioned in the ad, yet due to the name/reputation of the company that placed the advertisement I’ll assume that perhaps down the road (a very long one most likely) benefits may be available for those who ‘survive’ the inevitable ‘cuts’ (aka: “You’re Fired”).
But here is the rub. In that ad they suggest that they are only interested in “Sales Executives” and/or “Sales Professionals”; yet, to attract that caliber individual with the expertise level required the developer surely needs they offer, initially, what amounts to what a fry cook or dishwasher earns working the graveyard shift at a local and sometimes dingy ‘C-rated’ (low cleanliness/health) all-night diner.
Now I mean no disrespect to late night workers in the restaurant biz (or anywhere) because over the span of my life they’ve been my life-saver many a time in the wee hours of the morning when I was really really hungry, if you get my drift.
But for Christ’s sake, if nearly 30 years ago a developer could be profitable and pay (in today’s dollars) a guaranteed $25.17 per hour plus commissions and full benefits then whatzup with this $10 per hour unadulterated ‘low-rent’ “Guaranteed Earnings” for “Sales Executives” and “Sales Professionals”?
And to put that insulting $10 per hour and 36-hour work week into timeshare perspective, that means a “Sales Professional” and/or “Sales Executive” is only guaranteed, if she/he worked 52 consecutive weeks, a lousy $18,720 (gross) (which is below the poverty level for most families). That amounts to about the ‘average’ selling price of just one (1) timeshare ‘interval’ (week).
And for you big-dog very well compensated ‘Executive’ types at the very top of the heap who approved that ad— and who like to ‘crunch’ the numbers, lower commissions and bonuses, etc.— that means that ‘today’ your offer of “guaranteed earnings” is a whopping 60.2543720% lower than what was actually paid in timeshare land back in the early 1980’s.
Which of course begs this question for those ‘big-dogs’: Is your performance based salary that includes “guaranteed earnings” 60% + less than what your peers earned decades ago? I think not, but if that is the case then you, too, better start paying attention because there is something terribly wrong with this picture.
And don’t misunderstand me because all “Sales Executives” and/or “Sales Professionals” are in sales not for the salary but for the bonuses and/or commissions they can earn (plus benefits).
Nonetheless, a $10-per-hour guarantee in the biz is not only outrageous and insulting it reflects a sinister mentality that working folks the world over and in all industries have been enduring over the past several decades.
And that is that those who toil the fields, harvest the crops, work in the cubicles, answer the phones and are the backbone of all businesses and economies are being paid much less in today’s dollars than their peers of years gone by while those at the very top take home much more bacon, significantly improving the quality of their and their families’ health, wealth and lives.
So stay tuned folks. Next week, same Bat time, same Bat station for Part II of: ‘A Timeshare Race To The Bottom’. You may be enlightened and shocked so come on back and also spread the word because we’re going to get into some pretty gritty ‘stuff’!
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