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I’m Taking a Poll

What is your reaction to gifts that you either don’t want, don’t need, or don’t like?

As a child, I had a grandmother who LOVED to buy us dresses.  Every Christmas and Easter, she would go to the Ugly Dress Shop and purchase for my sister Bean and I the most horrible creations ever produced by the early 70’s designers.  The dresses were always itchy, uncomfortable, God awful patterned monstrosities that sometimes actually fit us.

My mother had no trouble telling us how butt ugly these dresses were.  But she told us AFTER we got them home, away from my grandmother.  My mother never made us wear the dresses, but when my grandmother gave them to us, we had to be polite, be gracious, thank her, and act as if she were handing us an original Dolce and Gabbana couture collection gown.  So we did. 

It was that way with any gift we received.  If it was something we didn’t want or didn’t need, my mother would help us find someone to re-gift an item to.  If it was something that didn’t fit us, it would get passed on to someone that it would fit.  But NEVER did you tell someone you didn’t appreciate the thought behind the gift by telling them to their face that you didn’t want the gift.

Well, apparently, this particular lesson was lost on my husband.  He sees absolutely NO problem with telling someone to just give him cash for an occasion (which we were NEVER allowed to do in our house), or telling them once they’ve given him something “Thanks, but I don’t want it.” 

I cringe everytime someone gives Jim a gift.  I think it’s so rude to show anything but appreciation that someone has taken the time and effort to purchase something with you in mind. 

So, someone tell me I’m right!  Those that side with Jim will have access only to my blogs about bad restaurants, boring movies, and rotten kids.

Carnival Vacation Club Update

A very gracious reader made a comment on a previous post I made about the Carnival Vacation Club, which you can find here – http://skamarakas.com/anna/2008/08/05/carnival-vacation-club-the-little-engine-that-couldnt#comment-618 .  It reminded me that I had not taken the opportunity to update the situation with the club, or the cruise we ended up taking using the Carnival Vacation Club points that my in-laws purchased.

Let’s just say that there won’t be much business from our family coming towards any incarnation of the Carnival Vacation Club.  To begin with, salespeople wearing Carnival Cruise Line uniforms pitch this program to you, and every piece of documentation features the Carnival Logo.  But this is NOT Carnival.  If you try in any way to get satisfaction for the disaster that is the Carnival Vacation Club through the cruise line, they will not be able to offer you any assistance.

My in-laws used their points to book a trip for 7 of us on the Grand Princess.  We jumped through hoops to get people to call us back, to address issues, to fix problems.  We called the vacation club, we called the cruise line, we called Carnival, and left more messages in hopes of getting return phone calls than we could keep track of.

The free airline certificates that were promised to my in-laws never materialized, and the resort vacations were so limited in availability and location, that they were completely useless.  The cruise ended up costing them all of their points, plus additional thousands of dollars, but the insult in the whole thing is the fact that the cruise could have been purchased for less money in cash than in what was paid for in points.  Even the guy on the phone at the vacation club cautioned us not to buy more points to cover the additional passengers, warning us that it would be more money to buy the points than to pay for the cruise outright.

It’s nothing but a scam, and the fact that Carnival has accepted money to allow these people to use their name, their logo, and their uniform is an embarrassment to a reputable company.  I don’t know what is being pitched now to unsuspecting, happy cruisers, looking for a bargain and a way to enjoy a discounted vacation in the future, but beware.  Don’t sign anything until you’ve done your homework – and that should convince you that your signature is way too valuable to put on any Carnival Vacation Club documents.