Vegas is for Winners

I accompanied my husband to a conference in Las Vegas this past weekend. After my husband’s morning meeting was over, we found ourselves with a full Saturday ahead of us. We talked about what we wanted to do, and settled on finding out about the Cirque du Soleil shows. As we were walking toward the box office at our hotel, a woman stopped us, asking, “Do you want to see a Cirque show tonight?” She had read my mind. Yes, yes, I do! I thought, yanking my husband back to learn more.

“It’s a timeshare presentation,” he whispered. “Keep walking.”

Ten minutes later, we were signed up for a 2 p.m. presentation at a nearby hotel. My husband was not pleased. “What else do we have to do?” I said. “And plus, we get a free show. We are winning.”

At 2 p.m. we were on the bus to the timeshare presentation. A friendly woman sitting across from me struck up a conversation as we rode away from the strip. She was from Alabama. She, too, wanted the free tickets. We were all escorted to a large waiting room, told there would be absolutely no leaving early from the 90-minute presentation, and were offered coffee. I accepted. “See?” I whispered to my husband. “Now we get free tickets and free coffee.” He rolled his eyes, still not believing we were winning.

The woman I had been sitting next to on the bus began looking through her purse and took out a small packet. She tore open the top and started rubbing the lotion on her hands. It smelled good, like lavender. She saw me looking and motioned to her purse. “Do you want a sample?” she asked. “I sell these essential oils and they are wonderful. Any stress or tension or pain — you’ll be amazed. Here, try the mint. You just need the tiniest drop for this one.”

I tore open the packet and began to rub it on my hands. I had some leftover, so I put it on my arms and legs and even on my temples and neck. “Wow, that stuff is strong,” my husband said. My eyes started watering.

We were taken back to individual rooms where the timeshare sales presentation began. The mint oil and the small space were not a good combination. The sales person walked in and her hand went to her nose. She glanced around at the window-free space and looked slightly panicked. She opened the book to explain the program and quickly began flipping through pages to show us different luxury destinations we might want to visit. After five minutes, she coughed and exclaimed, “Look, you’re not interested, are you?”

I leaned toward her. “It’s OK, keep going. You were saying we could go to Aruba, was it?”

She looked toward the door, “No, I get it. You can just go. Just go…I have a headache…please.” I detected a hint of pleading in her voice.

Five minutes later, we were holding our tickets. Thirty minutes later, we were back at the hotel, where a quick shower removed most of the mint. As we settled into our seats, I reached out to hold my husband’s hand. He whispered, “Your hand still smells like mint.”

“That’s not mint. That’s the smell of winning,” I whispered.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.