The first thing I noticed about her was the shape of her eyes... or perhaps it was the color. In any case, the combination of the two, almond shape with a slight curve in the lower lid and the clear, pale blue color gave her the kind of beauty you might find in a fashion model. She was young, in her early twenties, and her clear skin and thin lips gave her a freshness and slight vulnerability that, for me, was entirely pleasant to look at. As we got to talking I noticed more and more the tilt of her head, her gaze and the slightly upturned corners of her mouth, altogether another expression of her youth and unchallenged confidence. Her husband was cordial but cautious. It's curious that the most outstanding thing about his appearance to me was his hair - the color and the way it was cut. Though stylish these days, it reminds me of the cut you'd get going to one of those infamous barber's colleges where a half-dollar would be the cost to you for a person to practice on your head. The sides were close, the top longer and combed to the side, but with nothing laying down properly - a slightly ragged appearance. This haircut done on an otherwise enviable blonde head seemed to me a mistake of fashion. This man's youth and reserved way gave me the impression that he hoped to remain in control of the situation by maintaining the proper bearing. His wife seemed to encourage him in this endeavor by certain gestures, including grabbing his hand and a manner she had of deferring to him, not out of any lack in herself apparently, but as the situation seemed to demand. The over-all effect was the two together saying to the world (or at least to me at the time), "We're in control".
"I have a list of items here that I'd like to read to you", I said using my memorized-by-route presentation, "and I'd like to find out some of the things you like to do. This will help me as I'm showing you around the resort, so that I can focus on the features of the resort that you would especially like." It was important we called it a resort, though most people who stayed here were camping, it did give the product we had to sell a higher value in the guest's eyes.
"Do you like swimming?" I asked. They nodded "yes" in a mildly enthusiastic way.
"Hiking?" Affirmative again. And so it went, through camping, water sports, horseshoes and picnics. They said "yes" more than not, but I had the sense they were humoring me along. "Liars", we would call them when we got to the breakroom after a tour - "they were stroking me" we would say, because often we were convinced they would buy, but there'd really be no interest except in the "prize" they had "won" by entering a drawing. Most everyone won a few days (no nights) at this or another resort - not a shabby gift by any means, though they had hopes of winning a trip to Hawaii or at least a 35-mm camera. It was less than two hours of humoring us guides, and most people could be reasonable about it. These two certainly were.
After the list of recreations, the presentation always took a turn - a fresh sheet of paper, a more obvious "sales" tone, and a little less question-answer, though we were trained to get responses from our "googans" (guests) at specific points in the presentation. I always liked this part; it felt like I was being up-front, saying in effect, "I want you to buy this, and I will try my best to help you make the decision to buy". It also was a time when I could get a clearer sense of who I was dealing with this tour. Most people would tense up here, and it was fun to bring them back to "my side" again. It was here where I began to sense a mean streak in the woman. She began to act a little like a spoiled girl, turning a little rude and demeaning. Fortunately she'd pull back from this attitude quickly, it would flick off and on, and her husband would pick it up, tense slightly, and concentrate harder on the conversation. It was clearly his duty to see that things did not get out of hand, but only if his wife didn't maintain the control she wanted.
"If this is something you would use and you find you like it, is there any reason why you would not become an owner today?" My question was a little disordered - "like" should go before "use" - but this was THE question, an end to one part of the tour, the start of another, most often a point of high tension and a qualifying question that most people would avoid. Rather than a "yes" or "no" I could expect something like "Well, we have to see it first". I was trained to ask the question again if I didn't get a direct answer, and it was one weakness in my style that I usually didn't. I'd let the pressure off immediately by closing my notes and rising, saying something to the effect of "Well, let's go see the property." With this couple the easier course was the one we took - an evasive answer and I let them off the hook right away.
There was a short video with a famous personality promoting the resort vacation plan and then the guests and myself got on the golf cart to drive around the property. I was working on automatic - they were not in the least excited by the possibility of becoming owners and I was just going through the motions because it was my job.
When I got back to the break room there were some of the usual questions from my co-workers about how it went and then the conversations went their own way again. Eight hours a day, five days a week we all showed "googans" around the property - if they bought, they were transformed from "googans" to owners. I sold to very few; the success of our star salesman was a mystery to me. With essentially the same raw material, he was selling, on the average, at least one a day. That put his income at at least $600 a week. He was attractive and enthusiastic, but he was also kind of bizarre. My age but immature, often silly, and a bit of a lush. He was fun to be with, and most of the people I worked with were. For a family man near forty years old, owning a house and two cars, I was having more fun than it seemed I was entitled to. In fact, there was a certain unreality to that summer. Odd jobs, all temporary and most part-time, involved working with various skills I had acquired over the years and with people one wouldn't normally have the chance to meet. This was all while living in an area of the country that people came to vacation at.