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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes

Chalk One Up

Coming in July 2008 from Algonquin Books:
The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World

For info about my upcoming appearances, interviews, readings and more, check out The Dinner Diaries website here.

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So last weekend we're at a festival in glorious Newburyport, Mass., and suddenly I've given my name, credit card number, home address and email to a comically cheesy salesman sitting under a white tent. That's when Andy, who's wisely chosen to stay out of the fray, leans in to ask, "Will you sell all of that info?"

Salesman: "That's a great question!" Then, solemnly, "Remember, this is [major hotel chain] we're talking about." (On the drive home, still stunned by my impulsive and strange behavior, I will spot a seedy-looking motel from the road with [major hotel chain's] name on it. Andy will reassure me they have their upscale properties too. I will be filled with remorse.) So answer the question. "We never sell anyone's information." We'll see about that.

[Major hotel chain] hooked me with the promise of a cheap winter vacation, something I crave every year. Have you tried going south from New England during February vacation week? It's thousands of dollars, twice as much as the weeks before and after, and no, I won't take the kids out of school for a different week.

Anyway, the only caveat of this cheap(er) vacation is that Andy and I will have to spend "90 minutes" (which Marketing has obviously decided sounds better than "an hour and a half") in a sales presentation for a time share. Normally I don't even bother to laugh at this sort of offer, but that day, something happened - I can't explain it (aliens?) - and I - just - did- it. I paid, upfront, for a one-night trip to - downtown Boston. I didn't even go for the warm winter vacation, which is what I was focused on, like laser. Wha' happened?

Andy tells me to have no regrets. I wonder why, instead of offering post-frenzy platitudes, he didn't just stop me altogether at the point of purchase, but truthfully we both know he had to stay out of it. This was my alligator to wrestle to the ground, or something like that. In part, I figured I've never let myself get hustled, and shouldn't I do that at least once if only for the life experience? Besides, I'm still secretly hoping it turns out to be the best vacation we've ever had, because if they're trying to sell us something, they have to treat us well and live up to their good name and not post my credit card info on their website.