For once a travel agency has made me stop in my tracks. For the most part I avoid staring at their ads because, A) I can never go on these trips and that gets me depressed and B) I don’t have the money to go on these trips, which deepens the depression. And since I like to get home feeling about as good about life as I possibly can, and not drop kick one of my guinea pigs out of sheer frustration, I pretend they don’t exist at all.
But this time I took a second look, and not because of the terrific prices being promoted, 1,000€ to spend three jet-lagged days in New York, but rather for another related but odd detail. The duration. It was really a 3-day trip to the Big Apple, but this is how the agency put it: 3 nights and 5 days.
Now we all know that these special offers love to bend the truth a little becasue they always tack on the extra day even though your flight may be departing at six in the morning. But this time, the company seemed to be challenging some of the greatest laws of physics.
It didn’t take long for me to figure it out, but, still, I did have to mull over this wonder of time-space travel for a few minutes. This is what they were getting at.
Day 1 – Typical Spaniards arrives at Barajas, gets on flight and arrives at his hotel some time in the evening just in time for a dinner and a collapse from exhaustion.
Day 2 –New York, New York, New York
Day 3 –New York, New York, New York
Day 4 –New York in the morning…JFK airport and departure forMadrid.
Day 5 – Plane lands in Barajas. The typical Spaniard says NYC is the greatest thing since the invention of tinto de verano.
So, Day 5’s itinerary involves landing at an airport at 7:00 a.m. 3,000 miles from Central Park and probably going to work like an utter zombie. But at least it’s included in the price. So, the purported “five days” really turns out to be two full days, one evening, and a little over a morning, dominated by the the stress of being booted from the hotel and making sure you get to the airport on time. Sounds like fun.
Was this a clever piece of marketing to get people to do what I was doing? A cheeky attempt to make the holiday seem lengthier? Just plain stupidity? I was originally inclined to believe the second option, then considered the first only to end up at the third. But only for a while. Then I inched back to the second choice again but am still eyeing the first.
But that is what publicity and deceit can sometimes do so effectively. They make you forever wonder what the hell is going on and cause you to doubt even your strongest instincts. And suddenly you don’t know what you believe in anymore. And the notion that something like that ridiculous ad could potentially be proof that there are a lot of people out there who a much smarter than me, disturbed me.