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12:40pm on Saturday, 27th December, 2008:

Second Choice


Ah, that post-Christmas, pre-New Year period when all of a sudden the holiday industry lurches into action. This brochure arrived in the post for me today:

As you can see, it is for me — it has my name on the front. OK, so nothing special there — companies have long been doing bulk mailings where they fill in names from a database. This one is printed in high quality on card, though, which is unusual. Also unusual is that it's not just fill-in-the-name, but a fill-in-the-whole-brochure. The second page begins:

It then has pictures of our hotel and Paphos, where we stayed in Cyprus two years ago, and has some offers to welcome us back there. Of course, if we want to expand our horizons, the next page starts:

Hmm, but maybe Turkey isn't exotic enough? Pages 4 and 5 have:

Mexico, Maldives and Cuba: I haven't been to any of them.

It's followed with a list of special offers for holiday flights from Stansted, which is a nice check on our address (we flew from Luton when we went to Paphos).

All in all, it's quite impressive. Sadly, it's based on a fundamentally flawed premiss: that we went to Cyprus because we like baking on a beach all day long when we're on holiday. We don't: we actually went to Cyprus because we wanted to see the sights. Turkey, Mexico and Cuba all have sights (maybe the Maldives have, too, but other than "soon all this will be under water" I think there are maybe other places I'd want to go to first); however, the hotels suggested are for beach bum holidays, not for culture vulture holidays. We're the wrong stereotype.

First Choice may offer "hand picked desinations all round the world", but in this case at least they've been hand-picked by computer...

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).