By Jim Twamley
It was late in the day and we had been driving since morning. We were looking for a place to spend the night and continue our journey the next day. As we were driving along at about 55 miles per hour we saw this sign. Wow! Camping on the river for only ten bucks a night. I thought that would be nice, so we drove the additional six miles past our turn-off to find the RV resort.
We were met at the entry booth by a young woman who informed us we could indeed stay for $10 a night for three nights maximum but the catch… we would have to sit through a one-and-a-half-hour sales pitch to join this membership park.
We didn’t have the time or inclination to sit through a high-pressure sales presentation so we declined and went to a free overnight camping area. What I didn’t appreciate was the blatantly deceptive advertising and the fact that I wasted the fuel to go 12 miles out of my way. The deception lies in the “small print” located in the lower corner of the sign. I’ll admit my eyes aren’t good enough to read this small print while driving past at 55 mph. They suckered me, and I didn’t like it at all.
I wouldn’t want to belong to a park system that stoops to this kind of “bait-and-switch” advertising. That said, some of these park systems can be worthwhile as long as they remain solvent and they offer tangible benefits to their members. They can be quirky requiring rotation of stays, transfer limits, and a laundry list of rules and regulations requiring a law degree to understand.
Overall, I am not a fan of membership parks but I know many other RVers who use them. Just be very careful and be as informed as possible before signing up for one of these resort memberships. You also need to be aware that some resort park systems use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to sign up. Caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware,” applies in this instance.