(About a 3 minute read)
“What’s that?”, I asked, pointing at a large billboard we were passing on the highway.
“I couldn’t read it in time.” Suzanne replied from behind the wheel.
“It said something about a hot spring called ‘The Well’. Ever hear of it?”
“Take the next exit South.”
It was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, and there were almost no other cars in the parking lot as we pulled in. A sign announced that The Well was “clothing optional”, which meant nudity was permitted, but not required. Another sign gave the admission prices. Child. Adult. Senior. No pets.
“Let’s go check it out”, I said, but Suzanne immediately objected.
“It’s fifteen dollars each. I don’t have the money, do you?”
“Nope. I’m as broke as you, but I at least want to take a look at what’s inside the fence. Come on.”
Inside and off to the right was a huge swimming pool. Off to the left were a couple of buildings, one of them labeled, “Office”.
No one was in the office, but there was a bell on the counter. Suzanne rang the bell. Five or so minutes later, a casually dressed, pleasant looking man appeared from a room behind the counter. He cheerfully greeted us while tucking his shirt in. “Sorry to keep you waiting. I was napping and had to wake up.”
“No worries. This is Suzanne, and I’m Paul.” Then — for reasons I’m not sure of even to this day — I surprised myself by spontaneously adding: “I’m the vice-president and Suzanne is the events chairperson of a Colorado Springs social club. Recently, our membership has become quite interested in the prospect of taking a group trip to one of the Colorado’s fine hot springs. That’s why we’re here. To gather information about your pool so we can present it to our members for a vote.”
I turned to Suzanne and gave her my biggest, widest “please, please bail me out of this” grin, because I had abruptly run out of ideas about what to say next.
For a moment, Suzanne looked back quizzically, confused. My heart began to sink with the thought that I’d lost her. Then suddenly I saw understanding rush into her eyes, along with a grin just as big as mine spread like a wildfire across her face.
She quickly turned to the gentleman, “That’s right. We’re very interested in your pool. We’d also like to know if you offer group discounts for ten or more people. And of course, we’d like you to show us the springs so we can describe it to our members.”
The gentleman, whose name turned out to be “Gomer”, looked pleased. He told us a little bit about the history of The Well — a crew drilling for oil had discovered a deposit of thermal mineral waters instead. Then he asked what kind of group discount we were looking for.
“Fifty percent off”, Suzanne said.
“Fifty percent?”, Gomer replied. “Tell you what. I want your business so I’m going to do you even better than that. Two-thirds off for ten or more people. I guarantee no other hot springs will give your club a deal like that. How does that strike you?”
“Very competitive”, I replied, “Very competitive.” Gomer wrote down the discount on the back of a business card, signed it, and handed it to me.
“Would it be alright if we take a look at the pool now?”, Suzanne asked.
“Why not do more than look?”, Gomer said, “Take a free dip. It’s on the house today.”