by Derrick Chapelle

For many people, today’s economic downturn means the days of taking a family vacation are long gone. Getting time off of work (if you are still lucky enough to have a job), having enough funds to travel and finding someone to take care of your dog while you’re away can be frustrating!

Tired of seeing your bosses’ pictures of all the fabulous vacations they have been on?  Are you sick of seeing high rollers roll out of town on three-day weekends with boats and ATVs in tow?  Are you sick of Facebook friends of friends posting pictures and making comments about their exciting trips to Europe?

Well, worry no more!  At Short Budget Vacation Travel (SBVT) they understand that EVERYBODY deserves a family vacation no matter what their bank balance says! SBVT has a budget vacation for everyone!  With vacation plans starting as low as $5.00 and ranging upwards of $20 per person, taking a vacation just got much more affordable.

With Short Budget Vacation Travel, you don't actually have to go to Paris to impress your friends.

With Short Budget Vacation Travel, you don’t actually have to go to Paris to impress your friends.

How does SBVT keep its rates so low? Downsized Living news correspondent Jill Brittner did some digging. Here is a short transcript of her interview with Jack Johnson, CEO of SBVT:

Jill Brittner: Isn’t it true, Mr. Johnson, that your customers don’t actually physically travel anywhere when they book a vacation through your agency?

Jack Johnson: Yes, our customers don’t physically go anywhere, but they have the time of their lives planning their trip and then sharing their Photoshopped pictures with their friends and family. It’s not hurting anybody!

Jill Brittner: You are admitting that your company is a sham?

Jack Johnson:  If you call making peoples’ vacation dreams come true for a fraction of what a real vacation costs, then call it a sham. But we have a 100 percent customer satisfaction rate; how many travel companies do you know that can produce those kinds of numbers?

Ms. Brittner was going to track down thousands of SBVT customers until she found 39-year-old J.R., who was willing to speak to her anonymously. “Yeah, I’ve booked three or four family vacations through SBVT over the last year.  All of my Facebook friends are totally jealous of my vacations! I even posted a picture of myself and my 5- year-old-son climbing Mt. Fuji last summer. They couldn’t believe it,” he said proudly.

So there you have it. SBVT is sweeping the nation! But the company does more than just Photoshop pictures of you and your family on luxurious vacations. Sales agent Mindy Tyson said, “We have a plan for every family! Our premium vacation plan includes tweets and Instagram photos at no additional charge. You can really make your dream vacation a reality.”

All Downsized Living blog posts are fictitious and satirical. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental and unintentional.

Image credit: iStock Photo

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by Jason Brick

John Dresden, a master carpenter with the Union Brotherhood of Carpenters Chapter #231, was pleased yesterday to receive a job doing framing, paneling and custom cabinets for a 17-room mansion overlooking Lake Placid, New York. The job came after 11 consecutive months of unemployment.

“I’m so glad to have the work,” Mr. Dresden told reporters in an interview Monday. “After the housing and credit crashes, nobody was building homes. We’d burned through our savings and credit cards. My wife works part-time at Walmart, but that and the odd jobs I could pick up really weren’t cutting it. Thank God for Luther Martingale.”

Mr. Martingale, a retired real estate broker on the boards of several international lending banks, agrees. “I love Lake Placid Lodge. It’s an exclusive resort with the best powder in the region. The rooms there are spectacular, but it can get a little crowded during peak season. My kids and I needed a home away from home for our ski vacations.”

Construction of Nightingale, an 8,000 square foot mansion, will bring at least 100 jobs to the Lake Placid community.

Construction of Nightingale, an 8,000 square foot mansion, will bring at least 100 jobs to the Lake Placid community.

The mansion, called Nightingale, covers 8,000 square feet and includes a 14-car garage and state-of-the-art gaming center. Nightingale’s principal value lies in the more than $3 million its construction is pumping into the local economy. “Of course, I’d like a bigger house,” Martingale remarked. “But times are tough these days, and there’s always that new tax law Congress keeps threatening. Rates on capital gains could increase to almost half the rate of payroll tax. Still, it’s worth it. Sometimes I just have to get away from Manhattan, and my other home in Hawaii is too far away.”

Union leader Troy McNeill is happy about the 100 jobs the project is providing to the community. “The mansion’s construction employs as many as 20 carpenters at a time. Most make the union scale of 19 bucks an hour, but the detail work on Nightingale’s cabinets and staircase is high-end. Those guys get $25 an hour, not including benefits. That’s what teachers make around here.”

John Dresden plans to resume payments on his 1,200 square foot ranch-style home near a water treatment plant and hopes to stop selling his plasma. “I might even be able to stop borrowing money from my parents,” he said, teary-eyed with gratitude at the new opportunity. “Dad’s had to delay retirement for a few years because of the market crash, and even longer from helping me out. I’m just so glad for Martingale.”

Mr. McNeill couldn’t agree more. “It’s just great to see one of those people I used to call fat cats giving back to the community. You don’t get much more of that anymore, you know?”

Check out the Downsized Living website at http://www.downsizedlivingmag.com!

All Downsized Living blog posts are fictitious and satirical. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental and unintentional.

Image credit: iStock Photo