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It Must Be True...I Read It On Facebook

I do very little on social media these days beyond posting pictures and videos of our travels, my kids and grandkids, and the critters in my yard. I have resisted signing up for any affinity groups, but I decided to do just that prior to our recent trip to Secrets Cap Cana. I forced myself to keep up with the posts, at least a dozen a day with many more comments on each post, until about a week or two after our return. At that point I couldn’t take it anymore, and I left the group. My IQ instantly went up at least 10 points. To be fair, there were a few good questions. Most had been asked and answered multiple times even in the few short weeks I belonged to the group, but I guess people who love filling posts with emojis and stickers can’t figure out how that Facebook search function works.

I decided to capture some of the posts that left me shaking my head the most, along with the comments. I’m also including the comments I wanted to post but didn’t. As you read these, keep in mind I’m not making any of this up. I couldn’t even if I tried.

The post: “Hi all…traveling from the UK. Can someone please tell me what travel adapters we need to bring?”

The response: “We just used our regular plugs.”

Note: Answered by an American about a resort that uses U.S. standard outlets. Real helpful.

The post: “I am from the UK and I brought an adapter to the resort only to find it (the adapter) is a three prong grounded U.S. plug. The plugs in my resort are two prong. Help!”

The response: “Just cut off the grounding prong…that doesn’t do anything anyway.”

Note: Reason 1 you hear of people dying at all-inclusive resorts under “mysterious” circumstances.

The post: “Looking for a bit of advice. Has anyone had problems with swollen legs? Any advice on diuretics? Looking into getting some delivered from a local pharmacy.”

The responses: “Electrolyte powder,” “Cut back on alcohol” (at an all-inclusive…really?), “Drink lots of water,” “Cut down on sodium” (not likely at this place), “Diuretics.”

Note: Reason 2 you hear about people dying at all-inclusive resorts under “mysterious” circumstances. I should point out the person posting the suggestion about diuretics, not a medical professional by her own admission, went so far as to recommend a specific diuretic that requires a prescription in the U.S. but was available over the counter in the DR. She even recommended a dosage…all without knowing the medical history of the poster.

The post: “What wildlife around the resorts…any lizards or birds around?”

Note: You are in a tropical destination…what do you think?

The post: A picture of a spider on the edge of one of the OUTDOOR sidewalks.

The response: “This is not a joke, I have severe arachnophobia & saw the tarantula post (it wasn’t a tarantula) yesterday. I’m freaking out & considering changing our vacation. I just can’t unsee what I saw. I forgot that most Caribbean spots have them. Can anyone tell me what type of spiders they’ve seen here 😬🥺😩”

The follow-up post: The original poster came clean and admitted it was a plastic spider. But so what? You are in the tropics and it was outdoors. I’ve seen spiders, roaches (big ones), snakes, geckos, and all other forms of wildlife. If a picture of a spider freaks you out, whether it is plastic or real, stay home armed with a big can of Raid. Which by the way is toxic to humans as well as the spiders you fear, so pick your paranoia or live your life. I choose the latter.

The post: “Bring your own Yeti cup. You’ll get a bigger drink.”

Note: Ummm…it’s an all-inclusive…you can have as much to drink as you want. They’ll even give you a big cup if you ask for it.

The post: “What happens if you test positive for COVID?”

The response: “You get to extend your vacation. I was hoping I’d catch it, but no such luck.”

Note: Words fail me.

The post: “When traveling with prescriptions meds and vitamins, must they remain in original containers or can they be packed in those Sunday-Saturday daily containers?”

The response: “Currently as of Monday, you had to pack medicine in checked bags on the way out of Punta Cana (airport). Just and (sic) FYI.”

Another response buried deep in the comments: “That has been posted several times here but it is not true.” They included a link to the Punta Cana airport’s security guidelines.

The post: “I saw a post on here about medications. It said you have to pack them in a checked bag when leaving the Dominican Republic. I hope this is not true. What if your luggage gets lost? Anyone know the answer?”

Note: Clearly someone unfamiliar with the Facebook search function. They did include lots of emojis and stickers in the post though.

The post: “Hi! We have a 5-night trip planned in November. Do you think 5 is enough or should we do 6? We will be staying at the resort and not taking day trips.”

The response: “Seriously? You’ve booked your stay and you’ve bought your plane tickets which are insanely expensive and only getting worse. What are you going to do with the answers to this question? What if someone says it is too long (which someone did)…are you going to cut your stay short and pay the penalties? What if the consensus is 5 nights is too few, but 6 nights is in the Goldilocks zone…just right (which someone did). Are you going to double the cost of your trip for that one extra night, which’s (sic) is what it would cost for the difference in air plus the extra day at an already fully booked resort?

The post: Do they have good cheese at this place? Not spending $1400+ unless there’s good cheese.

The response: Varied from “They have the best cheese in the world” to “Don’t waste your money.” My favorite response was “Cheese sucks.”

The post: “What is the tipping practice?”

The response: This question was posted about every other day and each time it turned into a tip-shaming flame war. A few long-time veterans of Secrets resorts tried to explain the resort policy that gratuities are included in your rate, and that although additional gratuities are welcome, they should be limited to examples of exceptional service. They went on to note that exceptional service does not include a bartender making you the drink you ordered, or the beach staff delivering it. That drew the worst of the flames from the flood of people slamming anyone who didn’t endorse their practice of leaving a dollar or two every time they ordered a drink, a 10 spot each time they sat down for a meal in one of the restaurants, and a $100 bill for the housekeeping staff.

My comment: I saw these tip shamers in action throughout our stay. They acted like they were in a men’s club throwing dollar bills at the strippers. They weren’t rewarding exceptional behavior, they were bribing the staff to give them preferential treatment. It didn’t work. The staff at Secrets resorts are highly trained hospitality industry professionals. They provide the same high level of service to all guests. They took the tips though. They’re not crazy.

Well…that’s about all I have to say about that. I know people turn to Facebook for a variety of reasons, and I understand how joining an affinity group in connection with your travel can help you get excited and learn about things you or your travel agent haven’t thought of. But be careful. Just because you read it on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s true.

(Originally posted on 10 Jul 2022)

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