Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Spice Saga Pt. 3 - My Money Ha Ha!


So I left my brother and sister in law up at the Hilton to buy me a costume. I left my sizes and 5 preferred sections. I know they say beggars cyar be choosers, but as far as I was concerned I wasn't begging, I was paying. The bra size didn't matter to me that much cause I was going to strip it off and put it onto a corset anyways.

In the meantime I head home to finish off and package the few boots I have remaining for my friends who I would be seeing later in the evening. (Didn't go to Lara because of the timing etc so no review, sorry).

In between doing boots, I kept getting updates from my family who were up at the Hilton. The general report was utter chaos at the distribution centre with people coming back to exchange costumes, swapping sizes etc. One call I got said no bra in my size, a next report was only bras and no belt or accessories. After spending an hour at the Hilton and coming up with nothing, I told my brother and sister in law to come back home.

My sister in law was one of the lucky ones and was able to change her Isis Fl (which didn't have the feathers like in the prototype, and parts of the monokini glued and not stitched) to a Moroccan Heat FL.

So now it is about 6 o'clock on Carnival Sunday and I am sans costume. (Sans mean 'without' fuh de non-French people).

Imagine my level of stress!

Is Carnival Sunday.
6 o'clock.
No damn costume. None.
Money in meh pocket.

I think I went into shock and may have blacked out at that point cause I doh really remember much. I know I logged on to Fineahban to see if anyone was selling a Mumbai, Greece or a something. Is salt all over the place!

I finally resigned myself to having no costume and staying home huddled in a dark corner in my room on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Still had to meet my peeps for our annual Carni-Sunday lime so I packed up my boots for my peeps and made my way to the lime.

During the lime I re-tell my story much to the disbelief of my friends. Nobody could believe that I of all people, Miss Carnival herself doh have a costume. Anyhoo, one Coke on the rocks later, I get a text from my younger bro to call a contact in the Spice Distribution area. YAYYY!!!

I called The Contact and he said yes there were costumes but I needed to come up to the Hilton NOW. I made my excuses and buss it from de lime quick quick and made my way back up to the Hilton to check The Contact who ended up being the same Tee who I spoke with earlier. When we got up to the Hilton this time, the doors are closed and they are only letting in people 2 at a time.

I call Tee when I got there, and he comes outside to tell me that things are tight, but he took my information (costume, bra in any size etc) and goes back inside. Over the next one and a half hours my sister in law camped outside of the ballroom waiting for Tee to get me a costume, I saw several people walking outside with boxes of costumes. Tee came out at various times to tell me to hold on, he had nothing yet.

Eventually I realised that nothing was happening with this glorious hook up, so I stood up and waited to go inside the ballroom.

When the doors were eventually opened for the 15 or so people who were outside I made my way in. At this point in time all of the management and staff were there, Anya, Rocky, Senior Elias, Daddy Elias etc.

The PR of the band saw me and told one of the women there "This lady was here earlier when you are finished help her." The lady asked me for my measurements which I gave her. I made sure to tell her that the bra size did not matter, I would be ripping it off to put it onto my corset.

She goes to the back and less than 5 minutes later she comes back and says that they have nothing in my size. I tell her the size does NOT matter I will be redoing the bra. She says there is nothing.

I then ask the same PR woman and she tell me to hold on and she will have someone go look. I tell her the same thing, size does not matter.

During the 15minute wait, I notice the PR woman just milling around chatting with management and sipping coffee (water/juice/whatever).

In the meantime other people are being served and among them a girl next to me being served by one of the staff. The girl next to me is offered a Thailand costume in 36D which she refuses because she was not willing to pay more than USD$500 for a costume and the costumes were being sold at full price.

When she refuses the costume I ask her if she is sure she doesn't want it and she says no. I say GREAT! I tell the guy helping her that I will take the costume.

At this point the guy goes to the back for them to have the costume pulled.

I notice management speaking to him.

The guy comes back to me and says he's sorry but the costume is booked. :|

I ask him how could the costume be booked for me, but not for her? *pointing to the girl next to me*

The guy then tells me to hold on and goes in the back.

I turn to my sister in law who was standing there all along and ask, "What going on here? Is it that these people refusing to sell me a costume?!" My sister in law says to me "You know how long I watching them talking and looking back here."

I was infrickingcredulous. I went into shock again.

I ask the girl who was initially offered the costume that I was refused, if she would consider buying the costume for me then I would buy it back from her, she says no problem.

Then sense sets in and I tell my sister in law, "Yuh know wht, I doh need to play mas with this band. Let's go!"

Up to this point the guy who told me the costume was booked eh reach back YET!

Make your own inference about what happened, I chose to believe that Spice refused to sell me a costume. A willing paying customer.

I left Hilton super pissed and fricking upset. And no costume.

Carnival Sunday.
Money in my pocket.
Being blanked a costume by a band.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Spice Saga Pt.2 - Say It Ain't so Spice

Well I was going to return my costume to get my refund on Carnival Friday, but instead ended up going back on Carnival Saturday afternoon.

Anyhoo, fast forward to Carnival Saturday evening and I go up to Hilton by myself this time, with my costume box and goody bag, having left the backpack and headpiece in the car.

I see Miss Band Leader herself, but went straight to Rocky as instructed. I explained the situation to Rocky, letting him know that my preference was to switch sections, and not get a refund as I did want to play mas, and play with my brother, sister in law (who had her own Isis FL dramuh), and my two cousins in Spice.

Rocky told me that they could only do that the next day when they saw what was remaining after their overseas masqueraders had collected their costumes. I told him I understood that. He asked me what section I would consider for the switch and I told him Rubies of Mumbai, he said that should not be a problem cause there were lots of headpieces/costumes in that section, but I still had to come back tomorrow. I asked him if there would be a problem with me getting a refund if that was the case, he said no.

Feeling calm and collected, I left Hilton.

In between all this costume dramuh, I got a BBM from a friend telling me that someone at the Express/TV6 wanted to interview myself and another friend and fellow Spice masquerader (Isis FL again) about our costume strife.
When the reporter contacted me I told her I would not be willing to go on camera to talk about anything (camera does add 10lbs and all that), but I would be willing to talk to her once I found out what the situation was with the refund. They told me fine, they would call me the next day. I heard nothing further from them.

2:15pm and my sister in law with the Isis FL costume, my brother and I are up at the Hilton. As I head in the direction of the Hilton ballroom I see a TV6 camera crew, with some masqueraders outside chatting with them. It was only then I remembered about the reporter, and I figured they came to the source to get the info.

As I was walking by with the backpack on my back, the reporter shouted to me as I was passing, "Are you taking back your costume?"
Me: Yes
Reporter: Why?
Me: Cause it is not what was advertised...

I continued into the ballroom and did not stop to be interviewed by TV6. I put down my costume stuff, and went to Rocky who told me he could not accommodate me in any other section and they would organise my refund for me. I asked him if he was sure and he said yes and asked me for my receipts. I went to tell my brother that it did not look like I would be playing mas cause they do not have a costume for me.

While waiting on my sister in law to get through with her exchange, there was one person who my brother knew in distribution. He spoke with her and she asked me if I would take a backline costume instead and I indicated to her that at this point that was fine, I just wanted to play with my bro et al. My brother's friend who I will call Cee, looked and looked but could not get me costume in either Rubies, Thailand or Isis.

While she was looking for me I spotted a guy there who I knew who I will call Tee, asked me what was up. It was during my lil convo with Tee that the bandleader's mother, Elias Senior, approaches me and says, "I will be handling your are to come to me!"
She says this in a tone that I really did not appreciate and that get me hot one time.

I turned to her and said "That's fine, but at this point in time, I am talking my friend here, and when I'm done I will come to you."

Elias Senior says in her gruff ass tone, "Yes, but I am the one dealing with you so you will come to me."

I turn to her again and say, "That's great, but like I said to YOU before I am speaking to MY friend here and I will come to you when I am DONE."

After this interaction I told my brother I really did not care to play with the band anymore if that was the attitude of their management. I told him I would take my money and go elsewhere. My brother convinced me to hold on a while until his friend got me a costume.

It should be noted that the staff working in the distribution area for the most part were really trying to help out those persons who were there with issues, while Anya herself could not be seen.

Cee then came and said my best bet to get a costume would be to come back after 4:00pm which is when they would be selling off the costumes which had not been collected. I spoke with Tee who agreed and he told me that the best thing would be to take my refund and come back at 4:00pm to buy another costume.

I then went to Elias Senior who with great attitude did up a note on a piece of scrap paper indicating my section and the amount of my refund, then asked for some "witnesses" while she counted out my money. So she had her "witnesses" and I called my brother as a "witness" (rolls eyes).

After counting out my money the first time Elias Senior realises that she wrote up her paper with the incorrect amount and she had to do it over again. I counted the money along with her, they gave me a total of $5,600 (which she just left on the table and did not give me in my hand, which is a pet peeve of mine) and I opened up my wallet and gave her her $5 change. I didn't want nobody saying I owe dem nuttin at that point!

I then gave my brother some of my cash to buy a costume for me when 4:00pm came, as he had to stay at the Hilton as well with his wife for her to exchange her Isis FL.

I went home with no costume but feeling good that a costume would be mine by the afternoon period...

Stay tuned for The Spice Saga Pt. 3 - WTF Spice?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Spice Saga Pt.1 - Costume Collection

I was extremely excited when I saw that costume collection for my section was on the Wednesday before Carnival, no collecting costume on Carnival Friday for me!

Costume on the Spice Carnival website

When I got to the Hilton just after 4:30pm, I was met by Mr. Rocky himself who gave me a number and told me to have a seat to wait to pay for the costume via Linx. After waiting no more than 5minutes I went up to pay for my costume. When it was time to swipe, my husband (who was paying for my costume :D ) was unable to get through, as the machine registered an error with the transaction.

Unfortunately, because I had to get back to the office I could not wait around while they sorted out their issues with the bank and I left. Rocky told my husband that I could come back the next day to collect no problem.

Got back to Spice shortly after 12noon to collect my costume, this time with my brother who had to exchange his boardshorts in Adulis. Everything went smoothly, I gave them my cash and was then told to proceed to the next stop. The next stop is where the girl checks your receipt, makes uneccessary small talk, then directs you to collect your costume.

When I got my headpiece the first thing I asked the young lady who handed it to me was if this was the right headpiece. She said yes. I told her the feathers look very dull and grey, and she said yes, a lot of people are saying that. On a second look however, she noticed that I wasregisteredfor a frontline costume and NOT a backline.
I thought *whew* let dem backline BABES deal with that! Lo and behold, the extremely helpful young lady brings out the frontline headpiece and it's the same dull dirty grey looking feathers.

I got the box with my costume pieces which the young lady went through with me. Bra, belt (SKIMPY! and had to be exchanged, this was done with no fuss on the spot), arm. leg, neck (which was pretty lame) pieces. The thong I had ordered was not in the box and I got this exchanged on the spot as well, although this seemed to be a different colour to the bra, but no biggie cause it would be covered up by my belt anyways.

I then collected my backpack.

The same dull grey blue dirty looking feathers greeted me on my backpack. I was NOT impressed. My brother thought they looked dull but passable, but what do men know?

This was the costume I registered for in October last year.
This was the costume that I had obsessed about for weeks on end.
This was the costume that I done a wallpaper collage for as my desktop wallpaper.
This was the costume I had planned all my accessories, boots, bag, etc around. and they hand me this backpack, with these dull ass washed out dirty looking feathers.

Close up of the feathers on my backpack

So after I got my adjustments (gems fell off my bra and leg piece), got the ribbon for my backpack, I go to the next station to get my stuff checked and collect my goodie bag.

At this point I ask the lady who I later found out was the bandleader, Anya's mother, if she found that the feathers looked dirty.

She looked at me and said, "No they look fine, they do not look dirty to me, it is supposed to represent the sea you know."

I say "This does not look like what was on the website."

She says "It looks fine to me. The designer herself went to China and picked those feathers."

I then see Anya and ask her, "Anya don;t these feathers lok dirty to you?" Anya says no, they look fine.

Because my brother and 4 year old niece with me and we had already been there for close to an hour, I took the costume and went home.

After getting home, and taking the backpack out of the car, I notice that the backpack looks unfinished, as there are white spaces where it should be covered. I go to the computer and pull up the costume and of course, my feathers are not drain water blue, but a rich vibrant blue. At this point I feel so disappointed, people are texting and messaging me to find out how the costume is and I just tell them "Meh."
I took pictures of the backpack, costume pieces, and went ahead with finishing up my boots on time.

A little later that evening I took my entire costume back up to have it exchanged as I was really unhappy about how the costume had turned out.
On the way there with my mom I decided to keep the costume and just add the usual Afro Chic flair. I had already planned to buy gems to bling out the feathers and backpack anyways and hopefully that could give the costume a lil summin summin.

I ended up just exchanging my backpack for a completed one, this was done with no hassle and after that I made my way to Tulip to get some bling. Bling purchased, I was a lot happier when I got home, went ahead and finished off my boot orders.


Friday morning comes and I wake up thinking, you know what work hard hard hard, you pay for dis! So I decided to call someone at Spice to find out if I can switch my section.

I call the Spice number that I was given by Hilton and ask to speak with either Anya or Rocky. Lucky me I got the bandleader herself on the phone. I explained the situation to Anya and reminded her that I had spoken to her about the feathers when I collected the costume the day before.

Costume at the band launch

Anya explained that the costume on the website had been 'enhanced' which is why the feathers were a different colour. I asked if I could exchange my section, as I did want to play mas, just no longer in that section. Anya told me that was not an option, Spice does not switch sections. I told her then if that was the case I would like to get a refund on my costume as I did not get what was advertised. Anya then responded, "I doh handle dat. "
I asked, "Aren't YOU the bandleader, who else would handle it?"

She replied, "I doh handle dat, you could go up to Hilton and talk to Rocky, he up there now."

I said fine and hung up the phone.

At this point I was pissed off by her attitude and dismissive tone when she spoke to me and the fact that they were no willing to admit that an error had been made and own up to it.
It should be noted that before this I was just taking things real calm and trying not to go Hulk on people. I eh raise my voice or cuss or carry on. Yet.

I decided that after work I would carry back my costume and go "talk to Rocky." and this is when the real drama started...

Monday, February 15, 2010


Happy Carnival Monday to all!

Have a safe one and be sure to look out for my Spice - Costume Collection saga (yes,saga!), which ended with me playing with D'Krewe on Monday and Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Soca Pick Of The Week - Week 6

Didn't like this song when I heard it at first, but it grew on me. I hope Blaxx performs this tune for Soca Monarch!.