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?


Cafe said...

AC..I hope after this scenario you would not be playing with Spice again? The treatment so many of us received was dispicable.

I say we disgruntled Spice masqueraders should petition to get some kinda of retribution for the lack of service placed on us for Carnival by the management of Spice Carnival.

They really were missing an ingredient or two!!!

Raeness said...

Wow....Trini needs more ppl like you!!

If people would stand up for their rights we wouldn't have to put up with nonsense and disrespect like that.

I've been reading some of Spice's reviews and ppl state that their costumes were shit but then go on to say that in the end it didn't matter because they had a bawl on the road...chupes. What rubbish!! Hard earned money paying for the better get what was advertised or something better.

1mauvaislangue said...

wee papa...that is drama...

these people real mad...

awaits part 3

Springmoon said...

@Raeness: dat is de ting self!!

AC, I cannot believe there is more to this! You should write an editorial and sell it to the papers: Why You Should Not Consider Playing with Spice in 2011.

Dragonstein said...

I have been reading yours and Saucy's blog for quite some time. It saddens me to know that this was your experience .

You see being in the mas fraternity for many years and having warned many about the dangers of certain persons and their organisations to no avail. I will state some things here that many should know if not stated already.

Spice it was said had to totally revise their catalog as per orders very late in the game as of late October or so. The odrers were screwed up!! yes screwed up and it was common knowledge that someone had to literally go to China to get their orders redone in a timely fashion!! Hence the Grinch could have told you about China and so on...

Now when making costumes and these errors occur ,whatever stock is left is what can be used to make said costumes. Obviously looking at your pictures the feathers used were badly stored and more than five(5) years old. Trust me my old uncle tested these theorems by leaving feathers out and so on...

As far as the band has money and does not want to lose money at all!! one is a figurehead that will pull people from their previous helm as a sizeable section leader in another big band. The viability of same is questionable as is management because also being a Southerner..some of the persons at the "helm" never knew their ass from their elbow before much less to run a band milady...

My hope is that you and many others who trust your blog do not fall into the pitfalls that many a modern band has. My concern is our culture an the hits that the integrity of same is taking as a result of nepotism,lack of professionalism,lack of infrastructure and overall segmentation due to dishonesty,stupidity and a host of other factors.

In fact many a modern day (stress on the modern day) bandleader is not worthy of the title as they themselves cannot design,materialise or conceptualise in any way a costume of any type and it is a shame indeed!!!!

A lot more information needs to be given to masqueraders before they choose. However the bain of the industry is the "Whatever " mentality ..there is more in the mortar than the pestle...

Respect due,le draco.

Indrani said...

Dragonstein, whoever you are standing ovation! Well said, Trinidad needs more people like you, I hope that people wake up and see what's going on with carnival before its too late and our culture is completely destroyed.

AC, really sorry to hear about your awful experience but kudos on the way you handled it. I have to say I played with Spice this year and fortunately it was smooth sailing from beginning to end. My Greece costume is still fully in tact and I mean all pieces 100% going strong no problems. So at the end of the day I have to say that Spice was fantastic for me, but they have $ht to work on and hopefully they can pull it together next year. Customers deserve better after all is not small change we spending on these costumes!

Carnivalcocoa said...

Dragonstein, I could shake your hand!!! True talk my dear. You are absolutely correct about certain persons credibility in the mas world.
I will go on to say that as I read AC's costume drama I had deja vu. I experienced costume collection mess when I played in Rocky's section in Poison. The road experience was no better. That was my ONE crap experience with Poison and I heard that after that the band asked him to leave. So when I heard that that man was in Spice I said no thank you, not me again. I scratched Spice off my list one time. Lord knows how many other amateurs and schemers are involved in that debacle. I held my tongue on this hoping to be proven wrong. Apparently leopoards don't change their spots.

And it's a CRYING SHAME that hard-working people's money are toyed around with like this.
I await part 3.

babydoll said...

Wow there's a part 3 to this drama. I hope things look up for you at this point. I'm thinking to myself can things get any worse...

ms. hershey said...

woi... there's a part 3 to this?! lawd AC, i really feel for you. there is nothing worse than paying your hard earned money, only to have people take it for granted as though they're doing you a favor. you've handled it exceedingly well though because i know that old grouch would have gotten cussed by me one time. LOL

afro chic said...

Yes there is a Part 3! I'm saving the best for last!

Springmoon said...

Buh, 'cuz, doh leave us hanging for too long, eh!

Dragonstein, I wholeheartedly agree! I remember when I was a child and my mother and aunts would play with Minshall, Berkeley, Harts, etc., the costumes would literally hold up to playing both days, then you had a swimsuit or a funky outfit to wear afterward, and the children could play with that costume and it would take real effort to destroy it. Now, you're lucky if your headpiece can stand up to the heat of a single day, far less for two!

shells said...

Echoing already posted sentiments ah know, but I did not realize there was a third part of this drama. AC: I am so sorry that you had to endure this sh!t behaviour. You handled it quite well, from your posts, and more masqueraders need to take that stance...from a principle of the matter standpoint.

@Dragonstein, whoever you are...very very well said.

Lisa said...

AC I applaud you for taking a stance. I am certain, I could not have done what you did. On Carnival Sunday thinking of not having a costume would have been enough for me to just take the bloody thing, as is, and leave!
Awaiting part 3.

Bizzie Chic said...

@ Dragonstein...well said.

My response--WOW!! This is crazy.

It's a shame when masqueraders are paying their money and we have to go through this. Then we are treated like they (band) are doing us a favor...haaa!!

AC, I would have hunt down the reporter who wanted to do the interview and submit this 3 or 4 part saga to joke!

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Afro Chic you are not the only one with complaints!

afro chic said...

I know I am not the only one Saucy!

Despite what is being indicated on the Spice Fan Page is saying, everything did not go well. I have heard stories from my family who played as well as friends.

Invisible said...

Part III? Oh my, I'm looking forward to reading this