I had the worst Caribana costume pick-up experience this year!! I say Caribana costume pick-up because I've endured some pretty bad T&T Carnival costumes pick-ups but I will save those stories for another blog entry.
Anyway, costume distribution was supposed to start at 11:00 a.m. on Caribana Friday. Now, in my past experience picking up my costume on this day has always been a breeze. While its far from the pick-up day of choice, I've always managed to walk in, get my costume, check it over and leave within 20 minutes.
Well that certainly did NOT happen this year. I arrived at the mas camp around 11:45 a.m and I was handed a ticket by the security man waiting at the front door. As I entered the building imagine my surprise to find a crowded room of revellers waiting for their number to be called.
YIKES.....what is going on here?
I'll now skip through the hunger pangs, headache, deep sighs, and frustration to 3:30 p.m.
Finally number 530 is called!!!
So I make my way to the next room to pay off the balance of my costume. I hand over my receipt to the band leader, making sure to make mention of my displeasure with the wait I had to endure. It is at this point the dramatic music should commence........
As band leader checks over my receipt and tries to locate me in the computer system, a puzzled look suddenly appears on his face.
I quietly enquired, "Is something wrong?"
He asks, "What section are you registered in?"
dun dun dun......WHAT!!!!
This CANNOT be happening. I won't go through the entire exchange between me and band leader but this has to be every masquerader's worst nightmare. You go to pick up your costume, the day before the parade, only to be told you have no costume. You see, it seems that although my receipt clearly stated what section I wanted to play in, the individual who registered me in the band computer system put me in a different section altogether
But wait!! You may be wondering why I said I had no costume. After all, even though I was registered in the incorrect section, a costume must surely have been made for me. Oh no!! That section leader came back to report that he had no costume for me. And as for the section leader for the costume I did want......he too reported there was no costume made for me.
I was now on the brink of tears, my frustration compounded by the long wait I had already endured. Yelling and getting on, however, is not in my personality. Lucky for band leader!!
So continuing with my tale, I was promised by band leader that he would resolve the situation and I must say that he did. Somehow, the section leader was able to find a costume fitting all my measurements and a bag was created for me on the spot. Thank you Jesus!
I thought my Caribana was about to be done before it even started........
And now, reflecting on my horrible experience I know why I have not completely written off this band. The band leader acknowledged the mistake made by his staff, apologised and took full responsibility for the error made, assured that the situation would be resolved, and most importantly delivered on that assurance while keeping me calm. I also truly admire the artistry and concepts involved in their costumes and have always had a wicked time with them on the road.
I will however be re-addressing my concerns with the band in the hopes that measures will be taken next year to avoid these type of hiccups for me and my fellow masqueraders.