You always know you’re on the Carnival homestretch when there’s gridlock traffic throughout Port of Spain all day for no reason; the “freshwater” and dem with their “pum-pum” shorts, blond weave and leg tattoos in El Pecos talking loudly about they want the “cyah-lah-loo”; and costume collection for the various Mas bands starts. Yesterday was our turn to collect our Tribe costume at Movietowne POS.

Costume collection is always a scene especially when you go during “foreigners week”. In my experience with various bands, there have been issues during collection since Adam was a boy. This year was no different.

First let me commend Tribe on the positives. The Movietowne location was much better suited for collection in terms of comfort. There was adequate parking, an air-conditioned waiting room, comfortable seating, quick and easy check-in, friendly and courteous staff for the most part (one security was taking his job way too seriously) and a bar with complimentary drinks.

This year Tribe implemented a new collection system. The way I envisioned the system was supposed to work was that you would check-in, get an electronically printed ticket complete with a barcode and go to a waiting room. Your number would go to the back where they would organize your costume and have it at the distribution counter. Once your number comes up on a screen you would be directed to go make a payment or straight to collection depending on whether you were owing or not.

Yeah…it didn’t quite go so smoothly. The problem was that all of this requires a lot of bandwidth, a reliable internet connection and a fast wireless router. From the delays they were experiencing it seemed like their internet provider was supplying them with a dial-up connection. All that was missing was the “bing-bong hrrrrghghhh eeeee” noise. Apparently, the internet also kept going down which sucks for Tribe because it was the day a loud mouth like me was collecting.

Tribe also tried an appointment system that appeared to be a sham, a sham! I should have known something was up when I told them I was early for my appointment and they said that it doesn’t matter. Good thing I wasted my data downloading that appointment app.

However, Trinis again. People made appointments then showed up when they felt like it. Some even came on a different day than their allocated section and then upset they had to wait.

Then there was the insanity that was the number system. Numbers were coming up in strange orders on multiple screens. Some dude was reading out what seemed to be the same numbers over and over. I swear I needed to assemble a team of mathematicians and an Egyptian pyramid guru with an Apple i-abacus 10+ to decipher the code of how these numbers were rolling.

Some time later we were informed that they were having technical difficulties with their new system. I thought to myself “this never happens when they write your number on a piece of paper in the Chinese restaurant”.

After a couple hours I got concerned because I had Tuesday on the Rocks tickets. At one point I figured Kees woulda have to come meet us in Movietowne ballroom to do his concert.

To make a super-long story short-er this collection fiasco set in motion a chain of events that due to my other personal commitments resulted in me having to sell the tickets. That’s ok though. I’ve seen Kees so many times this season I could do his set and probably hit more high notes than Iwer.

The people I felt for was the freshwater who aren’t accustomed to life in the third world. This one naiive lady thought asking if there is anyone she can speak to because she had an appointment hours ago would make a difference. Lol must be a newbie.

To be fair, some of the issues were beyond Tribe’s control. For instance, Tribe had no idea that Trinis would congregate by the bar and disrupt the distribution. Well, maybe they should have because there are few things Trinis like more than freeness.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t give Tribe too much licks for yesterday’s debacle as I was told by numerous people that the system worked smoothly the days before when the longest wait was 20 minutes. I must just be lucky I guess.


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