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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Smart Card….Smart idea?

So by now everyone who is on TRIBE’s mailing list should have gotten the long awaited email detailing the procedure to apply for your new TLC cards which have been upgraded to “Smart Cards”. Though the majority of the email was giving instructions on who is eligible for the “Smart Card” (which from the looks of it is everyone who ever played with TRIBE) with details of the Smart Card’s benefits still to be revealed I did pick up on a few hints of what is to come from this sentence:
“This card will be used for years to come. In addition to giving you priority registration, this card will be used as your electronic ticket to any TRIBE event and also qualifies you for discounts on specified future events.”
What I gather, and I may be wrong, is that this “Smart Card” will be your ticket to TRIBE’s fetes and all holders will get a discount on the price of such events. While the premise of this sounds very cool, no more paper tickets, I would like to see additional benefits attached to the Smart Card such as gym discounts at specified gyms in Trinidad, discount at “healthy” eating places such as Subway restaurant and a discount at Samaroos as well!!

Since this will be your card for life I do have a few concerns; what happens if you loose the Smart Card; will the masquerader pay for its replacement? And if you miss playing with TRIBE for a year or two will your card be revoked by the band? If someone sells their Smart Card (you know just as the TLC cards were being sold) will the benefits be transferable to the person who buys it? And for all those masqueraders who purchase costumes on Carnival Junction or even at the mas camp on Carnival Saturday will they be issued a Smart Card the following year? I guess I will have to wait to see if a future email will explain exactly how the Smart Card works, but for now I cannot help but wonder if maybe it is such a smart idea.

Firstly, if the Smart Card is automatically given to everyone who played with TRIBE in 2007 why does it say first time masqueraders for 2007 are also entitled to the card; isn’t it obvious that everyone who played in 2007 would be comprised of first timers as well? And I would really like to see if persons who played only once will be denied a card in preference of those who have played at least twice, so does that mean there is a limit to how many Smart Cards will be distributed? Honestly, I do think that persons who played in 2005 and never again should be written off the list, I know it seems harsh but after a two year lull one must assume that masquerader is either playing with another band or has no interest of playing again. I do agree with giving cards to people who played any two years and to the first timers who played this year however.

I still think the Smart Card does not give us that much “priority” when it comes to registering, if everyone is assigned one then we are ALL on equal footing, for it to be a TRUE loyalty card I personally think people who have played with TRIBE every year since their debut should be given FIRST opportunity to register, followed by people who played any two years and lastly by those who played once, including those who played only in 2007 (sorry but you are yet to earn your loyalty status). To me this is the only system that makes sense if a card like this is to work as it was intended.

As for those without a Smart Card never fear, even with TLC cards last year the band did not sell out in days as they did in 2005, higher prices and more band options probably contributed to that. So keep your options open for costume choices, you know the “hot sections” go first and even if you don’t get a costume in TRIBE to your liking Carnival Junction and the costume resale market might make that feat easier to accomplish as Carnival 2008 draws nearer.

In spite of all my concerns I have already applied for my Smart Card, and I am both excited and curious to learn more about what this means to us the masquerader. One thing I do know is that it is a clear indication that TRIBE’s band launching is SOON to come and I cannot wait, bring on the costumes!!


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