The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Brown’

To every gig there is an end

Posted by keithosaunders on December 12, 2015

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Being a musician and trying to maintain a career gigging is akin to Charlie Brown trying to kick that football.  Just when things are going well a club owner pulls it away.

On one hand the job rarely gets boring.  I play in a different place with different people most every night of the week.  If I have a bad night I can go home, practice the next day, wipe the slate clean and start over the next night.

The flip side is there is no job security.  I have roughly a half dozen steady gigs, some of which are once a week, some twice a month, and others once a month.  Any one of these gigs can end with hours notice.  There are no contracts, no year-end bonuses, and certainly no severance pay.  One year a dive bar back east in Queens called Brandy’s, where I had a steady Thursday, gave us a Christmas bonus of $20.00.  It was about 15 years ago but I remember it distinctly because it was the only time it ever happened!

This particular subject is top of mind because my favorite gig – a jazz quintet at a bar in Haight Ashbury called Club Deluxe – is being cut back from twice a month to once a month.  The gig is with some of my favorite Bay Area musicians and it’s a place that we can throw down hard in front of appreciative crowds.  It was always a somewhat lucrative night — they charge a cover at the door and the place is usually packed.

Due to a strange twist of fate, however, our pay has recently risen by approximately 30%.  The club fired the old doorman and it turned out he had been skimming off of the band.  For years we went home from that gig thinking it had been a good night monetarily.  Little did we know they should have been great nights.  So here we are with a defacto raise – something that happens to mus

icians with the regularity of alternate leap years –  and *now* they cut us back?!  COME ON!  But that’s the way it goes in the Charlie Brown-esque world of the jazz musician.  Gigs come and go.  Somehow the music preservers.


Posted in jazz, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My Charlie Brown moment

Posted by keithosaunders on April 4, 2011

When it comes to the little guy dealing with large corporations the deck is stacked.  My recent escapade switching from the DISH network to ATT Uverse has me feeling like a class A sap.  Of course I have no one to blame but myself, but this is a small consolation.

Two months ago I was solicited at my door by a sweet, middle-American-looking woman and her young acolyte, to accept a phone-cable-internet bundle from ATT Uverse.  Since we were in need of a land line here in Albany, California — our cell reception here is terrible — and the DISH Network is an awful satellite provider, I allowed these seemingly benign ladies into my kitchen.  There they remained, for the next hour setting us up with the dream package of phone, cable, and high-speed internet. 

We were concerned about having to pay a penalty to DISH for early cancellation of service.  “Let me call them for you,” our salesman cooed,  “perhaps we can work out an arrangement.” 

She phoned the DISH network, and after a few minutes she informed us that there would indeed be a penalty of $300, but that ATT would send us a coupon for $250 to offset the bulk of the expense.  That’s a cracker jack deal for me —  I signed on the dotted line. 

Our services, after some scheduling snafus, were installed, and then the fun began.  When I phoned the DISH network to cancel our service, they said they had never heard of my friendly neighborhood Uverse rep.  They did, however want their $300, and they would send a box for me to pack the satellite equipment in, for which I would pay for the postage. 

What about the dish on the roof?  “Sir, if you want us to send a technician to disassemble the DISH we will have to charge you for a service call.” 

When I phoned ATT, they too had never heard from my rep. as well as the aforementioned coupon.  I had her name on the invoice, but they were unimpressed and told me in curt tones that there was nothing they could do.

I had fallen for the old bait and switch.  Corporations give us the illusion that we are shrewd consumers for opting for bundled packages when in fact, we, the consumers, are mere dupes in a high-tech shell game.  It would take a doctorate in calculus to decipher and break down these bills.  Who knows how much money we are spending?  All we know is that it’s excessive, and that customer service is limited at best.

I realize that I am the one who is at fault for being so gullible.  I fancy myself a savvy ex-New Yorker — as someone who has been around the block a few times.  Who am I kidding?  I’m just Charlie Brown to their Lucy.

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »