Entitlement Killed The Country Music Star

by admin on November 2, 2010

A little background. My DH and I are part of group of friends who generally hang out as a group. There are some people in the group we see more than others and there are some we only see as a group. Most of us are in our 30′s, married, and either have kids or have kids on the way. Some own our own homes, some don’t. Some of us have professional degrees, some of us our manual laborers. It’s a diverse group and it works well for all of us.

That said, there are two people in our group who seem to think everything is a competition. They always have to have the best and be the best. They are constantly talking about how much money they have, what they just bought, and how much they just spent. We’ll call them C and D. The rest of us rarely, if ever, talk about money.

C and D have been married about a year. For as long as I can remember, D has talked about going to Nashville and trying to be a country singer. He’s been talking about it so long, most of us don’t pay attention anymore. Over the summer, our friends organized a benefit for another friend of ours who is fighting breast cancer. The benefit was a huge success.

Apparently the benefit gave D some ideas. Two weeks ago my husband and I received, both by Facebook and by email, an invitation to a fundraiser. The invitation stated that, with the economy and a new baby on the way, D is looking for help getting to Nashville. A fundraiser, with a door cost of $25 per person and to include raffles and auctions, is being held to help him “raise the money to obtain his dream of going to Nashville” and he promises not to forget all of us when he makes it big.

We, and a few other friends, were quite put off by this. I, thankfully, have obtained my dream….. through student loans that we are paying and lots of hard work. If I had to pay to obtain my dream, why should I pay for D to obtain his? Am I wrong in being offended by this? I wanted to send a response saying that when C and D help pay my student loans, I’ll be happy to donate to the cause. Instead, I respectfully declined the invitation as we will be out of the area the day of the “event”. 1101-10

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

etimodnar November 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

uh… that’s not how it’s done. Being in a youngish age group, I have several friends who are trying to make it as musicians. They go to practice with their band, write songs, practice, save money for studio time, practice more, eventually put together an EP, practice, get some gigs at local joints, practice, eventually have a CD launch that they invite everyone to (usually with a small door fee of $5-$10), enter music comps, practice more… so on and so forth.

If this were billed as a performance, or a cd launch, then I would probably go to check out my friend’s music and support them. If I like their music, I’ll buy their EP and tell my friends about them.

But no one has ever put together their own “fundraiser” to get themselves a leg up. People save up for their dreams, or get bank loans to fund them and work a crappy job in the interim to pay off the loan. I support their music by buying their albums (produce something to sell to keep them in the music business). THAT IS HOW IT’S DONE!!

Furthermore, isn’t it tacky to organise your own benefit??

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FunkyMunky November 2, 2010 at 4:59 am

Talent will only get you so far, even in the music industry. I would consider this an extremely poor investment.

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nkkingston November 2, 2010 at 5:00 am

I feel almost sorry for the guy. He’s going to organise all this, and all he’s going to get is the $25 his wife gives him, because no one else is going to come.

I sound almost too cynical. Thing is, I’ve seen people raise $3000 in under a week to help a complete stranger pay for emergency eye surgery, and it’s heartwarming to know people will chip in whatever they can afford to improve someone’s quality of life. But I also know a lot of musicians, and it’s pretty clear that the only way to ‘make it big’ is to work hard and make good music. A fundraiser isn’t going to help if he’s not willing to do the hard graft anyway. Is D singing at local open mike nights? Busking on the street? Arranging gigs for himself at bars and clubs? Asking if local music shops will stock his CD?

(And why does he want to go to Nashville now, with a new baby on the way? Bad time to launch a career; I’m sure C is pleased as punch his dream is taking precedence over his imminent fatherhood)

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QueenofAllThings November 2, 2010 at 6:07 am

Congrats on taking the high road and simply declining to go! I would have been equally tempted to suggest a little quid pro quo – “You pay my loans, and I’ll support your dream”.

There are some clueless folk out there …

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ferretrick November 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

“But I also know a lot of musicians, and it’s pretty clear that the only way to ‘make it big’ is to work hard and make good music.”

Or be Justin Bieber. Ba dump bum.

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Alexis November 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

If he needs money to launch a business he can get a business loan. If he needs money to launch a career, he can get a student loan. And if he needs money to get to Nashville he gets a second job, as many music students as he can find the time to teach, and as many gigs as he can get hired to play. He doesn’t get to hit up his friends for money because he’s too lazy to work. He isn’t a charitable cause, he’s an Entitled Gimmee Pig. No, you’re not wrong to be offended by this.

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livvy November 2, 2010 at 9:20 am

I agree with nkkingston – it’s like that joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice.” Seems like D thinks it’s as easy as booking a flight. (For which he expects you to pay, after having to listen to his extravagant spending history for years.) It would be one thing if he were playing at local clubs, asking for you to support him by attending and paying a cover charge, but this is something else. Has he even said what (specifically) the money is for? Studio recording time? Thankfully, you’ve managed to give this one the slip. On the positive side, I would HOPE that having such a fundraiser would make C and D much less likely to go on and on about their spending in the future, if for no other reason than to hide the fact that they wound up spending his fundraiser money on furnishing the nursery.

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AS November 2, 2010 at 10:15 am

I agree with etimodnar and nkkingston. I wouldn’t mind paying to go for a CD release or concert for a friend who is working hard to be a singer. That would be showing support in return for some entertainment the person has worked on (though I don’t know what I think about paying $25, which would be $50 for OP and he DH, and more if they have children) . But pay just to visit his house only to pay even more to buy stuffs in raffles and auctions – I’d be offended too!

I liked OP’s idea of saying that you’d pay if he agrees to help you pay your student’s loan ;) !

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nannerdoman November 2, 2010 at 10:27 am

D must not actually listen to much country music. It’s all about paying your dues, working hard, and not taking something you haven’t earned.

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Bonnie November 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

Wait . . . does D’s real name begin with J!?!

Because this sounds exactly like I guy I dated years ago, I was 18 he was 25. He was such a sleaze my parents actually offered to send him to Nashville, if he would promise to never contact me again. Luckily for me, I figured out he was bad news before he convinced me to do something stupid, like marry him.

If, by some odd stretch of fate, it is the same guy, this is completely within his “range” of tackiness. J came over to my parent’s house for dinner and while chatting in the living room beforehand decided to lay down on the couch and take a nap. I thought my father’s head was going to explode.

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Louise November 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

Interesting. I have this dream of lounging around in my sweatpants all day and reading novels instead of going to work. It never occurred to me to have a fundraiser to help me achieve my dream! :-P

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Gloria Shiner November 2, 2010 at 11:15 am

That’s almost funny! They have more money than anyone else, but can’t afford to got to Nashville without the help of their friends? He has more talent than anyone else but can’t make it by just showing up in Nashville and performing? Awww, doodums!

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ginlyn32 November 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

Wow. I agree with the first poster.

I hope one of his friends takes him aside and tells him what a clod he is being.

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Elizabeth Bunting November 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

Question for the OP – If C and D are so rich, always buying things that others can not afford and then bragging about it, why can’t they use their own money to go to Nashville rather than scrounging from their friends? Just asking!

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Psyche November 2, 2010 at 11:52 am

Your friends remind me of the Topper, a reoccuring character in Dilbert. His M.O. is to sneak into conversations that have nothing to do with him and claim that whatever they did, he has done better. He begins every sentence with “That’s nothing! I did {insert thing he did better here}.

I bring this pop culture reference up because in Dilbert, even when the other characters in the story give him the evil eye-or, in the case of one character, even threaten to kill him if he doesn’t stop-he keeps on going.

Your friends remind me of the Topper because like that guy, it’s quite possible they know deep down that they’re annoying, but this one upsmanship is a compulsion, like biting your fingernails.

And like my other posters, I find the timing of the male half to be awfully suspicious. Are there marital problems? Has the upcoming fatherhood reminded him of his unfulfilled dreams? Is he having an early midlife crisis?

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LilyG November 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I don’t think he should go to Nashville until his dog dies, his mother abandons him, he hears the lonesome whistle of the midnight train and finds Jesus. THEN he’d have something to write about.

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Orwellian November 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

There’s a time for following dreams and risking it all. That time is before you get married and long before you have a kid. The writer John Irving used to ride a motorcycle. He was at work when his wife went to the hospital to deliver his first child. He rode the motorcycle home with the hazard lights on, parked it at the end of the driveway and made a ‘for sale’ sign because he knew that his days of risk were over. D’s days of wild risk are over.

Another thing is that he doesn’t need to go to Nashville right now. With computers and some ingenuity, it’s possible to make a decent home recording (Weird Al made his first single in a bathroom), burn it to CD yourself and self-publish or sell downloads on your website. Youtube videos can help you build interest in your music. The group Sons of Maxwell made a song and video about United airlines breaking their guitar (“United Breaks Guitars”) and as of now it’s been seen 9,449,536 times. I think a man getting ready to be a father and wanting to become a musician at the same time would have a lot to write about.

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bookworm November 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Ugh. Take that $25 and donate it to a charity of your choice.

I think you did fine by simply declining his invitation. There’s no need to banish yourself to e-hell too just because he’s being tactless.

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Rebecca November 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm

What a good idea! I think I’ll hold a fundraiser to pay off my student loans. After bragging to all my friends about my recent discretionary purchases, of course.

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Xtina November 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm

OK–so D wants what, exactly–money to be given, for no specific purpose, so he can go and “make it big”? What, exactly is entailed in “making it big”? Gee, and here _I_ thought that you paid your own way through life, and where you lived and things you wanted to achieve were afforded on your own dime or hard work–silly me!! :-)

And um–it has obviously not gone unnoticed by most people that it’s kind of strange that at a time when his wife probably needs him the most, during the arrival time of their first child, that he’s thinking of uprooting and moving to a strange city to TRY to start a (very iffy) new career?? And he’s got NOTHING to show for it (i.e. no previous recordings or contacts there, or gigs under his belt)? Yeah, FunkyMunky (post #2) got that one pegged: a very poor investment. If I were his wife, I’d be seriously worried that he’s getting ready to fly the coop and desert her at a VERY bad time.

But yeah, long story short–this guy/couple is in very bad etiquette form to shake down their friends like that.

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Giles November 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Yikes.

I don’t know much about the music business, but I’ve seen a lot of young bands who really try their hardest and know it’s not about being in the right place at the right time. My mother (a physicist who specialized in sound and air waves) used to make extra money when I was a kid by renting out our basement, which she’d set up as an improvised sound studio for her experiments, to bands who needed cheap recording. Nowadays it’s even easier with computers and social media.

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Simone November 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm

@Louise – What a strange coincidence! I have that exact same dream! No-one gives me money to finance that dream either…

@Orwellian – what a great story about John Irving. Now there’s a dad who gets what it is to be a dad :)

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The Cat Whisperer November 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Maybe I read this wrong, but it sounds to me as if “D” is basically advertising a concert party, with himself as the headliner, with raffles and door prizes, at $25 per person admission. I assume that although the OP doesn’t say “D” plans on performing, that he does plan on performing.

It doesn’t sound as if he’s misrepresenting this as a benefit for someone who needs money for medical bills, or to pay the mortgage because they got laid off, or for any other charitable cause. He’s up front about it: he’s trying to raise money to go to Nashville, so he’s staging a concert event where there will be entertainment. FWIW, I don’t see that as even an etiquette misdemeanor. There’s no crime in a musician putting on a show and charging admission. Whether he’s worth the $25 admission, I can’t say.

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Kriss November 2, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I don’t understand. So has this guy ever sang? Played a guitar? I assume he has an ipod touch, iphone, camera with video capabilities, camcorder, sony mavica, SOMETHING. Why hasn’t he made a youtube video yet? Put some tracks for sale on itunes or a personal website? Made CDs to sell at the flea market? Put some tracks on flash key drives and dropped them random places for viral marketing? Done gigs at the local dive? Anything!

What does he expect? To show up in Nashville and have a recording producer waiting for him? To get off the bus and everyone on the street will breathe a sigh of relief because finally, the next Garth Brooks has arrived?

An idea without a plan is just a dream. I don’t fund dreams. I have them for free every night. Like others have stated, if he was putting in effort and was making this get together an entertainment thing (gig, cd release, etc) I wouldn’t mind paying. I used to pay a cover charge to see my brother’s band and it was worth every penny. I wouldn’t pay for him to have a vacation in Nashville, I don’t care how pretty his guitar is.

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Acadianna November 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I’m curious to know exactly what expenses the proceeds of this fundraiser will cover. Musical equipment? Travel? Living expenses for him, his wife, and his baby? (I’m assuming he’s not leaving the family behind.)

Unless he has some very generous and optimistic friends and family, I can’t see how he’ll raise enough money to fund even a short vacation in Nashville, let alone an entire musical career.

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Sharon November 2, 2010 at 7:46 pm

This is absolutely laughable. It really is so sad it is funny.

I don’t know about etiquette violation, but it does take all prizes for brazen nerve. It comes under the heading of “Ways to Lose Friends QUICKLY!!!!!”

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Patty November 2, 2010 at 8:25 pm

The guy should have charged a ticket to Nashville before he maxxed his cards keeping up with (or surpassing) the Jonses.

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Mimi_cat November 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm

This cracks me up, because I actually live in Nashville.

He’s not the only person who wants to move here and make it big. I have no musical talent but I know plenty of people here who are working full time jobs while trying to make it as singers, musicians, or songwriters.

Let’s say he gets lucky and makes a couple of thousand dollars. Then what?

If he has some talent he might be able to get a gig at one of the many honkytonks, although they are pretty competitive. I work with a woman who sings at a fairly well known place 3 nights a week, and she and her band work for whatever $$ gets put in the tip jar. On a good night she might walk out with $50. She moved here to ‘pursue the dream’ several years ago and still can’t afford to give up her day job, and she’s extremely talented.

Is there opportunity here? You bet! There are lots of people who are making a living in the music industry, even if they aren’t country superstars. However, it takes a lot of hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight.

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MamaToreen November 2, 2010 at 8:40 pm

As a singer who put it all on hold when I had my son 8 years ago, I say this to him. If you arent performing locally, forget Nashville. You have a child on the way. Man up!

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PrincessSimmi November 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

So… when will you all be sending me money to fund my dream of a trip to Thailand for a boob job?

What a Gimme Pig D is.

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Ducks November 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm

He sounds like a talentless hack who wants to subject more people to bad country music. A faux pa in itself.

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Cooler Becky November 3, 2010 at 1:17 am

As Terry Pratchett once wrote…

“If you trust in yourself, and believe in your dreams, and follow your star, you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye.”

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Xtina November 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

@ Cooler Becky: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Love that quote!

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Shayna November 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hmmm. I’m thinking he’s going to sing and play at this fundraiser? If so, lots of local musicians do this. I was just out at my local music store last Saturday and a local musician was there singing and playing, with some CDs of hers to purchase. And she was fantastic. Sort of an Amanda Marshall style with a very smokey voice. However, if he’s just wanting you all to show up, pop $25 in a jar, and then line up as your names are drawn, then no. N.O.

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Jillybean November 3, 2010 at 10:43 am

@ Kriss – Love this…

I wouldn’t pay for him to have a vacation in Nashville, I don’t care how pretty his guitar is.

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Jane November 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I agree with etimodnar and others who don’t understand why he thinks the only way to make it big is literally going to Nashville. I think his description and calling it a “fundraiser” is what made him look like a gimme pig. Why doesn’t he just hold a concert instead? Or sell CDs? Have some local gigs? Things normal musicians do.

I actually think he meant well – he was just very clueless and went about it in a totally wrong and illogical way.

Also… does he want to move to Nashville? Or just go there on vacation? Because making it big anywhere will take you longer than a week, for sure.

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kaspar November 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I am the op on this one. To answer some questions….. 1. no he is not “performing” in any manner at this thing. He has hired a band. 2. he doesn’t have his own music. His idea of performing is Kareoke. 3. He previously went to nashville, paid for recording time, made a 2 or 3 song cd, and then did nothing with it. 4. the “invitation” was in C’s handwriting, so his wife apparently approves, though we are supposed to RSVP to some other family member. 5. The original invitation on facebook called it a “benefit for D”, not a fundraiser. A facebook friend kindly pointed out that “benefit” is for a disaster or medical issue, not to further one’s career and suggested the correct term would be fundraiser.

I too have paid many a covercharge to support a new band or artist. There is nothing wrong with that. This is specifically to fund a trip to nashville to try again. Not a move to nashville. A vacation, a short trip. This was simply an idea that came about after a hugely successful benefit for a friend with breast cancer. And he fully expects to make a demo and somehow get it to a record label and magically make millions funded by generous friends. All while telling us about the 52 inch flat screen he just bought. O and I should mention that he sits home and plays video games most days. I think he works part time, but i’ve never known him to have a job for more than 6 months so who knows? His wife is successful at her career. I have no problem with people who stay at home. But don’t ask me to fund your dream if you don’t even work now.

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Mimi_cat November 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

“This is specifically to fund a trip to nashville to try again. Not a move to nashville. A vacation, a short trip. ”

Yeah, that’s going to get him….nowhere. If he really wants to have a career in music – join a band, start playing locally, post some music online, etc.

But I’ve NEVER known of anyone who moved here, recorded a CD, and was magically discovered. Doesn’t happen. Like I said before – many are able to make a living in the music industry – playing enough gigs to actually earn something, working as a studio musician, playing in someone else’s band, etc. But they certainly aren’t wealthy or famous.

Just because people applaud when you sing karaoke doesn’t mean you’ve got a brilliant career ahead of you!

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mharbourgirl November 4, 2010 at 8:03 am

Lazy AND delusional. If his wife isn’t having second thoughts about the longevity of the marriage, I’d be very surprised.

I have a co-worker who is in a band. They’re not bad if you’re into their style of music, and they play regular gigs at local clubs and enter competitions. All five band members have full-time jobs, because the band doesn’t make money yet. They spend all their spare time practicing and writing songs and practicing some more. They’re under no illusions that success is going to get dropped in their laps, if it ever happens at all, but they’re having too much fun to give it up.

I helped co-worker draft up a grant proposal recently because they’d like to record a CD, and I was impressed that they’d done all the math and timelines and decided that while they needed $8000 to cover the whole thing, they were only applying for half of that because they could make up the rest from the limited proceeds of some confirmed gigs and their own hard-earned money. Maybe that’s what happens when engineers pick music as a hobby, though. :) Co-worker put the same amount of work into his grant proposal that he does into the technical reports he has to write as part of his day job.

Which is all to say that if you’re not willing to work your flabby butt off, a music career is not going to happen. Look in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart and see if you recognize any of the bands on those CDs. There’s a reason you don’t.

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Josie James November 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm

This reminds me of a situation that happens often where I live: every once in a while on weekends, people stand in the middle of the road at an intersection with a traffic light and “collect” money from waiting cars. Most of the time it’s the Knights of Columbus club collecting for cancer or other diseases, which I don’t mind donating to, but recently there are people who started collecting to send their kids on trips with clubs or groups. When I was 16 and in the marching band, we needed to raise money to march in a parade in Hawaii that we were invited to participate in and we busted our tails selling candy, pies, car washes and even started a festival to collect the money. We put a lot of time and energy and WORKED for our money. These days, people feel they have a right to beg for it (not to mention sticking their kids in the middle of an intersection to help collect the money which cannot be safe for the kids).

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Lady Silver November 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Wow, he hired a band to play at his “pay for me to become a musician” concert? I think that says it all, really.

Good job taking the high road in declining the invite- you should be proud of your restraint and civility.

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Girlysprite November 5, 2010 at 4:06 am

Even the singers that seem to pop out of nowhere (Bieber for example) have often worked hard and sung a lot before they broke through.

I wonder though if it would be rude to say ‘I don’t believe in your dream, I don’t think it’s going to work as you have never put much effort in it to begin with, and music is a hard, hard world with only a sliver of a percentage making the top, so I won’t invest in it.’

I would actually say that unless i would be convinced of someone’s actual talent and merit.

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Enna November 6, 2010 at 9:28 am

That is arrogrant. Maybe if C and D spent less time spending (and stopped bragging) and D spent more time working his day job and on his music they might eventually be able to go to Nashville? Maybe if they stop bragging people would do things like buy his CD.

If he was any good (don’t know how good/bad he is though) he could advertise himself/music by doing charity gigs? But then he might be too tight to give the money to charity.

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Michelle P November 7, 2010 at 1:27 am

Rude and tacky. I would have been sorely tempted to reply rudely; op handled it great. Good points have been brought up by other posters, especially about the fact that they brag about how much money they have but have to try this nonsense to fund a “trip”.

@The Cat Whisperer, there is an etiquette misdemeanor in his openly asking others to support HIS pursuit of something he wants. This is not a need or anything necessary, this is a fantasy and he has no right to expect anyone else to pay for it.

@Josie James, please tell me you’re exaggerating. You’ve actually seen people and their kids out in streets asking for money for clubs/groups??? I believe it, I’m sorry to say.

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Mother of a Bride November 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Josie-that sounds like a safety hazard. Perhaps a complaint to the local city council will help? We have the firefighters doing their “fill the boot” campaign, once a year, but they are adults and only stand at certain intersections and it’s well publicized ahead of time.

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Jillybean November 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

@Josie – that’s very popular around here. It’s referred to as “canning” and it’s not a recent phenomenon (at least not where I’m from). I’ve seen Little League teams, cheerleaders, Knights of Columbus, and all other manner of groups do this. I remember doing it 20 plus years ago in high school for drama club. We also did all the other activities that you mention, selling candy, wrapping paper, bake sales, car washes, etc.

@Mother of the Bride – I know, at least here, the City Counsil would not do anything to prevent it.

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Jillybean November 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

ugh. City CounCil is what I meant. :-)

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ella November 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

WOW, that is horribly rude of D to ask everyone else to pay his way to stardom when he otherwise boasts about his money!
Oh and OP, I find it hard to believe you ever went to college. Your spelling is atrocious.

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Simone November 12, 2010 at 12:48 am

@Ella – the remark about spelling was necessary why? Why even mention it? And why on EARTH would you phrase it in such a way to impugn the honesty of the person you are being unnecessarily harsh to?

Fyi, I have a brother who has dreadful, dreadful spelling. Had remedial spelling lessons and everything (which helped but still…). He has an excellent degree, higher qualifications and a senior position in a major government agency.

Good spelling is nice, but many people are not blessed with the ability to spell easily and naturally. Aside from that, given that this is the INTERNET, English may not be the OP’s first language for all we know. Correct spelling is not a measure of intelligence.

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CMHValex May 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I would be tempted to instead offer some financial advice. Step 1: Save money yourself instead of asking other people for handouts. Step 2: Sell some of your more expensive items that (let’s face it) you don’t use anyway. Step 3: Get over yourself.

I don’t make a lot of money (and by that I mean that my husband and I are students trying to pay off student loans and making less than $20k a year), but I have never asked for handouts from people in order to achieve my dream. I apply for scholarships, but these are offered and I feel extremely grateful when I receive them. This guy just sounds like a greedy jerk to me.

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