June 2020

“I can’t get no satisfaction.”

Most alert readers (ARs) will immediately recognize this opening signature line of one of the most famous songs by The Rolling Stones.  Some of you, like me, were probably looking forward to hearing it performed live at The Stones’ concert in St. Louis on June 27.  As we all now know, this concert was canceled because of COVID-19, along with the rest of the No Filter tour.  Now, five months after I paid for my tickets, and three months after the tour was canceled, I’m among the millions of fans who still can’t get no satisfaction.  Despite canceling their tour, The Rolling Stones and Ticketmaster have not refunded the money I paid for my tickets in January.  Nor have either The Stones or Ticketmaster given any indication as to when or even if any refunds might be paid.

In this respect, the group that calls itself “The Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band In The World”  is treating me, along with millions of other fans, worse than American Airlines and my car insurance company.  Whoever would have guessed?  Certainly not I when I started listening to The Stones back in 1964.  Surely the musicians who extolled the revolutionary sprit of “Street Fighting Man” in 1968 wouldn’t turn out to be worse practitioners of corporate greed than American Airlines and my car insurance company.  But that’s exactly what happened.

Like a lot of people, I had travel plans this winter and spring that were disrupted by COVID-19.  Most of my flights were on American Airlines, which gave me full refunds for the flights I didn’t take.  In one case I received a travel voucher valid for a year.  In other cases, the refunds were made directly to my credit card.  In the case of my car insurance, because I was presumably driving less, I got a check from the company refunding part of my premium.  While the response of The Stones and Ticketmaster has been “You can’t always get what you want,”  American Airlines and my insurance company have treated me with what Aretha Franklin would have called, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”

Because I haven’t been flying and have been driving a lot less, most of my recent travel has been figurative through reading.  One such trip was to a village called Eyam in northern England.  I visited Eyam when I read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, a tale about the so-called “Plague Village.”  When the bubonic plague was discovered there in 1665, the local pastor persuaded the villagers to go into voluntary quarantine.  The purpose was not to prevent outsiders from bringing the plague in.  It was already there.  The purpose was to confine the plague to the village and prevent it from spreading to the surrounding countryside.  Most of the villagers embraced this selfless goal, though a few turned on their neighbors, accusing them of witchcraft and of causing the plague; and a few others engaged in shameless profiteering.  It would appear that human nature hasn’t changed all that much in three and half-centuries.

While I was reading about the Plague Village in the 17th century, I heard about a burglary that had just occurred at a school in north St. Louis.  The person or persons who broke into the school only took food from the cafeteria.  Nothing else.  Computers, televisions and other expensive electronic equipment were untouched.  ARs can draw their own conclusions about the desperation that led to this incident.

You can give directly at www.schlafly.com/donate

As many are struggling to feed themselves and their families, I want to acknowledge one AR in particular for his generosity.  Doing so will be problematic because this AR has requested anonymity and I feel obliged to respect his request. Thus, without mentioning any names, I simply want to thank the regular patron at The Schlafly Tap Room who donated $1,000 to be shared among those who had served him over the years.  The money was used to purchase Schnucks gift cards, which I know were much appreciated.

If other ARs are looking for ways to help out, one option to consider could be The St. Louis Brewers Heritage Foundation, which has shifted its focus from staging beer festivals to supporting the hundreds of brewery employees in St Louis who have been furloughed or had their paychecks reduced significantly because of COVID-19 closures and disruptions.   Donations can be made via PayPal,  https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2033918,  or by mailing a check to St. Louis Brewers Heritage Foundation, 7211 Southwest Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63143.  I have personally donated $10,000 to this worthy effort, which is being run by an AR and former Schlafly employee named Troika Brodsky.

Another way to help out would be to stop by one of our brewpubs and purchase some cans of Side Work,  a hazy, session India Pale Ale.  We brewed it to support workers in the service and hospitality industries in St. Louis, with proceeds going to the Gateway Resilience Fund.  You can also give directly by going to www.schlafly.com/donate.

If The Rolling Stones and Ticketmaster aren’t going to pay refunds to those of us who purchased concert tickets five months ago, perhaps they would at least consider giving the money to the Gateway Resilience Fund.  Furloughed hospitality workers in St Louis need the money more than a band of billionaires who canceled a concert.

 

Tom Schlafly

Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery