It seems like every time I run a contest I end up learning more than I wanted to know. This time, however, I'll tell you who won first and then blather at you. I've had lots of fun visiting new blogs and looking at all your great pictures. Thanks for playing, everyone! There were a total of 26 entries that made it in under the wire, and I'm going to round that up to a nice even $50 MSF donation.
And the winner is...Carole!
I gave Carole
the choice of some Wildfoote sock yarn or a hand-dyed skein that so far exists only in imagination, it being too cold at the moment to dye outdoors. Carole, intrepid adventurer that she is, picked the hand-dyed.
Everyone heard about the big Cartoon Network promotion that went spectacularly awry, right? (What does this have to do with socks? you may be asking. Bear with me.) Turner Broadcasting came up with the idea of marketing CN by putting up LED signs showing a cartoon character making a rude gesture — I'll bet it got praised as "edgy" in several well-appointed conference rooms — in visible spots in various major cities, including Boston. Someone spotted one of these signs on a bridge, thought it might be a bomb, and called the police, and urban chaos ensued, including closed roadways and subways, hours upon hours of traffic tie-ups, hordes of angry stranded commuters, and overworked first responders.
TBN and the ad agency it hired are now reimbursing Boston and nearby municipalities scads of money, and the two guys hired to place the signs are working out some kind of plea deal with the DA. (They were charged with placing a hoax device, a felony, which seems a bit harsh when they didn't intend to do any such thing.) The police and the DA, not to mention the stranded commuters, can't believe that the potential for misunderstanding never occurred to anyone involved in this misbegotten marketing campaign. The marketers, for their part, knew what the signs represented and assumed that everyone else would too. They could have avoided enormous expense by labeling the signs inconspicuously, but they didn't see any need.
The whole mess got me thinking about how much our decisions and actions are shaped by our experience. No surprise there, but I am continually amazed that people who live in the same country, speak the same language, share more or less the same culture, can still have such different experiences and end up looking at the world so differently. A couple of astute commenters pointed out that banks these days are under huge governmental pressure to spot and put the kibosh on criminal activity. So they look for outliers, anomalies, anything that doesn't fit the mold. It's not surprising, really, that the idea of hundreds of people clamoring to sign up for a sock club doesn't fit the average banker's mold, nor is it surprising that we knitters can't imagine what that mold looks like. (However. Bank dudes? As my lovely and highly intelligent commenters also noted, the tiniest bit of research, just 13 little letters typed into a search box, could have saved you much grief.)
So what should we do about this? Realize that not everyone has the same woolly perspective we do. Try to put ourselves in the other person's shoes whenever possible, and try to put them in ours. While they're trying on our shoes, for heaven's sake hang onto our socks.