Friday, January 12, 2007

"Is There A Commie

In Your Sock Drawer?"

My husband was astonished.

"Who are they looking for ... Osocka Bin Laden?"

That's what Dave said when I told him what happened to the women of Blue Moon.

As a bank customer, what would you think of your financial institution if you had been operating a small business and maintaining an account with them for several years, and they suddenly refused to accept your money? And what would you do the next day if you discovered that your bank decided that your business was a scam, and they refunded all of your customers' credit card purchases? Without doing any sort of research or investigation?

That is exactly what happened to the women at
Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Blue Moon wanted their customers to be able to join their Sock Of The Month Club by using a credit card online. If you live in the United States, annual membership in the Sock of the Month Club is $210 US. If you are an international sock addict, the extra postage bumps you up to $240.

Lots and lots of people joined the Sock of the Month club.

Blue Moon's financial institution, who shall hereinafter be referred to as Nastybank (on the advice of their attorney, Blue Moon is not publicizing the name of the actual bank at the moment), became alarmed when a whole bunch of people from all over North America and a couple of other continents joined a two-hundred dollar sock club all at once.

Now before any of you knitting bankers out there start talking about fiduciary responsibility and national security and how it is the bank's responsibility to investigate unusual account activity -- please refrain from educating me, because I already know all that. And if the bank had stopped there -- if they simply had investigated an unusual blip in account activity -- they would have been doing their job. "Wow, Blue Moon sure is doing a lot of business! Let's look into that! Well, whaddaya know, a bunch of knitters bought yarn! Imagine that!"

But they did not investigate. Not one tiny bit of investigation-type activity occurred. Not even a Google search. Instead, a six-pack of suits at Nastybank had a little meeting and decided that it was impossible that a whole bunch of people could be knitting socks by hand. That it was impossible that anyone would join a Sock Of The Month Club. And, without further ado, Nastybank decreed that Blue Moon Fiber Arts was either running an Internet scam or laundering money for the Mafia, terrorists, Columbian drug lords or all three, so they shut down Blue Moon's credit card activity and refunded the membership dues to each and every person who joined the Sock of The Month Club.

Just imagine how that financial event would pull the proverbial rug out from under your small business.

Now listen up: I know for a fact that there are Quilt Block Of The Month Clubs, Birdhouse Of The Month Clubs, Fishing Lure Of The Month Clubs and Fruit Of The Month Clubs. I can't vouch for the others, but the Fruit Of The Month Club has been around for a long, long, time. My late aunt Miriam used to belong to it. Before you could get things like kiwis and starfruit at the supermarket, she sent a company in California some money every year, and then each month she got a box of weird tropical fruit. It was real. I ate it. It was good.

So let's talk about possible and impossible. I wonder if I went to Nastybank and declared, "I want to be able to accept credit cards online because I have an Internet porn site where people can pay to watch a Sumo wrestler wearing a tutu, cowboy boots and a fireman's hat have live sex with an albino midget wearing a Girl Scout uniform and a rainbow-colored afro wig."

"Oh, and also a Slip-n-Slide and a recumbent bicycle are involved."

Would the executives at Nastybank say, "No, we can't give your porn site the ability to accept credit cards online because it is impossible that anyone wants to watch a Sumo wrestler having sex with a midget." Would they?

You bet your sweet nether regions they wouldn't decline me. I would have the ability to accept credit cards online in about eleven seconds, and as soon as they got back into their cubicles each and every one of Nastybank's credit officers would log on, whip out their credit cards and crash the bank's server checking out that stuff.

But Blue Moon Fiber Arts did not want to sell porn movies, nor did they want to launder money for the Mafia, run a Nigerian wool scam, or secretly fund the Taliban.

All they wanted to do was sell sock yarn kits. But their credit account activity was somehow suspicious because:

(a.) it is impossible that anyone would join a sock club ...

(b.) they had an unusually high number of transactions. To underscore the highly suspicious nature of this alarming surge in account acitivity, I remind you that Blue Moon is a retailer and this spike in purchases occurred during the holiday shopping season. Somehow I doubt that Amazon or L.L. Bean's customers were all refunded their online credit card purchases because of the frightening nature of a spike in online retail transactions during the Christmas season.

Quick, somebody call the CIA! Dig up Joseph McCarthy, harvest his DNA and clone him! A bunch of women in Oregon are selling sock yarn -- and people are buying it! Clearly these women are terrorists, subvertng the minds of our youth, and must be punished quickly and to the full extent the law allows.

Now if you are like me, I was beyond fury when I first heard of this yesterday. I wanted to grab a pitchfork and join the mob screaming for heads to roll at Nastybank.

And, in due time and due process, they will.

But before heads roll, Socks Must Rock.

What can we do to help?

Because Nastybank's identity cannot be revealed quite yet, we can't all withdraw our accounts and have a run on the bank, or crash their server with emails from sock-knitters the world over. Nor can we send barbed-wire socks to the credit card review committee, or have a sit-in of sock-knitters in the lobby of the main branch.

We can do all those things later, when Nastybank's identity becomes a matter of public record.

In the meantime:

Order some sock yarn from Blue Moon. Just one skein. They have legal expenses, and also other expenses caused by having their finances jolted, and getting credit card acceptance back up on their website with a Nice, New Bank which is happy to accept money from a small business. So even if you have a New Year's resolution to knit only from stash, just one skein of sock yarn from Blue Moon won't count. The Knitting Goddess will absolve you.

Write a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. We can't inundate the bank officers with e-mail yet, but they all read the WSJ.

For the full story, click here and go to the January 11 post for evidence that I am not making this up.


At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear... I need a tissue! I just spit precious coffee all over my monitor when McCarthy asked me if there were any commies in my sock drawer! What a way to start the day. Nicely worded m'dear. I look forward to reading more of your blog. I've added it to my favs as well.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

You put into words my reaction to this. Who do these men think they are?! And how dare they decide how people spend money that they have worked for?
My suggestion is that when we find out which bank and who the members that made this decision, we all knit 1 mini sock a month and send it to them.
No one knits socks anymore? I swear they must have granny knitting on the brain!

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Lori said...

If there is any justice, it will be one of the nationwide banks with locations in many states, where ticking off a bunch of knitters may cause them a noticeable change in their statistics when the inevitable backlash occurs.

As all should be aware at this point, we are many and when we put our minds to it, incredible things happen.

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

inspired illustration, dez. had just read this mind-blowing story at yarn harlot. good for you to keep the beat going. we ARE going to find out the name of the bank one of these days. contacting the WSJ just may move the story to a larger audience.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth D said...

Dez, I'd thought of making a similar suggestion on one of the big lists, but was afraid the volume of orders might do STR more harm than good! But I wandered over and ever so discreetly ordered just one (!!!) color. I can go back again, after all. . .I hope a whole lot of people think alike.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Jo said...

Dez I love you hugely! You've said and advised all the things I was trying to get my head around doing. I'm going right over to Blue Moon now to order my support skein, and you can rely on me to DO MY BIT too as and when we find out just where to send our biting emails.

The rest of you, get going too! By heck, Nastybank is going to be very very sorry it was ever born!

Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Kathryn said...

Dez it would cost a small fortune (better spent) to order one skein from Blue Moon but when Nastybank's identity becomes known I suggest that all those who knit socks arrive at every bank branch in droves with their knitting and the news media and go ahead and knit socks...Nastybank might end up by actually doing knitters a favour and give them some free, positive publicity at the other's expense...and then if they have any sense it will be compensation to Blue Moon and a hefty donation to something like CIC

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Kathryn said...

Oops, forgot to add I am in Australia

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