I got a note in the mail from Laura Mixon, breathlessly asking whether I’d seen this story in Majikthise:
The Yarn Harlot has opened my eyes to a great injustice: Blue Moon Fiber Arts woman-owned small business of great renown in the among the knitting cognoscenti has been retroactively refused credit card order processing for its Rockin’ Socks Club. (It’s like the fruit of the month club for people who crave enough hand-painted yarn to knit a pair socks.)I’m not a sock knitter myself, but I know that someday I will be. It’s inevitable—a sort of virus all knitters catch, only I haven’t caught it yet.
Here’s the deal with the yarn: Sock knitters passionately adore what’s called self-striping or self-patterning sock yarn. It changes color frequently, so that they don’t have to. What’s even yummier is hand-painted sock yarn. You can make your own, which is tough but interesting, or you can buy someone else’s. It isn’t cheap, and sock knitters buy a lot of it. Blue Moon Fibers’ hand-painted sock yarn is good stuff, and highly esteemed.
Want to check the solidity of the Sock Club business plan? Go here and scroll down the post until you get to the pictures, then start reading. When you put out an “emergency stash” keychain that’s a miniature skein of your yarn, and your customers not only grok this, but think it’s too cute for words, you’re doing real business.
Back to Majikthise:
That means Blue Moon’s (erstwhile) bank not only refused to process new credit card orders, but also unilaterally refunded the money of the last several hundred Sock Club customers—because a Sock Club must be some kind of scam.What the bank did not do: type “sock yarn” into Google. I can only conclude that they’re too stupid to breathe without a cheat sheet.
The Yarn Harlot [Stephanie Pearl-McPhee] explains:What has happened, and I confirmed all of this in a phone call with Tina [of Blue Moon], is unbelievable. Blue Moon needs a bank to accept their credit card orders. (Be warned that when I run the world, banks will be in charge of far less…but I digress.) When Blue Moon started accepting orders for the Sock Club recently, the bank flinched.
They contacted the Blue Moon and questioned the possibility of this being an actual business thing. Blue Moon explained to them the concept of a sock club, and the bank held a meeting.
A necessary question. Yarn Harlot’s readers all know very well what happens if you type “sock yarn” into Google, and they have serious emotional relationships with the search results.Now, I was not a fly on the wall at that meeting, but oh, how I wish I had been. Over the course of said meeting, the bank decided, with the business information of Blue Moon in front of them and the concept (and CASH) of a “Sock Club” laid out, that … and here is the incredible thing … (Perhaps you should take a deep breath or sit down or put down your cup of tea.)
They decided that it was not possible that this many people could be this interested in sock yarn (I know…I know) and that therefore, considering the complete impossibility of this being a legitimate business concept (can’t you hear them? “This many people just can’t want sock yarn!”) that Blue Moon must be running a SCAM, and (holy moths I can scarcely type it) Shut. It. Down.
They rescinded Blue Moon’s ability to take credit card money (that’s right, a bank turned down money…) and (breath deeply) REFUNDED to customers all of the money that they had received for the Sock Club.
For the record, Stephanie, Erin, Lindsey: No. I don’t think they’d have done it to a group of men. Imagine, ludicrously, a bunch of female bankers deciding to cancel the credit card charges and refund the money of hundreds of men who’d subscribed to the Fishing Lure of the Month Club, on the grounds that there can’t possibly be that many people out fishing on a regular basis. Personally, I can’t imagine it at all. Why not? Because stupid women don’t wind up running banks! You have to be male and have the right social background to be entrusted with a job like that when you’re too stupid to pour piss out of a boot that has the instructions printed on the bottom.I will assume, since I know that you are not stupid, my lovely readers, that I do not have to spell out for you what the emotional and financial consequences of a bank deciding to refund money to your last several hundred customers would mean to a business. Let’s just have a moment of respect for the fact that Blue Moon is still coherent at all.
… [M]y sister Erin, owner of a small business and the lucky recipient of several inexplicable bank decisions herself, would like to take this opportunity to ask you if a bank would have done this to a group of men?
But back to Yarn Harlot, who reports that the ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts have matters in hand. They have a new bank. They’ve sent out a letter to all their customers (and are asking bloggers to help spread the word: lo me), saying that they should make sure they got their refund from the old bank, and come to their site to sign up again for the Sock Club:
Note how much they’re getting paid per person. Elsewhere, they remind their regulars that there are a lot of people in the Sock Club, so please expect some processing time. And now, they casually mention that the club is oversubscribed to the point where it has a waiting list.Here are the details. Within the next ten days, all of you who signed up for the Sock Club by paying either $210.00 (domestic) or $240.00 (international) between December 31 and January 5, will be getting a credit back onto your Mastercard or Visa. It is the Sock Club only, all other yarn orders placed will go through and you will be receiving your yarn soon.
Do not panic!
Everyone affected by this incredible situation is guaranteed their spot through the end of January, including those on the wait list. (Emphases mine.)
Nah, a business plan like that couldn’t possibly be real.
Blue Moon ends their letter by addressing their customers as “Knitting comrades”, and saying:
They will, too. And that’s all very well for them; but Yarn Harlot and I are dissatisfied with one aspect of this imbroglio:[T]he Rockin’ Sock Club 2007 will prevail! We will have a blast and knit awesome socks that will be the envy of all nonbelievers!
I wouldn’t have it either; and I wouldn’t call it class. Not in that sense, at any rate.The ladies at Blue Moon also (and this demonstrates to me the depths of their class) have declined my offer to provide each and every one of you with the address of the bank and the Bank managers email address, so that you (ALL of you) could provide him with an expansive email detailing your feelings about sock yarn, his behaviour and the relationship between the two.
I would not have had that amount of class.
I want to know those bankers’ names. I need to know their names. I need to heap mockery and abuse on their own personal heads. I also need to never, ever trust them with a single penny of my money, and spread the word to other people so they won’t make that mistake either.
(Is anyone else here wondering about the annual salaries of the people who made this decision? Shouldn’t their masters be asking them to refund the money they’ve already received? Because paying these buffoons to run a bank is far more obviously a scam than anything you can do with sock yarn.)
If you’re reading this, and you’re one of the knitters whose credit card charges were refunded, do please have a look at your statement, or perhaps call your credit card company, and see whether you can find out the name of the bank that did this. If you can, I’ll either promise to refrain from mentioning your name, or promise to give you full credit and glory for revealing the information. I’m good either way, just as long as these guys are held up to public scorn: Speak the truth, and shame the devil.