Saturday, May 30, 2009

Buying On-Line

This last week has been kind of crazy. There is the whole schedule issue with Bobby, but aside from that there have been other exciting and slightly ridiculous things happening as well.

To start, a bit of almost old news in the knitting world: Sock Summit registration happened on Tuesday. It was amazing. I was there and ready and hoping desperately that I would get the classes I wanted with the amazing friends I have. Only since February of 2009 have I really been introduced and inducted into the (kind of ridiculous) world of on-line competitive buying. This is only my second event, but I can already tell, it may not be for me. My first experience was with the Phat Fiber Sampler Box.

My friend contributes and I knit (did you guys know that?) and I am learning (slowly) to spin. So I thought, "Hey, why not get one and see what it's all about?"

Well I'll tell you why not, because the first time you get up at 4:30 in the morning to snag one when they're listed at 7:30 in a different time zone you kind of stress out a little bit, but it works out and you think, "Wow these things are really cool. Look at all this neat stuff! I can't wait to get the next one and see even more!" You start to make a list of favorite people. You start to think about whose yarn you'll be buying, and it went so smoothly and seamlessly, despite your wacky and unreliable internet connection, that it's hard to imagine a world where you don't get a box, and you start to build money into your monthly budget thinking it'll be no problem.

Then the next month rolls around and the internet cuts right as you're paying (again at o'dark thirty in the morning) and when you get reconnected all of the boxes are gone and you're sitting there very, very upset. This leads to conversations with your husband about keeping things in perspective and those conversations aren't always the most pleasant. Then to top it all off you don't even just save yourself the money, but spend it on things you got samples of in the first box. This reminds you all over again of how easy it was the first time. And, even the knowledge that these things are selling out in under a minute, under 30 seconds even, isn't much consolation.

And there's the key right there; it's kind of sheer luck. Someone may click faster, someone's connection may be better, someone's processor, or server, or their hamsters in a wheel just got a caffeine shot, or a butterfly flapped its wings somewhere, and so you're out. And, it's all a bit crazy and random. Fun when it works out, and I have a friend who has pretty amazing luck with these and has managed to buy me one during a couple of months (very impressive actually), but disappointing when it doesn't. And when it doesn't there's not really anyone to blame, no one to vent your wrath on.

It is fun to blame the computers though. Sort of like when you're playing a video or computer game that involves a computer "player" and it cheats. You know what I mean, right? But, really, I'm pretty sure my computers all want me have more yarn... ... unless my husband's gotten to them. But the point is, Phat Fiber was my introduction to competitive buying on the internet and wow, what an initiation.

That was my only experience leading up to Sock Summit Registration. Now that was a whole new kind of crazy that apparently no one really, truly, fully anticipated. According to the Yarn Harlot blog 30,000 people simultaneously tried to register for Sock Summit, and I was right there in the midst of it. Five minutes before registration opened the site got really sluggish, then died. I haven't ever seen a site slow down, and known exactly what was happening (in a purely metaphorical, theoretical, non-technical sort of way of course). It was like watching a person wade down to a river and then get stuck in the mud about knee deep and start to slowly try to slog their way across, and you're cheering the whole time for them, but know that they're just not going to make it. Bad simile, actually, but I can't come up with a better one right yet.

To make a long story short (too late), it was crazy again with failing servers (on their end) and much sweat, fear, and hope all tightly wound up inside me. And, once again I got very, extremely lucky. I was able to register for the two classes I wanted. It was crazy, and though I don't remember biting them, several of my nails were shorter afterwards. So, that was definitely a high point this week. I am going to Sock Summit and the friends and events will make it worthwhile even without the classes; the classes are the deliciously rich icing on the cake!

Also, I've decided that there is going to soon (if there isn't already) be a market out there for people who can click like mad and get through when the hamsters in the servers don't seem to want to let you. If you can do that, there are a bunch of knitters that certainly want to be your friend!


Anonymous said...

Once again I love the way you write. I was even thinking as I read (meta cognition) that you were creating a simile with your "stuck in the mud." I thought it was good except for me thinking about the mud flats and the tide. Such an Alaskan thing.
Keep writing so I can keep enjoy, very selfish of me : )

alaskamommy said...

I am entirely clueless on Sock Summit and online buying, but that's ok, it was fun to read. I looked for you on FB but some scary looking woman in Indiana came up. And I got stuck in the mud once at that downtown fishing spot; my friend and and a random stranger (turned out to be someone from my dad's work who then requested a case of beer from my dad for rescuing me) had to yank me out of the waders. It was scary! I think they rescued the waders too. -Ruth