We’ve been hearing a lot the past few weeks about the “undecided” voter in the presidential election. At this point it seems that most people have made up their minds about which candidate will screw up the country for the next four years. But there remains a significant percentage of people who are unable to make a decision, even though there are pretty big differences between the two candidates. The other night a major broadcaster was skeptical that anyone could still be undecided. He obviously does not work with the public.
Nine years ago, after retiring as a bank executive, I decided to take a job one day a week doing something fun. So I signed on at the local yarn shop. I hadn’t worked with actual customers since college and, for the most part, it’s been fun. The average client walks in, chooses a pattern and some yarn, and walks out happy. Sometimes a person asks for help and after a few basic questions the right project is selected. It’s all done within 30 minutes.
But then we have the “undecideds”. They typically walk in and say “I have no idea what I want to make.” Okay, I’ll say, let’s narrow that down – a sweater, hat, golf club cover? Perhaps some steel wool so you can knit yourself a washing machine, I joke. But I am speaking to the wall. No pattern is quite right, no texture is appropriate, no color just the right shade. The quandary over a skein of yarn is beyond comprehension. A long time ago my brother, Jack, taught me this: the important thing about a decision is to MAKE one.
My favorite example of an “undecided” was when a tourist came in one day, completely befuddled. She asked me if I had a yarn that would match her brown coat. She somehow assumed that I would know exactly what her brown coat looked like. I wanted to say, “Lady, I don’t even know you, much less your brown coat”. But after an hour of searching for yarn, gnashing of teeth (me) and tentative murmurings (her), she made a selection. I’ve often wondered if the brown coat was happy.
I really worry about these people once they leave the store. If they have this much trouble picking out yarn, how in the heck to they make more critical decisions? I shudder to think of these people picking out something more permanent, like carpeting. The texture selection alone must give them the vapors. Colleges for their kids? They must have to start when they’re in kindergarten to reach a decision in time.
But you don’t have to work in a yarn store to experience these people. They are the ones in the front of the line at Starbucks, completely undone by the choices. Tall or grande? Foam or whip? The choice between bold or mild is enough to send them into an apoplectic state. These unsure souls are the reason that the wait is usually interminable.
So, back to the election. Apparently in some states there are so many “undecideds” that the whole darn state is considered to be a “swing” factor in this election. As far as I’m concerned these people are getting what they deserve: a barrage of negative, mean-spirited campaign ads. But I have news for the campaign managers. If an “undecided” can’t choose between red or blue yarn, choosing a President of the United States is a reach beyond their grasp.