Process or Product? (part 1)

The other day I found myself standing in the doorway of the “back room” of the local op shop. After all the sign said (in big letters) “STAFF ONLY” so I didn’t dare enter the inner sanctum. For some reason, knives, cutlery and knitting needles are not on display for the general public, but are kept out the back. Now knives I can understand but spoons? and bendy plastic 6mm knitting needles?


knitting needles

I was wanting short, plastic knitting needles, not too thin/not too thick – sort of the Goldilocks of needles. So I was lingering in the doorway while 2 staff members searched through the large tub of knitting needles. Every so often they would hold up a pair & ask “is this what you want?” It would have been so much easier if I had been invited in to rummage through that tub myself….. perhaps it was against regulations? perhaps I looked dangerous? Whatever, I lingered…… and answered “yes that’s good, no too long ….”

And while I lingered, and while they searched, the 2 ladies discussed the knitting needles. “I didn’t know they made different lengths.” “I only knit with the really large needles like these” one said, holding aloft a pair of 8mm, “same here,” said the other one, “otherwise it takes too long.” “yes”, her co-worker agreed, “I’d never finish anything”.

Later I found myself recalling this conversation and wishing I’d thought to ask a few questions.
Why did the ladies knit, if it took too long? Why didn’t they just buy what they wanted then. Did they knit because they enjoyed it – well, maybe not, if it took too long. Did they knit because it’s the cheaper option? Um, no, we all know that’s not true (& they had the pick of any second hand knitwear that came through the store). So why?