Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting patterns you want

It's always the pits when we have to send out emails telling people that they didn't get ANY of the patterns they requested.... And judging from the questions we've been getting, it's time to try to explain what happens in a slightly different way.

So here's the setting: It's 12:01 a.m. Eastern time and you're browsing through the newly posted patterns in the Recycle area. There's at least 300 to choose from, and you pick out a dozen, send in your request by 12:04 a.m., and figure you're all set. Two days letter you get an email telling you that only 2 of the patterns you wanted were available....

What happened? Well, most of the patterns you wanted were also requested by someone who had more pattern points than you. And because the system is based on pattern points -- not the time the request came in -- the person with the most points get the pattern.

Time of request does matter if two people want the same pattern AND they both have the same number of pattern points -- in that case, the person who made the request first gets the pattern. But that's rarely what happens.

Why do pattern points get priority?
Because you earn pattern points by doing things that help keep Pattern Rescue going (donating patterns, pin money, tissue pieces, etc. ) and we think the people who help the most should get priority for the patterns we send out.

The stunning little number shown here (McCall's 4070 halter sundress from the 1950s) is one of the many "new" patterns that will be added to the Trade area in the next few days. How many of you will want it? Just one? Five? A dozen?

In any event, we only have one, and there has to be a way to decide. So we collect all the requests for a single day and then whoever has the most pattern points gets the pattern. Until the end of the day, we don't know who that will be.

Pattern point balances range from zero (for new members making their first request) to over 300 (for folks like Sue, who donated this lovely vintage pattern and many more like it).

But if you don't have many pattern points, don't despair! Everyone's balance changes all the time. You get more points every time you donate something. And you redeem points every time you get a pattern from the Trade area. So that 200 point gorilla who always gets the patterns you want will eventually be 98 point weakling and you'll find larger packages in your mailbox. It really does work!

Easy for us to say :-) However, we do tweak things now and again to help more people get more patterns. The latest tweak is simply listing more patterns at one time -- which we hope will spread out the requests and result in more patterns actually going out the door.

A few tips when making your requests:
  • Always include alternates if there's anything you like. If the first 4 or 8 patterns on your list are gone, do you really want nothing?
  • The very first day a large group of new patterns posts is the busiest. If you don't have a lot of points, you may find it easier on your nerves to check on the second day and choose from what's left.
  • Plus-size patterns are VERY popular. So are patterns for toddlers, especially from the 1970s. Expect a lot of competition on these.
  • The odd 1940s or 1950s pattern that makes it into the Recycle area is going to be long gone unless you have a ton of points.
Boosting your pattern points:
  • Make your pin money donation promptly (for an extra point) and add a bit extra. A $2 donation for $2 postage made 10 days later gets you 2 points. Make it within 7 days and you get 3 points. Add an extra dollar and get 5 points. Make it $5 and get 9 points.
  • Don't get patterns from the Trade area unless you really, really love them. Letting your point balance build up for a while will help you get the Recycle patterns you want.
  • Got any incomplete patterns from the 1950s or earlier hanging around? Send them on. Each one earns a point, and you'll have the opportunity to get them back if we can complete the pattern.
Hope this helps a bit -- any questions, just let me know!

Jacki