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Your North Carolina vaccine incentives: Dunks, Bojangles', Large Canals
Last week, I asked you all to come up with some distinctly North Carolina incentives to encourage more people to get their COVID shots. Here are your replies.
Other than, you know, near-bulletproof protection from the virus that’s disrupted our lives for more than a year, you may be asking this question about the COVID-19 vaccine: What’s in it for me? I say this in jest, but only partly, because now that vaccines are readily available, there’s a push to figure out how to get shots in the arms of people who are hesitant. There are any number of reasons why people are worried, ranging from fairly rational to extremely conspiratorial, but the problem remains: To end the pandemic, a lot of people need to get jabbed, and fairly quickly.
So last week, I took a look at what other states are offering in the form of incentives. Lottery winnings! French fries! Savings bonds! And then I asked what North Carolina might offer for y’all. Here are your replies:
Do you remember way back when, back in the days when exotic beer was just beer that was imported from abroad? When I was in college, I got my hands on Pilsner Urquell, and you’d think I’d just smuggled a stack of German bearer bonds through customs. I bought it partly because I wanted to make a Steve Urkel reference (after a sip, I could say “Urquell?! Did I do thaaaaat?”), but then I discovered that it was better than Budweiser. Hence, I’d drink it, label out, to project an air of sophistication and refinement.
That’s certainly not what people would think today, because you can buy Pilsner Urquell at a Citgo station. In fact, imports are less exotic for any number of reasons, and so while I think it’d be fantastic to import a live Christmas tree from, say, Oregon, I don’t know if that’d get me to get a vaccine. Then again, from the small but significant number of people I’ve seen with Christmas lights still up, maybe you do want a Ponderosa Pine with your antibodies.
Here’s one from reader Susan Rossetti:
I'm not sure how I landed on your mailing list, but I'm enjoying these missives immensely. My favorite incentive thus far: Joints for Jabs in NY. https://news.yahoo.com/joints-jabs-free-marijuana-vaccinated-232644631.html
I really don’t understand why you can’t just mix a little bit of Moderna Magic with a liquefied version of Maui Wowie. Why do we even have modern science? Then again, it’s hard to say whether you could ride out the next-day side effects of the shot if you were extremely paranoid or stoned out of your mind. In order to do this, you’d need to load up on those free post-vax Krispy Kreme donuts.
Many of you just went with straight up regional fast-food as an incentive:
Hear me out: Rather than one $50 Cook Out gift card, you hand out five $10 Cook Out gift cards. Because, again, judging by the state you’re in when you arrive at Cook Out, you are probably going cheap, and chances are you are going to misplace an expensive gift card. With five gift cards, you can stash one in your wallet, glove box, up in the visor, under your seat, and in the cup holder.
This sounds like an Our State fever dream, mixed with a freelance job for the guy who’s been on Channel 5 in Raleigh for, like, decades.
How about the ability to bounce off a trampoline and slam over the big man of your chosen Tobacco Road rival.
YES. How many of you would enjoy being Danny Green for a day?
Let’s pause for a moment to note that some of you are not going to be swayed by piddly little giveaways.
I’m gonna be real here for a second: I don’t think (despite the last proposed incentive) that dunking is the right reply here, even though it feels like an easy response. We all have deeply held beliefs that, shockingly, are not going to be changed by a newsletter or a tweet. Yes, there is a macro, public health argument to be made for inoculating a large swath of people. But that argument isn’t an argument that necessarily works broadly on an individual level. There’s been a decent amount of thoughtful writing about how overcoming that hesitancy involves meeting people where they are, instead of where you want them to be. This New York Times story (and podcast episode) from a town in rural Tennessee is a good window into that.
Anyhow! Back to the idiocy here.
Some of you suggested a NASCAR flavor to the giveaways:
Truck Nutz! Ha! One of the more enlightening podcasts I’ve listened to was this old episode of Decoder Ring, which went deep on Truck Nutz. TL;DR: They don’t appeal to the people you think they appeal to.
Hangin’ out with Dale Jr. notwithstanding, you know who’s already innovating in the COVID/NASCAR space? That’s right, Alabama! Get a shot and turn two laps in your own car at Talladega. Throw up the three with your good arm as you scream “Roll Tide” at a 33 degree angle in turn one.
(A personal note: I turned a few laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Chevy Cavalier years ago, and the banked turns were frightening. If you’re gonna do this, get a better car.)
One of the things I’ve noticed consistently through the pandemic is the fact that it wasn’t proven science, or a nebulous public health system, or even your local elected officials or business owners asking you to wear a mask. Nope! It was Roy. On, say, every sign posted on a glass door, the note went something like “Due to Governor Cooper’s order, blah blah blah.” I know, it was his executive order that mandated masks statewide for a good long while, but I’m sure it wasn’t just him that arrived at this idea. And yet, many times, I heard people grunting some version of “Cooper’s makin’ us do this,” as they popped some cloth over their face. Now that he’s largely rescinded his order, I have yet to hear any version of “Thanks for the fresh air, Royyyyyy,” said in the voice of a caller to The Paul Finebaum Show. Give it time.
Have a good weekend, everybody.