12 June 2010

Smile to Sandra

About 5 years ago I came up with an idea for a social experiment that turned out to completely change the quality of my daily life. It was a small scale operation, a birthday gift to myself of 1000 custom made stickers. Remember the smile-hearts made in the 1970s from Irma? It helps if you do. I used the heart and printed my name along with a message to smile to me. It was one of those things that really pissed off a lot of the advertising people I talked to. Mainly because there was no "real" agenda and no profit to be made. It just seemed plain stupid to them, and besides, as one pointed out, the stickers were not even fuzzy like the original. But I was quite happy with my stupid experiment. In an attempt to execute a mass hypnosis, I scattered the stickers all over town, and then waited for people to smile when they heard my name. 

But after a month of waiting, I realised that I needed to change my approach. So I placed the sticker on the lapel of my coat. And on my dress, and on my bag, and on every layer of clothing in my wardrobe. The first thing that happened was that I met a lot of happy people. Everywhere I looked, people were smiling at me, little smiles, big smiles, happy smiles, genuine smiles. Sometimes I would be in a crappy mood, and forget about the sticker, and someone would send me a smile and make me feel instantly better. 

The other thing that happened was equally fantastic. The people I met every day, on the post office, at the bakery and the vegetable market would (smile and) call me by name. It only seemed polite to ask them their name too, now that they knew mine, and so I got to know the names of a lot of the people I met in my daily life. And I am amazed at what a difference it has made. When I go the post office today, they know if there is a package waiting for me even before I do, because they remember seeing my name on one. And this is also how I came to know my friends from my local vegetable market. My sticker is still stuck to the register, and whenever I enter the store they yell to all the customers to smile to Sandra. Okay, so sometimes you are not in that mood, but more than often you get there real fast. All in all I consider my social experiment a big success. I still have some stickers left, but at this point they work as I hoped: sticker or no sticker, people smile to Sandra.

This picture I found on flickr, it was taken the day after my birthday back in 2005.


  1. Hvor er det bare en fin idé. Jeg er helt i knæ over effekten af sådan et lille rødt hjerte med et smilende budskab. Helt fantastisk!

  2. Helt fantastisk! Jeg så faktisk en af dem her den anden dag og tænkte på dig. Uden at ane, du stod bag. For du er den eneste, jeg kender, der hedder Sandra!

    Og de der reklametyper, de er da bare misundelige, fordi ingen gider smile til dem.

  3. Hej Linda, det kom også meget bag på mig at det gjorde sådan en stor forskel. Man svæver bare bedre på smil. :-)

    Hej Fie, hvor er det sjovt! De lever endnu de glade hjerter. Og ha til reklametyperne, du har nok ret. Det kan være at de bløder lidt op når jeg en dag følger op med "smil fra Sandra". Jeg bager på ideen.

  4. Hvor er det bare fantastisk! Tænk hvad et lille klistermærke kan gøre...

  5. Ja, og hvor stor en forskel det gør når man får et smil. :-)

  6. excellent experiment. i love that story. and i'm smiling. thanks.

  7. Yet another diemension to the experiment, spreading smiles across oceans. This sticker is not done yet.. :-)

  8. herligt ...

    smiler til Sandra


    smiler til Sandra's kopholdere

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