Monday, September 2, 2013

The Lunatic Fringe!

Earlier this summer, as I was preparing to gather some supplies and sew my ritual robes I decided to drop by our local Joanne's Fabrics in west Des Moines, against my own better judgement.

This is not the first time that I have had an unsatisfactory encounter at tis particular store.  A mere handful of years previously I tagged along with my Mom who was planning to sew some curtains for her new home.  At that time the cutting counter was within direct eye and ear shot of the cash register, where we could see the only employee on hand having a private conversation on the phone.  Because we were the only customers at that time we thought she would hang up to assist us.  We were sorely mistaken.  We motioned for her, waved, and even called out to her, but she ignored us, choosing instead to speak with her friend on the phone!

A couple weeks later, hoping that we might fair better than before, me and Mom again dropped by our local Joann's in Clive/ west Des Moines, IA. and, when Mom had found some fabric and lace that she liked we patiently weighted.  The difference, this time, is that there were two women on staff, and they were both at the cash register holding a private conversation amongst themselves as we stood there within view of them.  We weighted maybe ten minutes, hoping they would wrap up their conversation and help us.  Eventually a man came in to buy some fabric and some notions for a project and he stood in front of us.  However, instead of helping us, first, they cut his fabric!  That was the final straw and Mom left her fabric and told the other woman weighting at the register that she would never shop at their store again--and, to her credit, she never has!  Mom actually stopped at the Ben Franklin's store in Adel and bought her fabric from there!

It's unfortunate, but it seems like nearly every time I patron our local Joanne's with my business I have been met with either rude or pathologically unhelpful staff.  After the former two encounters the only reason I even chose to browse through their shelves is because they had hired a breath-taking man with jet black hair to man the cutting counter, otherwise, I couldn't have bothered...  Pity that he no longer works there.  Bit, I digress...  I returned to Joann's early this summer looking for a specific type or blend of fabric: poly-rayon that is as black as black can be!  As I scanned the store I saw no signs denoting any poly-rayon blends, but I eventually found my way to the yardage of polyester where I hoped it might reside.  I poured over every bolt of black fabric in the row and came up empty-handed.  I then decided to draw up my courage here in No-Man's Land, as I am very much a shy and quiet introvert, and I asked to speak with the manager about ordering a bold of the fabric that I required.  She ultimately didn't seem to know poly-rayon fabric in the least, but she informed me that they could order me any fabric that I required, but that the onus was entirely on me to provide them with the specific SKU# from the Joann's website which required that I had to ensure that it was the proper fiber composition, the proper weight, even the precise weave that I required.  And, there was no guarantee that the website stocked what it was that I was looking for.

Ultimately I was feeling dejected, and I gave up researching the topic any further until cooler autumn weather prevailed.  But, I was recently speaking with a fellow Sewist with more familiarity over fabrics than myself, and I explained my situation to him.  He immediately knew what I was talking about, based upon my description (vague as it was), and pointed me to the Ponte di Roma Sew Classic Knits on the Joann's website!  This latter encounter, however, brought it home to me that when staffing a store it behooves the chain of management that they hire men and women that actually know about the merchandise they are selling, because there are a lot of new Sewists out there who require a lot initial hand holding along the way for assurance.  If the manager at our local Joann's had told me that I might find the solution to my problem by searching through the stacks of Knit Fabric, my troubles would have been long-since avoided.

1 comment:

  1. Where I live, we have Fabricland- and the staff is just as rude and obtuse...Like it's some sort of insult to them that you've come in to THEIR store and dared to touch their fabrics...*sigh* which is why I prefer to shop online.