You’ve Come Here To BUY Something?

12 April 2009

I’m finding lately that the people who work in/own yarn shops fall into two categories – those you just want to take home and knit with,   And those you definitely don’t.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve experienced some really weird service in (what we used to call) wool shops.   I was thinking about this after I’d experienced another bout of rather bizarre service last week.

I was buying yarn in a shop that also sells sewing and embroidery stuff. I was being ‘served’ (if that’s the right word) by an assistant.  The owner wasn’t around.  I saw a packet of safety pins and that reminded me that I needed some small gold ones.  But I couldn’t see those.  So I asked.  The reply?  “We don’t sell safety pins” in a manner that suggested that the selling of safety pins was somehow beneath contempt.  I pointed out that I’d seen some on the stand – silver/chrome ones.  “No, they’re for quilting”.  So I went and had a look.  Bog-standard safety pins in a bog-standard packet.  No mention that they were for anything specific.  They were safety pins.   And I didn’t give a damn what purpose people used them for.  I left.

Then there’s the shop that not only doesn’t price their yarn but seems to want to keep that important information quite secret.  After the third trip to the counter to ask how much something was, and getting raised eyebrows from the assistant, I left.  Empty-handed.  Never returned.  Most of my knitting friends apparently have done the same.  I know there are shops where if you have to ask the price, you obviously can’t afford the goods so no prices are shown.  But a WOOL shop?

I’m really doing my best to keep yarn shop owners in business but sometimes it’s just too hard. 




  1. Sounds familiar. I wonder if it is the same ones I’ve been to.

  2. We don’t sell safety pins… What a drongo!

  3. I went into a hardware/garden shop and asked an assistant if they stocked anything which would remove lichen from my concrete garden path. Quick as a flash, she said, “No!”. As I turned to leave and was within two paces of her, she said to her colleague, “What was SHE on about?” (Trans: “What was she talking about?”).

  4. This is the sort of service that sends us from our LYS to shopping on the internet, where costs of goods and shipping are clearly displayed (without even having to ask).
    And as a former quilter, there sometimes is a difference between regular and quilter’s safety pins. The ones for quilting sometimes appear “bent” in a slight V-shape. There’s a trick to closing them, using a special device or a plain spoon, after you’ve pushed them through layers of fabric, and need to do it maybe 500 times! So much easier using the bent ones – and that’s a great thing when you’ve also got to crawl around on your hands and knees for hours (might be one reason why I don’t do quilting so much anymore!!!)

  5. I went into a yarn store in a country/tourist location which was a retail member of the Guild – the yarns were upmarket and expensive, thw owner was not there, the service from the young [very] casual staff was shocking! Across the road and up the street a bit was a smaller, crowded shop selling mostly synthetics, with the most wonderful, friendly owner who had a vast knowledge of knitting and designing!

  6. My LYS has the yarn in baskets with a tag on the basket. I don’t liek looking around the sides of the basket trying to find the little price tag. Yes, I know that if you see a little ounce of yarn that has a price tag of $25.00 (US) on it you usually put it down, but if you can’t find the price tag you’re not even going to pick it up. Why has shopping become so hard! 🙂

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