Friday, August 27, 2010

Walk This Way. Out the Door.

Best Quote I Heard All Day
It's a rather rude gesture, but at least it's clear what you mean -- Katharine Hepburn

Time and time again, you hear and read about rude yarn shop owners. What you don't hear about often are the rude customers. This past week, an obnoxious customer, a woman who created a scene in my favorite yarn shop, was gently asked by the owner to leave and not come back. I didn't witness this particular incident but I've seen it many times before, a demanding customer who thinks she's the only knitter in the store needing help NOW. Never mind that there are other people ahead of her.

  1. If your kids can't behave, don't bring them into the shop. Leave them home.
  2. Wait your turn patiently.
  3. Don't pull out piles of skeins without putting them back neatly. The same goes for books.
  4. Don't ask for a refund on yarn that A) you bought from the shop three years ago or B) that you bought elsewhere.
  5. Use your gift certificate within the timeframe, which is now two years. Don't demand cash.
  6. Read the shop's return policies--most stores have them posted--and don't bitch about them.
  7. If you're sitting around a table and someone needs help while the store folks are busy, lend a hand.
  8. If you disagree with the shop owner, discuss it like an adult. Don't make a scene in the store. It only makes you look like a fuckface.
  9. Don't discuss politics or religion during the shop's knitting group get-together.
  10. Remember that running a yarn shop is a business, not a free advice service. Buy something from your yarn shop on a regular basis.
 Question of the Week
So, based on the above, what's the worst customer behavior you've ever seen in a yarn shop? Share your stories in the comments.

Obligatory Knitting Shit
I'm still cranking away on the Wonderland cape. Two skeins down, two to go. I'm not yet tired of the colorway, either. It's Water Hyacinth--I guess the sky blue is the water.

I bought more Blue Heron for an original lace shawl--Deep Water Silver. This is a new one from BH and lovely. I'm designing lace star motifs for the shawl. A fun project.

Working a sock design too, and preparing for my fall workshops. And still looking for a real job, although I do have a phone interview on Monday with a large advertising media group in NYC. I'm keeping myself busy with my knitting and spinning projects but making money is rather more important. Money--these days, rare and handy. More next week, skanks. Time to go out to play with Countess von Puppelah.


Anonymous said...

i used to have a customer who would come in at 5 minutes to closing ; get a half dozen one inch "samples" while her two kids RAN allover; and another customer who brought her two little shit eater dogs. ugh....

marie in florida

Anonymous said...

Customer who regularly brought in skeins that were suspiciously light and hollow on the inside. Yep, she used them for trim or contrast colors, then returned them.

Customer who says "whenever I buy yarn here for a sweater, it comes out the wrong size. What's wrong with your yarn?" When asked what weight of yarn her pattern calls for and the gauge, she does not know, even though she says she has made the pattern numerous times.

Customers who ask you to photocopy patterns "so I don't have to buy the whole book."

Customer who has been knitting at least 40 years, asks you to "show her" how to cast on, then keeps insisting "Why don't YOU just do it for me? and while you're at it, knit the first row, too."

Need I go on? (;

Sharon said...

Customers who expect the yarn shop to ball wind hanks they bought somewhere else.

docsharon said...

Customers who make new customers feel like crap when they enter the store making them feel unwelcome and unwanted. Acting as if the newcomer was unwashed, they spread out at the tables with their knitting bags on empty chairs, with annoyed looks of disdain having interrupted their private club. Having had experienced the "look over" more than once at different establishments those customers have stopped me from shopping at those stores even if they have a great assortment of yarns and needles.

Grenadine Girl said...

Amen, Sister!

FiberQat said...

It never ceases to amaze me how boorish some customers become. I've seen customers get huffy because the shop they've visited didn't carry a particular yarn the pattern they were wanting to use suggested. I've seen mothers come in with their sticky-fingered fussy child in a huge stroller, leave the stroller at the table where knitters are enjoying a conversation and assume the knitters will watch their children while they browse the shelves. At rare sales I've seen women turn into maniacs just to get the special yarn on sale (do you really need 30 skeins of sock yarn?). But then I've also seen how people in general can be in a retail situation. Thank goodness there are good people out there; otherwise shops would be vile but necessary places to visit.

Barb B. said...

Buying 3 skeins of mini mill spun, lanolin still in it yarn. Taking it home, washing it, drying it, then winding in centre pull balls. Then weighing it (now much lighter) and confronting store owner (when store is busy busy) with being a deliberate cheat. Stating that said yarn was also short on yardage.

Best cusomers? The 3 ladies who grabbed those centre pull balls, rewound them on a niddy noddy, (all the while saying, "no no, its no trouble dear" to the complainer who was now dancing around) counted up the yardage, and told Ms. Bitch Ass to take her yarn away as the yardage was correct, therefore the weight must originally have been as well.

Jan said...

What horror stories! Is this just the retail world, or are yarn shops prey to especially nutso customers?

Susan said...

I work in customer service, so I am well acquainted with how crazy people can be. Do you really think that screaming at me is going to make me want to bend the rules for you? And is it really worth 20 minutes of your life to argue over 15 cents on the bill (which was a tax increase, so I can't fix it)? And if you know you went over your minutes last month, why would I give you a credit? Grow up!

Sandi B said...

On the other side of that coin...When I first quit smoking I decided I better learn to knit...a friend took me to our LYS and I picked some yarn and some needles and went home to ball my yarn by hand. Did I mention I had just quit smoking? I started pulling and winding the yarn from the center of the skein just as I was told. Within an hour of being home I had over half the yarn out of the center of that skein and the biggest pile of yarn vomit I have ever seen. I promptly put it in my car drove right back to the store and dropped MY mess on HER counter and said "Did I mention that I just quit smoking" and the doll behind the counter said "Let me get you a new one" It's been almost 3 years now and I just love that little yarn store and the Owner. So Thank You to all of you who have made customers like me a very Happy Knitter!!!

Karen said...

I have the worlds best LYS. It's a family owned and family run business. The youngest child of the family has some issues. They're organic not psychological so they are unpredictable and, can be uncontrollable. Well I was in the shop on a lovely Sunday morning and this poor child had a total meltdown. A lot of yarn went flying. Her mom gathered her up and took her home and her sister took over running the store for the morning. While I was on my knees helping pick up yarn and put it back in the right spot some dumb bitch who had been standing there watching the whole thing (P.S. you can tell by looking at her that this child (who is a loving child) has issues) turned around and said "you're still open, right."

It was so rude and lacking of any kind of compassion that I wanted to pimp slap her. But instead, the knitting goddess pimp slapped her. She found the perfect yarn for her project and needed 12 balls and they only had 2.

I really hope that the 10 balls that she needed were on the floor waiting to be put back in the bin and she missed out on them just because she was such a cold hearted bitch.

Teresa said...


I enjoyed reading your rules on how to be a good yarn shop customer and I really like them. In fact, they could apply to ANY retail establishment.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people can ignore their own children acting like nuts in public and expect the rest of the customers to tolerate them. I agee with you; if the kids won't behave, leave them at home.

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Anonymous said...

How about a customer fingering all the yarn and saying in her outside voice ' I CAN GET THIS ON EBAY FOR HALF! RAVELRY AND ETSY HAVE YARN CHEAPER THAN THIS" and writes down patterns in the books to keep from buying?

Anonymous said...

Oh, the customer who drives you nuts and waves her finger at you because there is no 100% acrylic yarn to be found (um, it's not Michael's or A.C. Moore you're shopping at)

"I'm not buying the whole book for that"

"Can you fix this row - I fell asleep while I was knitting and the needle fell out"

I worked at a yarn store for 2 months this summer and was let go for not "juggling customers" effectively enough. I was sad for a day or two but realized that customers can be a bitch and a half and I was better off keeping my knitting as a much-loved hobby and not as a job.

Actual Girl said...

Asking for help with a knitting project is great. Asking the employee to "demonstrate" something while you stare vacantly out the window or chatter with friends is exactly why I got in the habit of saying "OK, now *you* try it!" as I ripped out the row I'd just done for them. Interested people would tear into the project with zeal, and people who just wanted the work done for them would look horrified and, eventually, stop asking unless they actually needed help.

LizzieK8 said...

Customers who think because they once paid the teacher she is at their beck and call for life for every dropped stitch and extra yo.mal

Customers who are angry despite the fact they were told several times to get an extra skein "just in case." (Especially when the store takes returns.)