Sunday, February 26, 2006

Customer service

Yesterday I had an encounter with an unpleasant customer. It was one of those situations when someone comes into the shop spoiling for a fight, and I just happened to be the first person who crossed her path. I did my best to refuse to participate in the Snit-a-palooza, at one point excusing myself to go (allegedly) to the ladies' room so I wouldn't garrotte her with a loose pair of Addi Turbos. (I mean, is it my personal fault that the shop sold out of size 9 bamboo needles in a 14-inch length? Does the lack of a particular knitting needle that you desire -- although we did have perfectly nice 10-inch and circular needles in that size and virtually every other size known to humankind -- entitle you to berate me because "needles, they're kind of like staples for a yarn shop, wouldn't you say?")

I knew that this customer's disgruntlement didn't have anything to do with me, really, but it did get me thinking again about customer service and the yarn shop. This is another topic about which I don't have any clear answers, just a lot of questions, most of them revolving around the dilemma of just how much customer service it is reasonable to expect from your local yarn shop. When does helping a customer morph into letting someone take advantage of you? How and where do you draw the line?

Generally, my attitude, and that of my co-workers, is extremely pro-customer. We will help you pick a pattern, we will help you pick a suitable yarn, we will tailor classes to your needs, we will explain gauge, we'll stop whatever else we're doing to help you, we will teach you discrete new skills, we will do knitting 9-1-1 and fix mistakes, we will give you free tips and advice, we will help you pick colors, we will let you use the bathroom, we won't rush you out the door if it takes a long time to decide, we will special-order, we will look up nearby lunch places for you if you're from out-of-town, and so on. In other words, we will try to help a customer in whatever way we can. I want to immediately qualify that as "in whatever way we can, within reason" because it seems to me that more and more, lately, we've been getting customers who make unreasonable demands.

Every yarn shop has the customer who really, really wants to make a pattern from a pattern book but balks at buying the whole book. "Do I have to buy the whole book just to make one pattern?" they whine. In a word, yes. I will not make photocopies of a book to allow a customer to make a pattern and avoid compensating the designer for the work put into making it. Apart from being shitty, it's illegal. In fact, we don't even have a copy machine at Rosie's, thus providing a very convenient dodge for particularly persistent copyright-flouters. From a customer's standpoint, well, yes, it is unfortunate that you don't want any other pattern in the book, but tough. Take it up with the U.S. Congress, the federal copyright bar and the knitting designer's trade union.* And consider whether it's fair of you to ask an employee of your LYS to violate the law for you in order to get something for nothing.

That's an easy case. The request is illegal, so no dice. But what about a customer who asks you to rewrite an entire pattern for a different gauge? This is one of those grey areas that makes me cringe. If it's a really easy thing, like adding or subtracting some stitches to or from a scarf pattern -- there's no shaping, and there's no real issue of "fit" as there would be in a sweater -- I'm happy to fiddle with it. But is it fair to expect a yarn shop employee to sit down with a calculator and a notepad, and essentially re-design a sweater? What about a garment that's more involved than a scarf but less involved than a sweater? Some will say that "at such and such a shop in New York, they'll write a pattern for you in whatever size you want and whatever gauge you want whenever you buy yarn." Hmmm. I'm not sure I believe you, but maybe they have pattern-generating software in the back, because that seems like an awful lot of work to be giving away for free.

And what happens if you don't like the way the free pattern knits up? Some might say you get what you pay for and if the pattern is free, well, maybe you shouldn't complain. Then again, that would be a reasonable attitude, and we're talking about the unreasonable minority here. All too many times I've had knitters come back to bite me in the butt. They ask me to rejigger the numbers on a pattern to accommodate a particular yarn they want to use, and no matter how the lawyer in me qualifies my work ("This is going to look very different from the sample because you're using a bulky thick-and-thin wool that has pieces of dryer lint sticking out of it, and the sample is a fingering-weight mercerized cotton") they return in a few days or weeks, project in tow, complaining that the dreaded "Someone who works here" gave them an iron-clad guarantee it would look just dandy in dryer lint.

What about asking a yarn shop employee to teach you to knit? We do occasionally have someone walk in off the street who wants to buy needles and yarn, sit down and have us show them how to knit. From scratch. This is another one of those oogey situations. Some people learned a long time ago and forgot, or pick it up really quickly, so it's just a matter of showing them the knit stitch once and they've got it. Others, however, are what we could euphemistically call "slow learners" and require much hand holding, thereby resulting in much hand-wringing. Is it fair to expect a LYS employee to ignore other customers for a prolonged period of time to walk you through the basics of knitting for free? We offer beginner's classes, we have knitting circle which is a time when many gonzo knitters are sitting around who'd love to share their craft with you, and we offer private lessons; ought you to expect a yarn shop employee to teach you gratis? Would you walk into Barnes and Noble and ask one of their employees to teach you to read? Does it matter if you buy, on the spot, yarn and needles and maybe a how-to-knit book, or if you bring your own yarn and needles? Put another way, how would you feel about walking into Home Depot with lumber, hammer and nails you bought at Lowe's and asking them to teach you how to make a bookcase?

Pretty much every shift I work, a determined-looking customer walks in with a stuffed project bag. "Can I help you with something?" I cheerfully ask. "Yes," the customer says decisively. "I have a few questions about the project I'm working on." The "Great!" dies on my lips as the knitter pulls out yarn and needles and patterns that weren't purchased from our shop. Sometimes 2 or 3 different projects, none of which were purchased at our shop. The question might be simple, like how do I do a three-needle bind-off? or what does "YO" mean? But all too often, it's complex. "I think there's a mistake in this pattern," the knitter says -- and it's what we call a "house pattern" -- one created by the owner or staff of the yarn shop to go with a yarn purchase -- from a different yarn shop. Is it fair to expect to walk into a shop with items you bought somewhere else and ask for help with them? Could you walk into the Dell Computer store with an Apple laptop and expect them to show you how it works or fix it if it breaks? Even if you could, would you?

I'm going to tell you a shocking truth about yarn shops: it's hard to make money owning them. The competition is fierce and the profit margin is low. Think about how many new yarn shops have opened up on-line and on the street, and how price competition from gigunda retailers (A.C.Moore, KnitPicks) has provided knitters with additional choices. One of the ways that bricks-and-mortar yarn shops can distinguish themselves from the Internet competition, and from the bricks-and-mortar competition, is by providing stellar customer service. That's fine; under normal circumstances, we're happy to do it. Some people, however, are inclined to take advantage of that. The quid pro quo for getting good customer service is buying something regularly at that shop. Your local yarn shop isn't a library, subsidized by the public to provide free services; it's a business. The next time you take six hanks of yarn you bought on E-bay to your LYS to use their ball-winder, think about that.


*No, there isn't really a knitting designer's trade union. But you get the point, don't you?

33 comments:

Pam said...

While there are many wonderful people in the knitting community, there are a also lot of nervy, obnoxious people in the world and apparently they all knit. You know, the ones who "buy" a garment, wear it to a party and then return it...squeeze all the loaves of bread to find the "fresh" one, leaving the other loaves mangled...open and "try" the make up leaving it smudged and unsellable...the list goes on. They live in a "me" world and are oblivious to the fact that everything doesn't revolve around them.
I think helping a knitter with a problem when they have purchased the materials in your store is a good thing. Otherwise, get a pained look on your face and say flatly "I'm soooooooo sorry, but you didn't purchase that here and I'm not allowd to help you with that." If you lose THAT customer, you haven't lost much.

Janice in GA said...

The first time I heard (years ago) of a yarn shop that wouldn't help you if you hadn't bought the yarn or pattern at the shop, I was shocked. Knitters wouldn't help other knitters??? But after I'd thought about it for a while, it made sense to me. And since I've been working in a yarn shop, it makes even more sense.

Janet Szabo said...

Carol, thanks for the wonderful post.

Although it's not a trade union, the Professional Knitwear Designers Guild is made up of those of us who design and knit this for a living. We really appreciate your refusal to make photocopies for knitters who want the pattern for free (or at a greatly reduced cost). Just like yarn stores, we're trying to make a living, too.

Anonymous said...

amen to your post. I was far more exhausted by my days of retail yarn work than by my now present days running an entire department of a major University. (well - the stress is more now:))
and what i find amazing - if you didn't bend over and smile fast enough, it was all over the online chat rooms as "I'll never shop there again".

Champagne King said...

You make a lot of valid observations. Let's hope knitters who hadn't thought some of their requests through reconsider their behavior as a result. Hey - it happens, you just don't think about the fairness of what you are asking. Of course, shitheels will remain shitheels. The trick, to my way of thinking, is to not get upset when you have to deal with them. If it bugs you, then they've won. I think you have to decide your boundaries and don't feel guilty about having limits. At least that's my experience having done the retail gig. Dealing with the general public is not for sissies.

Ann said...

I am in week three of teaching a customer service class....Hell, do they really think I have a clue? :o)

It's interesting to hear stories from my students about their customer service experiences on both sides of the counter. I have to say though that your post left me speechless.

Speechless because as a consumer I wouldn't even think about dragging projects into the LYS from other places and asking for help. I am probably one of those customers yarn stores like, I walk in, fondle all of the yarn within reach and rarely walk out with out spending at a minimum $100. I never ask questions about patterns, I buy books there now and then--if I want to learn how to knit socks, hats and mittens I sign up for the class and pay the $35. They have a knitting 101 course for newbies--I would definitely push students that direction.

I think this goes beyond customer service expectations. These expectations are unrealistic it's a damned if you damned if you don't sort of thing. I think the key part of the phrase is within reason and that is something that is quite personal for each individual.

I no longer have aspirations to work in the LYS...or in retail for that matter. Thanks for the point to ponder.

Ann

Christina said...

I live in a city that has one yarn shop, and their selection is moderate. They sell a lot of varigated yarns, a lot of fru-fru yarns for the $400 scarf knitters, but still stock staples like Jamieson wool, Cascade 220, and Lamb's Pride. If I can, I buy from them, but their notions and needle selection is just silly (they only stock bamboo needles in 29"), so most of my needles I buy online.

I would NEVER ask for help on a project if I didn't buy the yarn there! Actually, I don't know if I would ask for help, period. They're busy, I'm not (at the time, anyway). Now, I'll ask their opinion on a yarn I'm considering purchasing, but that is the extent. I know this is a business and I'm not their only customer.

Anna said...

Heh. Your post left me nodding my head and going yep...yep....yep...I've seen that too!! I've worked in 2 LYS's. LOVE it. Still do on vacation. We will bend over backwards for our customers....until our backs start to break. Some people walk in with an ENORMOUS chip on their shoulder and then proceed to attempt to beat you around the head and shoulders with it. I developed a particular smile that I would plaster on my face as I said, "No. I'm sorry, we can't exchange the needles you knit your project with and apparently stomped on and now need another size for the next project," or some other similar utterance... But for all the B&*tches, there were always a few that made my day. :) Fortunately the women I worked for & with are fantastic. That always helps!

jillian said...

As someone who worked retail all through HS and college, but not at a LYS, I can say that NONE of this shocks me. I worked as a manager at a Barnes & Noble for a couple years, and I loved working in books. I hated the people. The expectations were so unreasonable, and people treated it like a library. It was the worst example of this phenomena I had experienced.

My thought on how to handle rude customers echoes what Champagne King said above, you have to decide on limits and find a way to tactfully stick to them. On the whole, I found the best way to handle people without pissing them off was to be very nice, but very firm, and describe the reasons why I couldn't do something (accept a book for return that has clearly been read) as out of my hands, because of a policy or law. Then they aren't as much mad at you, but mad at a thing. Then it's harder for them to get up into your face like you personally are smiting them.

Post a nicely designed sign near the register explaining federal copyright policy - like it's a courtesy that you would share such information. Post a sign about policies: "We are happy to assist you with questions and minor pattern adjustments for items purchased in our store." "We are pleased to offer classes and hourly services to help you learn the fiber arts, from brand new to advanced." This way if you help someone on the fly it is the exception, and you are giving extra-special customer service, but then when you get busy you can say, "I'm so sorry, I'm here by myself and I have to assist these customers - everything you need to know is in this book you bought (or suggest taking a class).

I have seen similar things in some successful stores here in LA, and when I was a new knitter in these stores, I was never shocked or offended. It made sense. It's just like any other store, like a drugstore, and it reminds the people shopping that you are actually in a business, and they are responsible for following these policies as well as the employees. It won't help for all people, but it may help for some. Sorry for the uber-long post. I sympathize and want to help :)

Marilyn said...

Oh yeah. I worked in a LYS from time to time back in the '80s, teaching and helping out if needed. Big signs posted by the register stating the store's policies are a must.

I remember that the owner of the shop once escorted an abusive customer out the door. This woman was carrying on, ranting and raving very loudly, because the owner refused to take back yarn that had been clearly bought elsewhere. She didn't stock it.

As she told the customer to leave the store, the customer screamed "I'll never shop here again." To which the owner replied, "I don't need your business, thank you." Of course, this was before the internet. Now it would be all over the Knit List.

Bless all the local yarn shop owners. I make it a point to buy frequently from mine (the Yarn Loft in Sparta, NJ, if anyone wants to know). Renee has been a friend for a long time and I'd rather give her my business if possible. It's a hard way to make a living. The profit margin is negligible, particularly on books and needles. The last thing I would want to do is run a yarn shop. Ever. I'd rather waitress. At least you get tips for good service.

Anonymous said...

The shop in NYC that 'writes' free patterns for those who buy yarn have the customer knit a swatch out of the expensive yarn they've just bought. The gauge of the knitted swatch is then plugged into an already written pattern; the only thing that is written is the number of stitches cast on, how many to decrease , etc etc etc, again, based on the knitted swatch. Said yarn shop sells mostly high end, medium to bulky weight yarn, and their patterns have minimal shaping. Said shop does not teach, gratis, people how to knit. That 'free' pattern is actually, in the long run, quite expensive, given the cost of yarn in their shop. Of course I would be the sales clerk that would tell the customer who comes into your shop mentioning the 'free' pattern writing in NYC to get on the train, go up to NYC and buy their yarn at that shop!

amy! said...

A couple of shops I've visited offer regular "knit doctor" hours where you can bring a project (purchased from anywhere) and receive help with it. Sometimes I've seen it as a regular class with drop-in policies (so you pay, say $10 for the one-hour session but might be sharing the doctor with other students). Other times I've seen it be a set price ($5 for 10 minutes) for one-on-one help, with the "doctor" being available for several hours a few times a week.

Seems like if the shop has extra staff (or regular expert customers who'd like to pick up some cash), this is a good solution. You can make it clear to the customers who want free help that there are help sessions available and that your staff has other work they need to be doing. But it's less intimidating than signing up for a large class.

Lisa M. said...

I think a big part of the issue here is at the end of Carol's third paragraph--"customers who make unreasonable demands." I'll nearly kill myself for a customer who asks me a favor, knows my time is valuable, even (from time to time) one who acknowledges that she's overstepping--as long as she ASKS. I don't see where any customer in my shop has any reason, ever, to DEMAND anything.

There was a great moment on the Knit List once (seriously!), when they'd been having one of their periodic shop-trashing sessions. Just before a moderator stepped in and told them to move on to another topic, someone wrote in to say, "If you're angry at your LYS, ask yourself if there's a chance they're angry at you."

Having a yarn shop has shown me that there are some people (in this day and age!) for whom part of the pleasure of shopping is feeling superior to the shopkeeper/clerk/salesperson, and treating him/her like dirt. Those people are going to leave my shop unsatisfied, maybe not even knowing why, because I'm sure not going to hold up my end of that transaction.

Marg B said...

I can't believe how much gall some people have. I would never expect to get classes for free or help with a project I purchased elsewhere. I remember being quite stunned when I asked at my LYS if they ran crochet classes and being told "no we don't anymore but if you buy your yarn and crochet hook here, we'll help you during the quiet times". The cost of the yarn and crochet hook was far less than I expected to pay for classes AND I got one-on-one help.

Barb B. said...

Holy crap is all I can say. And I thought when I sold furniture the customers were tough. Mind you there was the little boy who crapped in his knickers, then wiped it on (fortunately plastic) furniture. His parents left with him murmuring "isn't he sweet? that was just the cutest".

Possibly people who ask you to copy patterns are the same ones who graze through the grapes in the grocery store and have pirated satellite etc. then go on and on about the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Theft is theft.

Barb B.

Mary Lou said...

What a wonderful post! This really struck a chord with me, especially after the day I had at work. There are some "guests" (the fabric store where I work parttime insists that we call our customers "guests", although they would never be guests in my home considering the way they treat me and the merchandise in the store) who never cease to amaze me with their self-centered, selfish demands. If they think you are not meeting their demands (such as waiting on them at five minutes before closing) they insist on speaking with the manager. When told that I am the manager, they insist upon the district manager's number so that they can "report" me. Retail stinks, whether it's a yarn store, fabric store, bead store, or whatever. And can we discuss the shoplifting that goes on? What's up with that? I hope that LYS owners don't get hit with shoplifters like we do. Thanks for writing and thanks for letting me vent. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I think part of the customer attitude is that knitting and yarn is so feminine. Women aren't supposed to work for money, but for love, so occupations that are gendered feminine are supposed to be a "calling", a "way of life". You're supposed to love helping people because you're female (or your position as a sales assistant is feminine), not because it pays. I think part of the whole "knitters are a kind of people" attitude is that idea about femininity. You don't just knit, you are a knitter - the same way that motherhood isn't something you do, it's an identity.
/Monika

deety said...

Many years of retail taught me that the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is an unreasonable jerk. It's not that I didn't like working with customers. Most of them were great and I would do anything and everything that I could to help them. But there are always going to be folks that you just can't please. I am constantly surprised at how rudely some treat those in "service" jobs and how unreasonable some people's expectations are. I'd never even considered asking a yarn shop employee to write me a complicated, custom pattern, and I'm shocked to hear that there are some people who expect this as a part of regular service.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in retail for over twenty years, fourteen of them in a LYS, I just read this post and nodded my head in agreement with you as you went down your list. I've dealt with all of that - including people who wanted Sale Prices prior to the start of a Sale. (We called the manager at home - she said no, so we had to obey that.), wanted to negotiate the price of the yarn with us - Sorry the price is the price.

I've had people suck up hours of my time wanting pattern help, yarn help and then walk out the door with NOTHING. Nothing I could offer them was good enough or right.

In the bookstore I've dealt with parents with over a hundred dollars worth of books - who have refused to buy their child a 3.00 paperback. (And the kid has been well behaved, and asked politely for that one item.) People who want the Book with the red cover that was on this table last week, and want to return books in non resaleable condition.
Retail is hell. I now do it one day a month to help a good friend who is a bookstore manager out - but no more than that.

There tend to be more good people than bad - but the bad ones make it hellish.

Just because you have a platinum card doesn't make you any better than me, the person working behind the counter.

Helen said...

When I worked at my LYS (the best job I've ever had despite it also being the second lowest paying), we offered one-on-one lessons, on the spot even, for about $20.00 per hour. If a customer needed to learn a new skill, (say, the knit stitch), or help with a project bought elsewhere, or ... something that would take more then 10 minutes, we offered that. If the customer didn't want to pay for exclusive attention, that customer had to wait whenever someone else needed something related to BUYING yarn.

It worked well. I even had regulars :-)

Zooks said...

Once upon a time my mom owned a collectible doll shop. This was back in the late 90s/early 00s when the collecting market was booming. It peeved us to no end that people would come in to her brick and mortar to look at what dolls she had in stock then promptly go home to order it form an internet-only store that could sell at a deep discount because of low overhead. Same people expressed shock and disappointment when mom had to close the store because cash flow sucked.

Don't get me started on the people who would know the wholesale cost of the dolls and try to get mom to give them discounts because they knew what the mark up was. Haven't they ever heard of rent, employee wages, utilities, insurance, security company fees?? Not to mention turning any sort of a profit that can be plowed back into the business to make it better!

That's why I always patronize my LYS first and give them a chance to special order for me before I go searching in other venues for what I want. I support the independent stores first!

Valerie said...

Great post, Carol! I'm lucky enough to live in NYC, where there are a ton of stores to choose from, but I find myself frequenting only 2 or 3. There is only one I won't return to, because they offered to copy a pattern for me from one of their "store copies" of a pattern book--provided I bought the $100+ worth of yarn there. I was willing to buy the book from them, but I wasn't willing to return to a store where the owner did not respect copyright. I bought it elsewhere and won't go back to the other store. I can't believe any customer would actually ask for a copy!

Cynthia said...

Amazing post--none of it surprises, I have worked retail over the years (not yarn) and have even be screamed at when as a bank teller I had to tell a customer no to cashing a check on an account with a negative balance.

As a LYS buyer I will say this--please LYS institute the yarn doctor idea noted above. I am sick of going to the LYS for a quick purchase and being stuck for 20 mins. behind someone who has an issue that will take a long time to solve (valid or not in this case). I realize margins are tight and staff must be limited, but if only one or two shop employees are there, service has to be limited as well.

Still, all of these things pale to having to listen to customers sing, hum, or scream a song for you to recognize and find the disc for them in stock....painful on so many levels (and yes, they do ask if they can just record the one song because they don't want the entire album).

Finally, for all the folks who won't copy a pattern, I think that is great. However, I am amazed at the number of them (especially the designers) who will steal music via downloading--folks, it is the same thing.

Dave Daniels said...

That was the most well-written story about customer service from the other side of the counter! Thank you. As someone who once worked behind the counters for more years than I can count, that is really what it's like. There is a fine line between customer service and being taken advantage of. My LYSs will assist, to a POINT, with projects ONLY if the supplies were bought from them. If it requires more than 10 minutes of time, they suggest a book or a class. In the event a customer is ready to check out or needs stock, they excuse themselves to assist. And I don't have a problem with any of this. Again, I have worked behind the counter, and there are times when you (we) need to take control, and not allow control to be TAKEN.
She needed needles and you had temporarily sold out. You're a store, that's what it's about. You sell stuff! Her poor planning is not your mistake/issue/fault, it is hers. And her throwing it off on you is wrong. SHE needs to plan more accordingly. PERIOD!
Copying patterns, good for you for just saying, "NO". People need to hear that more often. Buy the book or pick another pattern. End of subject, lol.
And for resizing, MY response would be, "I'm sorry, but we are not staffed to provide that type of assistance. If you'd like help choosing the correct yarn that the pattern intended, I'd be more than happy to help." (Said in a tone that a 5-year old would understand.)
Just my $.02, but thank you for posting!

Franklin said...

I remember being startled the first time a yarn shop assistant offered to help me over a hurdle I'd encountered with a pattern. Because of parallels like those you mention (ie, Barnes and Noble staff will not teach you to read), it never occurred to me that one should ask any more of a yarn store, unless one had paid for a class.

I feel for you (and other yarn store workers) trying to navigate that fine line. I had a very bad experience in a Chicago yarn shop that turned me off the place for good. On my first visit, I couldn't get waited on because one of the employees was in deep kvetch with a group of regulars and snapped at me when I tried to ask a question. The other was so busy giving an on-the-spot tutorial to a customer who was trying to knit a sweater (but didn't know what "yo" meant) that she couldn't even look up.

The "Yarn Doctor Hours" idea seems to me a splendid one, I must say.

Carina said...

Having clerked in three different shops and planned to open my own shop for over five years now, I have to just say, "Amen! You rock!!"

Have I taught someone really quickly during a slow moment? Yes. Have I held a customer's hand all through a project only to have her get irate at any customer asking for my help? Yes (she was told in my best teacher voice to sit down and wait). Have I helped customers with projects obviously not bought there? Yes (every one went on to become good customers of the shop, oddly enough).

Still, there are days when it seems like every customer is trying to get everything for nothing. *sigh* I hated those days, but it was still better than teaching high school English. ;-)

I have only banned one student from ever taking a class of mine again, and that's because she took copious notes, called constantly in between classes, and then went on to teach the exact same class from her notes at a shop across town. She tried to say that she didn't know it was wrong (yeah, right), but I let her know that she will not be allowed in any class of mine again. (I wasn't the only one she did it to, either, so it wasn't a first offense.) Made me mad for ages . . .

Whitney said...

Thank you for a great read each and every time! I have become very aware of customer service in the past few years. My job requires me to take customer service training and it makes you aware of the crappy or good customer service you get at some places of business. My LYS is a great little shop and the owner is understanding, since I bring in patterns that I have printed from free knitting pattern sites. I also buy books and patterns from her store. The customer service that I receive from my LYS will keep me coming back.

Mel said...

The problem isn't unique to retail, either. I'm a veterinarian and encounter the same attitudes - people who want their pet seen RIGHT NOW & damn everyone else, people who don't understand that they can't just call us up and get takeout prescription drugs, people who get pissed off that they actually have to pay for the services they receive, and so on. The maxim for us is that 5% of your clients cause 95% of your headaches, so while you should be polite with them, it only perpetuates the problem to run behind them kissing their ass for the privilege of their abuse.

Molly said...

Agree agree agree with your main point.

Personally, I end up using a lot of online stores and sellers (my LYS is FANTASTIC but doesn't have some of the supercool sock yarn I covet). So I buy what I can at the LYS and try to, well, not get in their way. Other than the occasional "do you have X?" or sometimes "where is your Y?" I just smile, pay for my yarn, and get out of their hair. I think it's a good compromise - do you?

Sherry W said...

As far as things purchased at the LYS,
I don't think it's nice to walk in off the street and ask for services if you haven't been a customer there.

However, I think if someone is a regular paying customer, it should be overlooked. If I regularly give you money, an occasional five minute question on a non-store project is worth the shop's while.

What I object to is that some OTHER shops make you feel like a criminal if you bought 'foreign' yarn. Even if you just bring it in for knitting circle. Obviously all knitters buy yarn at other places, including the staff at the shops! Not every store can carry every yarn, or small maker yarn.

If I'm always at a LYS's register, I don't feel bad if yes, every now and then I'm tempted by ebay or a discounter. Who really only buys at one shop all the time?

Christina said...

Great post. I feel that these days customers in all kinds of retail places are feeling more and moe intititled. The theory of "the customer is always right" seems to give them the belief they can demand anything, and treat sales help as badly as they want.

I work at a movie theater, and last night had a woman belittling me over the phone telling me in a very sarcastic, demeaning tone that I wasn't understanding her. I was very tempted to tell her exactly what I thought of her, but I bit my tongue because I need my job.

Sad that this is what the world is coming to!

Anonymous said...

how do you feel about using a pattern from a library book? not xeroxed but not purchased and not violating any copyrights

is it different if you borrow a book from a friend?

emy said...

Maybe these days, a lot of people are so into getting things cheap that they fail to recognize that anything that does not come from the third world countries in a mass-produced form takes time and effort?