Saturday, March 10, 2007

"So, you're just a sock knitter??"

I'm not a yarn stasher. We all know this about me. I don't just buy yarn to buy yarn, no matter how much I love it. I know... I'm odd that way the knitting world. I generally just buy yarn with a certain project in mind, when I'm ready for it.

An exception to this is when I'm on vacation or a different city and have a chance to check out a new yarn store. I'll enjoy the thrill of buying something for no reason when I'm on vacation... but generally try to limit my purchases to yarns I can't find at my LYS. That's where I found myself this morning. That's when I had my first encounter with one of "those" yarn stores.

The hubby and I spent the night in Santa Barbara last night, and he left for a seminar this morning at 8:00 AM. So, knowing I'd have some time to myself in Santa Barbara I "googled" yarn stores, and found one. Oooh, and they have Koigu - something you can't get at my LYS. Sweet!

So I tell the hubby goodbye, and have two hours to kill before it opens. I drive around beautiful Santa Barbara for awhile, then decide to get some Starbucks and find a scenic place to park and knit for awhile. We had already been to the beach last night, so I decided to go up to the Mission.

It was gorgeous. I sat and knit for awhile, took some pictures, then decided to head off to the yarn store.

I should have known the second I walked in, the owner greets me with "What are you looking for?" No Hello, good morning, or anything like that. I want to tell her I just want to wander around and look at and touch everything, but I figure that may not be the way to go. So, I ask, "Do you have any Koigu?"

"Yes, it's over here with the sock yarn," she says - like I know where she keeps her sock yarn. Then she says, "So, you're just a sock knitter?"

I'm thinking, so what if I am? But, I say, no, I knit all kinds of things, shawls, sweaters, and even socks. That satisfies her and she leaves me alone for awhile while I wander around.

Second clue: Another lady walks in, is greeted with the oh-so-warm, "What are you looking for?" This new shopper asks if they carry any Cascade 220.

"Oh NO, dear. You can get that at any old craft store. I wouldn't carry that."

Hmph. I don't know what "craft stores" she goes to, but I've never seen Cascade at any of the craft stores I know of.

Besides, I just spent 45 minutes at the beautiful Santa Barbara Mission, knitting on my just-started Central Park Hoodie, marveling over the beauty of my Cascade 220 yarn and thinking to myself, "ya know.... Cascade is my comfort yarn.... I just love this stuff." This lady's totally ruining my knitting zen.

So, what do I do? Oy - I spend $40 on yarn I could have bought at my LYS. Oh, and some Koigu. The Koigu I can justify.... I can't get that readily.... but the Silky Wool? - they have that at my LYS.

I should have waited and given my money to Lois, at least she likes me and is polite.

I usually try not to complain about people. Maybe the shop owner was just having a bad morning... I don't know. But every time I look at this yarn it's gonna bother me.

She has a nice little shop, with some nice yarn. But, I won't be back.


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Maybe you should have asked her where the "any old craft store" that sells Cascade 220 is! Might have been the real find in Santa Barbara...yikes! I do hope she was just having a bad bad day. Hope the rest of the trip was great though!

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

Don't wonder how people like that stay in business? There's one LYS around here that I rarely enter (and if I do it's only to see a specific yarn they might have before I order it elsewhere) because the owner is soooo arrogant and condescending.

Yet there's always a table full of knitters sitting there spending a fortune getting help from this woman who keeps insisting that they can't do it without her. Ugh!

Oh well, the Koigu I can definitely understand. Enjoy it and forget about the merchant. But the Silky Wool... Oh, Lynda... ;)

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Beth said...

That's aggrevating!

I'm glad you had the time away at such a beautiful place. Your pictures are so pretty.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

There was a yarn store literally around the corner in Providence that I never went to, because of the attitude. I would drive 40 min (in New England!) to go to the friendlier one!

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

That's annoying! I've never seen Cascade 220 at any craft store either. (I love Cascade.) I wouldn't go back either.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Bad day or not, that's no way to treat your customers. "Just a sock knitter" - that offends me too!!! And I agree, there is no Cascade 220 at craft stores near me.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Diana said...

It's amazing that the LYS's mine included can get by with those kinds of attitudes. They ought to be bending over backwards cause we can get it all on the internet!
You will LOVE Koigu! I think it's my favorite. Paton's wool used to be at the yarn stores and now it's at AC Moore's but somehow I think it will be a long time before Cascades succombs to that! Fortunately for me I like Paton's better for felting anyway!

At 7:10 PM, Blogger ~Kristie said...

With customer service like that, I'm surprised they are still in business.

Just a sock knitter? I would've said why yes I am *just* a sock knitter and I was planning on buying $200 worth of your sock yarn, but with your attitude, I'm outta here".

At least that's what I fantasize I would say in a situation like that.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger mary said...

I agree with you. Nothin' like a rude shop person to ruin your yarn high! I probably would have left the store without buying stuff, like I did at Stitches at the rude booth. But then again, you're on vacation and want to commemmorate. I hope you can get past this snotty store to enjoy your silky wool.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Mmm. Yeah. Gotta love those people. My LYS Lady... yeah. Exactly like this person. EXACTLY. That's exactly how she greets people. It's awful. AND she doesn't carry Koigu.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Susanne said...

So with my big mouth, I would have suggested she ask..."are you looking for anything in particular?"...yikes what an awful greeting...and that "you're just a sock knitter?"...that is worse..
glad you found something but boy oh boy, I would have opened my big yap and told her, politely, what I gets me in trouble but I would have felt better...:)

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Katie said...

After thinking this over some more, I think this woman appears to have a need to label people and things. I mean, why is Koigu only a sock yarn? Has she never seen Charlotte's Web? And why does a knitter have to be married to a certain kind of project? Crazy. She is just crazy.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous heather said...

Geez. That really bugs me too! Sorry she soured your Koigu experience! You should have farted her store before you left, to stink it up real good. Give her a real reason to hate sock knitters. ;)

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

A yarn snob encounter, hey? Goodness, my LYS is a "fine" yarn store and carries the Cascade line. It's become one of my very favorites. And JUST a sock knitter? What is it with that lady?

At 6:02 PM, Blogger keohinani said...

haha...such will power. about the non-stashing.
can't go wrong with koigu. i think it's virtually impossible!
i never hesitate to say "just browsing!" i dislike overly "helpful" salespeople, but that usually does the trick.
they carry cascade 220 at my general craft store, ben franklin. but i don't know that anyone would be so high-nosed to make like ben franklin is BENEATH their store. she's just limiting her clientele with that attitude.
i do hate that feeling, though: the feeling of being pigeon-holed by other people because of what you're knitting. it was kind of like that when i went to that yarn store in vegas. the proprietor was nice enough, but i didn't like the way she tried to impress knitting other things besides socks on me. i know my abilities; i don't appreciate that other knitters make assumptions about me based on things i do or do not knit.
perhaps she was having a bad day, but i think someone should mention that her first impression to customers should not be that she's just there to find what they want. shopping in an LYS is much like going to the grocery store on an empty stomach.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger amylovie said...

Bad customer service with be the death of any yarn store. Knitters want that warm & snuggly feeling when they come in. Poo on her!


At 4:23 PM, Blogger Beatriz said...

I know this place & only dealt with them via phone order. I'll know to keep my Koigu investments in Santa Monica at that oh-so-chique yarn store now that I've read about your encounter. Of course, I'm not as nice as you. I've got quite a mouth!

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

JUST a sock knitter?!? I am offended on behalf of anyone who has ever knit a sock! Besides, Koigu is not just for socks. What a terrible yarn store experience (imagine belittling a Classic like Cascade 220).

At 12:42 AM, Anonymous Marsha said...

I don't like to be jumped on the second I step over their threshold, however, a smile and a simple "hi, let me know if I can help you find something" and actually HELP me when I'm ready for you would really be nice!! Customer service is really the only thing that sets a brick & morter shop apart from an internet shop. Basically, I spread my $$ around between 2 of my 3 LYS and several on the internet - especially the more Indie types.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Laura said...

What a surprise to click on your blog and see you were in my town! I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. Sadly, it's not uncommon. The store's name is the owner's nickname initials. She'll be the first to tell you what that first initial stands for. In my opinion, that's cursing yourself. We in SB all know she has a wonderful eye, great merchandising skills and no "people skills." If you're interested, a dear friend of mine recently opened a yarn store in SB. It is called Knit and Pearl and is simply beautiful. It is located in downtown SB and does not carry nearly the inventory, range or depth of you-know-who. She is just starting up and has a nice selection of sock yarn -- Claudia Handpaints, Lorna's Laces, Trekking and more. Trust me, you'll love the ambiance. And will be treated kindly. We knitters in SB know what we are walking into when we go into you-know-who's store and try to help Knit and Pearl whenever we can. By the way, in SB? Cascade 220 is sold in a "craftstore" whose yarn selection includes Crystal Palace, GGH, Classic Elite and more. They are clearly in need of someone who "knows yarn" yet they expect to find someone to fill the position paying "craftstore" wages. It is a fine place to shop if you don't need anyone to help you! There are great shops in Solvang and Ventura. Next time you come to SB, email me and we can knit and take a tour of the other stores!

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Holly said...

UGH! The gall! To cast aspersions on my beloved Cascade?!? Shame, shame. My LYSO is something like that. SHe calls her shop "a high end yarn shop" Puhleeze.
Gladly, I found another one in a nearby town that is simply lovely. The owner is helpful and friendly and best of all, has the wonderful selection of yarns arranged by color. A visual treat!

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Lorette said...

My LYS, exactly. Very few of the knitters I know actually shop there anymore because the owner is so snippy.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger dorothee said...

Sounds like customer service in Germany... We're "blessed" with an attitude like that on a regular basis.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger JustApril said...

I bet she doesn't even know what Cascade is. She probably thinks it's novelty yarn. It's sad when a person tries to be a yarn snob while being undereducated - pshaw, darlin! what are yew thankin?

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