The Fabric Of My Vocation

, , , | | Right | May 20, 2018

Me: “Welcome to our fabric store. Is there any way I can help you?”

Customer: “I pick out fabrics, I bring it up to you, you cut it, and then I pay you?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. That’s pretty much my job description.”

(She seemed genuinely confused at how buying stuff works.)

They Know “Who” You Are

, , , , , | Working | April 10, 2018

(I have anxiety and, in an effort to help myself be more sociable, I have sewn myself a purse using a nerdy fabric print, knowing it will probably catch another nerd’s eye. A new fabric store has opened in the area a month ago, and my husband has taken me to grab a few things I need for projects. As I’m browsing, one of the employees who is putting back bolts of fabric nearby suddenly gasps loudly. I give her a startled look and she claps one hand over her mouth. She takes her hand away from her mouth and smiles.)

Employee #1: “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you like that.” *she pauses before continuing excitedly* “Your Doctor Who purse is really cool! We have that exact same print over there!” *points to the other end of the shelf*

(I stand there like a deer in the headlights for a moment, then take a deep breath and smile at her.)

Me: *timidly* “Th-thanks.” *clears throat and speaks louder* “I made it myself using a free pattern I found online.”

Employee #1: *wide-eyed stare* “You made that?!” *she reaches for my purse but stops herself short* “Can I get a closer look?”

Me: “Sure.”

(I hand her my purse and she turns it over in her hands, admiring my craftsmanship, then promptly gives it back.)

Employee #1: *smiling brightly* “That’s a really nice purse! And it’s so much cooler because you made it yourself.”

Me: *smiling and blushing* “Do you want to see the lining fabric? It’s Doctor Who, too, but a different print.”

Employee #1: *excitedly* “Yes, please!”

(I unzip my purse and show her the interior fabric, and she squeals with delight.)

Employee #1: “That’s a really cool fabric!” *her face falls* “We don’t have that one, though.”

Me: “Yeah, my husband bought it for me on clearance when [Other Fabric Chain] went out of business. I think you guys sell it online, but you can get it cheaper from [Online Fabric Retailer].”

Employee #1: “That’s really cool!”

(Another employee comes over, obviously drawn by her coworker’s exuberance.)

Employee #2: *smiling at me* “Is something wrong?”

Employee #1: *grabbing her coworker’s arm and shaking it excitedly* “She made her purse! I know people come here to buy things to make stuff, but I’ve never seen one of them with a handmade purse as cool as hers.”

Employee #2: *noticing my purse* “Oh, that is pretty cool. It’s Doctor Who, right? I don’t really watch the show, but that is a really great purse.”

Me: *blushing* “Thanks.”

Employee #2: *to her coworker* “Don’t forget that you’re working.”

(That employee’s reaction made my day. I go into the store at least once a month now and every time she sees me, she asks what new project I’m working on. And she’s made sure to point me out to her coworkers with an exclamation of, “See her? She’s the one who made the ‘Doctor Who’ purse!”)

You Can’t Safely Pin Down This Kind Of Crazy

, , , | Right | April 6, 2018

(A customer comes in with fabric she has already purchased from us. She has taken it home and marked the measurements for her pattern on the fabric with safety pins. She asks me to cut out her pattern for her, something I cannot do for several reasons, the simplest being it isn’t a service our store offers. After explaining the multiple reasons why, this happens:)

Customer: “I need you to cut my fabric because it’s 58″ wide and I don’t have 58″ scissors at home.”

Me: *looking at her with the most dumbfounded expression on my face* “I don’t have 58″ scissors either. I use these.” *holding up a pair of normal, nine-inch dressmaker shears*

Customer: “Well, what am I supposed to use?”

(I gesture to the six feet of wall space devoted to sewing scissors in all of their glory.)

Customer: “I just spent over $100 on fabric and you’re going to make me buy scissors?!”

(She then decides that, since I won’t cut her pattern for her, she is going to return the fabric.)

Customer: “I will buy my fabric at [Craft Store that doesn’t sell fabric] where they do this for me all the time.”

(While I’m remeasuring the fabric for the return, the customer then starts grabbing the safety pins she’s used to mark her cuts.)

Customer: “These are mine! You can’t keep them!”

(And this is why we are always hiring. No one puts up with this much crazy for long.)

Never Free From The Three

, , , , , | Right | March 26, 2018

(A customer wants to buy a couple of pieces of fabric she’s found in our remnant bin. Remnants are supposed to half the price, but seeing as there’s a half-price sale on, I give her a further discount.)

Me: “You can have that piece for $3.”

Customer: “How much?”

Me: “$3.”

Customer: *questioning* “$3?”

Me: “Yes, $3.”

Customer: “How much?”

Me: “Three. Dollars.”

Customer: “That fabric’s usually $6.”

Me: “No, it’s $12.99 usually.”

Customer: “How much?”

Me: “Full price is $12.99.”

Customer: “No, how much do I get it for?”

Me: “$3, which is less than you should be paying for this length.”

Customer: “$3?”

Me: “Yes, $3.”

Customer: “How much was it?”

Next Customer: “$12.99; she’s already told you.”

Customer: “Oh… So, how much for that piece?”

(She hands me another fabric that is over-sized to be a remnant. I haven’t seen this fabric before; it’s a new one.)

Me: *after looking at the fabric* “This is soiled; you can have it for $3, as well.”

Customer: “Soiled?”

Me: “It’s got dirty marks on it.”

(She then stands for a couple of minutes, looking at the mark over and over.)

Customer: “Okay, I’ll take it. How much?”

Me: “$3; $6 for both”

Customer: “$6?”

Me: “YES, SIX!”

(She finally paid. She does this every time, trying to get extra discounts.)

Sew It Seams

, , , , | Right | March 5, 2018

(I have had some variation of this conversation more times than I ever would have expected.)

Customer: “Hey, I have this project I’m making, but I don’t want to sew it.”

Me: “No problem! We have some fabric glues I can show you.”

Customer: “Actually, I thought I’d just use Velcro.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Do you need the seam to open?”

Customer: “No, I just want it to stay together.”

Me: “And… how are you planning to attach the Velcro to the fabric?”

Customer: “Um…”

Me: “You would have to either sew it or use fabric glue. And if you don’t need it to open, you might as well save yourself the step.”

Customer: *pause* “Where is the fabric glue, again?”

(I guess Velcro isn’t as intuitive as I thought!)

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