A Fabric Shopper’s Code of Conduct
I wrote a little manifesto about fabric stores cutting yardage. But to be fair, as a customer there are rules we need to adhere to also.
I’ve worked plenty of retail in my life, and let me tell you – it’s TOUGH. I’ve had some terrible customer service at stores before. But then again, I’ve experienced and witnessed some truly indecent treatment of employees. So to play fair, here’s my Code of Conduct for us shoppers as we build our fabric stash.
(and note – the manifesto and code of conduct for yarn shops is slightly different.)
- Be friendly. If you can’t be friendly, be kind. If you can’t be kind, be respectful. If you can’t be respectful, be polite. These are human beings that work at the store. Just like me. Just like you.
- Be patient. I know it stinks when someone is getting 14 single yard cuts in line in front of you…but that stuff happens. Huffing and puffing in line doesn’t make anyone work any faster.
- Recognize limits. Keeping stock is costly. Buying merchandise is an artform and every store has its own style and priorities. If the shop you’re at doesn’t have what you want, don’t throw a fit.
- Be creative. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people upset because every exact fabric in the store sample is no longer in stock. Things sell out…especially when a pretty sample is displayed. And it’s not like the store owner is going to take down a great sample just because a few of the prints sold out. For goodness sake, you’re crafting! Get innovative. And heck, chances are the employees would be happy to help you find a nice alternative if you just ask.
- Don’t hog the help. It’s one thing if you’re the only customer in the store…but on a busy day, be cognizant of your fellow shopper’s and the employee’s mandate to try to help everyone. Sure, it’s nice to have a second opinion as you select 20 prints for your heritage project. But it’s awkward for the employee when you drag them from corner-to-corner with you while you shop.
- Have clean hands! The best thing about shopping in a store is feeling up the fabric. The tactile reward of strolling through a shop and touching all the pretties is wonderful. So please don’t mess it up for those who come after you by leaving your Slurpee remnants behind. And if your store has a no food/no drink policy, please respect it.
- Finally, don’t steal. Sure, this one is obvious, right? But I’ve seen stores go out of business because they simply couldn’t handle the “shrinkage.” Shoplifters do very real damage to the store owner and our crafting community at large.
And for those of us who shop a lot online too…
- Pay promptly! It’s a hassle to track stock and sales and shipping. Don’t order until you’re ready to pay.
- Communicate. I find the vast majority of store owners are very friendly and more than happy to describe a product, put together a bundle, or make custom cuts if you just ask. And make sure you ask your questions before you buy. It’s a lot easier to ask ahead of time than figure out how to return later.
- If you have a problem with your order, try to talk/email the owner first. Mistakes happen to the best of us. Leaving negative feedback without trying to find a resolution directly with the seller probably won’t solve anything and you can leave a good seller who made an oops with an unfair blemish on their record.
- Research your seller. If the seller doesn’t have any feedback, buy at your own risk. If the seller has negative feedback, take that into account. And remember…if it’s too good to be true…it’s too good to be true.
Phew! All this laying down of the rules makes me sound like a harridan. Really, I’m not that much of a hard-ass. And to think, all of this started because I got a half-yard cut that was only 16″ wide.
Any store owners out there? I’m interested to see if I hit the mark at all with this list. I can remember what it used to be like as a worker…but that was years ago in a different industry. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can make your life easier (thereby giving you more time to stock fabulous fabric!)