This is not yuck. This is good…a skein of Pagewood Farm Chugiak in Plum ( to knit Ysolda Teague’s Damson) and  a copy of the All New Homespun Handknit. This part I was planning on today.


This is the yuck.

Nothing against Rowan Wool Cotton, or even the celery color. Perfectly nice yarn, perfectly nice color. But it’s not what I wanted and it’s the situation that required the purchase that makes it a yuck.

Knittykid had a birthday party today, and I had a coupon to use, so I took advantage of being without a rowdy three year old and hit a LYS.

Little Man was whiny and annoyed about being there, but he was fine. Spinner was secured in the backpack, so I picked out my skein of yarn, looked through the books and grabbed my favorite and had about $10 to spend to be able to use my coupon. As I looked over the tweeds, I felt something dragging behind me. Spinner had grabbed the Rowan off the shelf and pulled the label off, with the ball beginning to unwind.

As I reigned it in, thinking it could easily be put back together, an employee held out her hand, “Here,” she said and proceeded to wind it up while making small talk. “Nope. I’m going to have to put this in the sale bin.” She sounded annoyed. I thought I could have wound it up and made it look like new,or at least pretty close.

But, not wanting to be “that” customer, I told her I could buy it if I needed to. It’s my kid, and he did mess it up. That’s when it got weird. She just handed the ball to me. No “thanks for doing that, I know it’s hard shopping with kids but we appreciate you buying the skein”  or even just a “thanks” or better, what I was hoping for, “thanks, but don’t worry about it.” Just this weird vibe that I was this annoying customer who dared to think her one year old was safe from all yarn in a back carrier. No empathy at all, which just made me feel embarrassed and dumb.

At the counter, I still got the cold shoulder. When the other employee rang it all up she asked the yarn winding employee if it was a sale yarn. She just replied no, and I told her that my son grabbed it off the shelf and it unwound a bit, so I guess I needed to buy it, in kind of a half laughing but half yeah-this-sucks voice. Again, no comment at all.

It was the no comment on the situation that made me feel so dumb. Shopping with kids is tough, and as much as parents try to avoid it sometimes it’s what you’ve got to do. The Twin Cities is a pretty kid friendly place, and this yarn store has usually been good when I’m there with my kids. They even have a basket of toys, which to me says that yes, you can bring the little ones in. So the vibe there today really threw me. I was already annoyed about the yarn, and while it would have been nice for them to say “no worries, you don’t need to buy it” I’m fine with buying it if that’s what I needed to do. It was an accident but it was still my kid.

But, had it been my yarn shop, I think first up I would have said no worries, and given the mom the option to not buy it, because for me I’d rather lose the $2 I’d knock off the price to not have some poor mother feel like an idiot. And then if she did still insist on buying it, jeeze, I’d at least say thanks!! And give her a little love. Instead I just got the Minnesota passive aggressive vibe. That’s what made the whole experience a big “yuck.” Not that Spinner messed up a skein of yarn and I had to buy it (like I said, my kid, my responsibility) but it was the total lack of empathy, or a “thanks for doing that” which made me leave and feel like I don’t ever want to go back, I don’t care how much Malabrigo and indie sock yarn they have.

Now, to give the benefit of the doubt, maybe I’m being too sensitive. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Maybe instead of sounding like the “tired, slightly frazzled but still friendly mom” I came across as the “tired and bitchy mom.” But, I’m pretty sure I was nice. And I know I was trying my best, and I know I did not let my one year old loose to run about the shop and rip all the yarn off the shelves. And yes my six year did complain a bit too loud at times and he did put a skein of yarn on his head and say “look mom! I have green hair!” But the green yarn was undisturbed and he stopped when I asked him. So in terms of a mom with two kids in a yarn store I thought we did pretty darn good overall, up until the yarn grab.

So there, end of the yucky Rowan saga. End of rant, I feel better now. It’s been a long day, The Skeptic is on an 18 hour workday, which is one of the reasons I feel the need to rant about this a bit, so thanks for sticking with me if you read to the end. Now, all three boys are asleep. Keep your fingers crossed that they stay asleep so I can have a quiet evening of knitting and recover from this very long day…

Now, anyone want to buy a skein of Rowan? 😉



Filed under shopping

17 responses to “Yuck

  1. That really is yuck. I’m sorry to hear about your poopy LYS experience. I hope you can find a great one skein project for that yarn.

  2. What a horrible sales person – I’m sure it happens frequently and is their business really that good that they can afford to lose customers? Hope you can make something lovely with it anyway.

  3. That does suck. Technically, they should have insurance to cover any damages caused by customers (or their kids). And you’re right–what is $2 in the way of good customer relations? I think it’s easy for people to forget the big picture.

    Once I went into a LYS with my son when he was 3 years old. I was with my SIL, so our ratios were good–2 adults per 1 kid who was really excited to get to come to the yarn store. We just walked through the door and one of the owners gave him a LOOK, I can’t quite describe it, but like she KNEW he was going to tear the place up. His behavior was fine, but it was years before I went back there again.

    I’d love to ask where you went, but I’m going to refrain, since I’m sure it was just a bad employee. If it happens again (or it was the owner), let me know, though, please. Really, any place that sells primarily to women had better have a good working relationship with children.

  4. Super yuck, and super sorry that you had to go through that. I think it would be worth a note to the owner. Maybe send her/him a link to your blog post??

    Poor customer service = no customers.

  5. Amy

    Is it something in the air? There’s a farmstand near me where the owner, who I’m sure is a hard worker and probably exhausted, is still (in my mind) inexcusably rude. She lashed out at an old lady the other day. Granted, the old lady was being cranky too–but she was the customer, and in retail, you should always, always try to play nice.

  6. You could always dye it with Kool-aid and make a hat. What a bummer that you had to buy it, and without even a discount!

  7. Jess

    Oh gosh, that’s just not good. I have an idea of which shop it was, but maybe that’s just because there’s one shop where I always get *the look* when I go in with my kids and they sell the yarns you bought.

  8. Guinifer

    How rude! You’re still a customer! In this economy they need all the customers they can get!

  9. tracy_a

    I agree – yuck. And I might let the owner know that the salespeople were not very friendly to you as a mom with small children. I always try to make it right when I take my kids with me – try to not let them get out of hand and what not, but things happen. And I have never been made to feel a burden as a customer. Would definitely give me “not shopping there again” vibes, and perhaps the owner would care to know. Love our LYS.

  10. Oh, that’s yucky; I’d be upset, too. It’s not like you were bringing the kids with you because you wanted to…most knitters would prefer to shop for yarn by themselves, am I right?? If I worked at a yarn store and saw someone come in with a kidlet (or two) I’d offer my help right away while simultaneously directing the kids to the toy basket. Bummer.

  11. I love that Pagewood Farms yarn – mostly been using Yukon but I wouldn’t say no to the Chugiak!

    As for the shopping – if this experience is going to keep you from shopping there again (or even for a while), I’d shoot an email about the experience to the owner.

    Every business owner wants to know if an employee has done something to interfere with a purchase. And the clerk has, even if all it made you do is to hesitate to go back there again. I am sure you could discuss it is a non-confrontational way.

    I asked my husband who runs his own marketing business about this and he said absolutely, he would want to know.

  12. Seems to me that if you run a yarn store, your main clientele are going to be women. We all know that for the majority of time, women have kids around them.

    There is someone like this at my LYS, so much so that it has stopped me from going back. It’s not any particular thing, but it never feels good to feel unwelcome where you’re spending money and trying to get one thing. You already feel like you’re interfering with the kids there, why do they try to make you feel worse?

    I’m going to have to check out this pagewood farm… why are they using AK names?

  13. That stinks!!!
    You know what I don’t understand, is when people like that have yarn stores…isn’t that supposed to be a place of comfort and creativity?
    Kick me if I am wrong.

    If they have things that they would like children not to touch then place it higher up on the shelf or go open a shoestore or something.

    I have 4 children and it is very common they want to smell and touch the skeins(as they do at home) because they are soft and smell good.
    I think these women really handled themselves unprofesionally.

    …just dive into the good.

  14. missscarlett

    That is yuck!
    It’s bad because it was 2 salespeople.
    If it was one, well…maybe she has some really bad stuff going on in her own life.

    I guess it’s possible she could be bringing down the other lady but still…ONE of them could have said thank you!
    You were doing the decent thing – not something everyone would do and they could have graciously acknowledged that.

    I guess you have the cold comfort of knowing you set a good example for both of your children?
    That and the support of other knitters online!

  15. Ouch. And yuck. I’ve encountered this attitude more than once in a store I loved before I had children with me. Guess what? I don’t go there anymore EVER. It’s not just good business to be kind; it’s good living.

  16. Can you say passive-aggressive?
    Sorry to hear it. I wish I could say that I’ve never experienced such behavior from a yarn store but I can’t. Whether you are shopping with children or shopping alone, service at a lys is always hit or miss. I know they hate having this reputation but unfortunately, they have earned it. If you’re serious about wanting to sell it, I will buy it from you, as is, my cat has done worse to yarn than unravel it.

  17. Sorry to hear about your poor experience. Personally I would write a letter to the owner of the store and sound your voice. Without customers, this yarn store would not be able to be there. Since they do have a spot for children, it is assumed that moms with kids are welcome and an incident such as you experienced with your little one is not atypical. Part of the daily business. I would also mention the clerk’s/worker’s name if you know it. Letting this “go” should not be an option. Customers are precious and businesses are all struggling. This business needs to be reminded how special each customer is to it’s continued existence.

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