Everyone, I just concluded a long series of e-mail exchanges with a good friend of mine in another Metro Detroit knit shop. She had forwarded a newsletter to me from yet another shopkeeper-in-distress, this time in northern Michigan. Shops are comparing notes. And here is what we are learning. Now, this may be how things have to be. But if you think it does NOT have to be this way, do what you can to support local yarn shops. There is simply no substitute for face-to-face talk, for face-to-face instruction, and for actual TOUCHING of yarns. Here is what we experience:
* People buy yarn on line and then come into shops to have it wound into balls. (!!!)
* People buy yarn on line and then come into shops to get help with a pattern they downloaded.
* Customers come into shops (I had one two days ago) to find out what they like, copy down the yarn name and color, then go away and buy it on line. lt might be cheaper by a few cents. But you should at least think about the fact that a website has very little overhead.
* Customers buy yarn from us, then download free patterns, can't understand them or find mistakes, give up, and try to return yarn that no longer has labels. People learn to hate knitting when there is a bad pattern. Remember that it's not the yarn's fault, and that shops will help you fix a bad pattern or sell you a good one.
* Customers (this is a common one) get on YouTube for instruction, need more help because the video was too fast or not very good, and then get mad because a shop want to charge for help. Five bucks is usually all it takes. Why? In my shop, one woman said, "Well, You Tube is free." That's pretty hard to dispute.
I could go on and on. I have to say I'm troubled. Fiber-arts people are incredibly honest, nice, good people. In all of the years of business, we have had only one bounced check, and t hat was from a scam artist known to the police. I love fiber people. It's only that we need to think about our choices before making them, and agree not to ask things of LYS's that are unfair and even costly.
OK? Knit on and Stay Calm.