Is the craft store dead?

I discussed this with a few friends this week, but since I decided that I’m taking on a lot of the crafting, painting, glueing, and marrying for my wedding, I’ve spent a good bit of time, and a little bit of money at craft stores.

The past two weeks I’ve hit up some weird little scrap exchange in the area, a JoAnn’s Fabrics in North Raleigh and one in Cary, and a Michaels in Cary, and all of the experiences have been similarly discouraging.

The experience goes a little something like this. I walk into the craft store, and look around for a second before I realize I’m completely lost and I don’t know where anything is.  I contemplate asking one of the old women walking around where the section is for the buttons, for the wedding stuff, and for the ribbon, but they all look pretty busy.

Okay, find someone who can help.  So I look for someone in a smock by wandering for a few minutes before I decide that I’m wasting time by aimlessly wandering, and I head to the register, where I wait for the associate to finish up before I ask where the buttons are, for starters.

“They’re on 18B”

I think to myself, where is 18b.  What is an 18b?  I look at the associate sort of desperately, and I spread my hands out, and ask, “So is that…like 18b, where would you say I should head to find that?”

The associate points, almost wordlessly, and I start to count aisles as I try to navigate the Wal-Mart of crafting.  I repeat this at every big box craft store I go to, until, horribly upset two Saturdays ago, I almost dissolve into tears.  Austin could immediately tell that something was wrong.

What happened to customer service?

I work in retail, so I get it.  You don’t always feel like helping some idiot, but guess what, sometimes YOU are the idiot.  So you treat customers the way you’d like to be treated.  When a customer asks where something is, you don’t point, you don’t ignore them, and you certainly don’t huff and puff like you’ve got better things to be doing.  And yes, I’m talking about you, rude lady at the Michael’s in Cary who couldn’t be bothered to tell me where the floral wire was without rolling your eyes.

Collector’s Corner of NC

So yesterday, totally frustrated, and not completely willing to buy everything online without getting to hold/touch it first, I went to Collector’s Corner in Wendell, NC, where a friend had sent me in order to collect buttons, brooches, and little doodads for my button bouquets.  And not only was it small, the owner/operator, Laura Wagner was actually nice to me, accommodating, and pulled out a bag of buttons, and boxes and boxes of brooches for the bouquets.

photoHere were some of my finds.  Laura is pricing them for me, and additionally, with each paycheck, I will be down at her place to give her business, and to collect little bottles, suitcases, vintages razors and other odds and ends for the wedding.  Michaels, JoAnns, and other crappy big box stores be damned, I found a place where they actually would love to have my business for our wedding.   (Also check this place out, because it’s the tits!)



17 thoughts on “Is the craft store dead?

  1. I worked for about a week in the Michaels in Garner- awful place. Their customer service is awful, and they do not support you actually being useful to your client. I got reprimanded for taking a woman to the ribbon she needed. I can typically find a wider selection, better quality, and cheaper price online- so I highly suggest that option.

    1. Good to know. Also really annoying when you’re not sure what you’re looking for, but I will not be going back there under any other circumstances. It was way too stressful.

    1. My mom is an avid knitter as well. She had a stroke last year, so she’s just getting back to where she can knit like she used to. I’m trying to convince her to open up an etsy store because her stuff is honestly SO good!

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