The Free Motion Quilting Project: Prices Please!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prices Please!

It's Sunday, so please allow me a little rant...well, maybe not so little...about something that really infuriated me this weekend.

Yesterday Josh and I took James to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This is now a huge festival covering 22 acres and is full to the brim with jousting, caroling, and everything you can imagine being at a Ren Fest.

Unfortunately this also means there were crowds and crowds of people. It was so packed in some places, I swore I could be standing in line at Disney world, not in a dusty field in Concord, NC.

Keeping up with a 3.5 year old in that kind of crowd is not easy and within 3 hours, 4 swing rides, a turkey leg, and bread bowl, Josh and I were fed up and ready to go home.

But leaving Ren Fest without buying something from the 200 or so shops full to the brim with beautiful gifts, handmade clothing, sterling sliver jewelry, or blown glass is just unthinkable.

Josh had managed to pop into a shop and buy a new leather mug while James and I were waiting in line for again for the flying dragon ride, but I hadn't really had time to look at anything other than James and the next opening in the crowd we could squeeze through.

So on the way out, when I spied a weaver shop full of beautiful, hand woven garments, I decided I simply had to look and would possibly go home with one. I knew and expected them to be expensive (hello! I am a quilter here!), so I walked into the shop looking for something I liked.

And I found two things right off the bat: a beautiful woven cloak complete with cloak pin that was woven in dark red yarn and black, giving it a bold, bright look, and a shawl in a similar color.

I live in shawls through the winter and usually wear them as wide scarves, and then pull them down around my arms when I take my jacket off in a restaurant. Both pieces were simply gorgeous and I really wanted to try them on.

But here's the thing, I really like to know how much a garment costs before I start taking it off the hook. I just think it's a good idea so just in case I get the edges dirty and HAVE to buy it, I know what I'm getting myself into.

There has to be a psychology behind it because as soon as I pick up something that doesn't have a price on it, I immediately lose interest. It's like I'm subconsciously assuming the seller doesn't really want to sell because if she did, there would be a price on it!

Looking around, there was not a price tag or list to be found in the whole shop! If I wanted something, I would have to ask for every single individual price! What an incredibly stupid limit to business!

But here's the worse part: the shop keeper was neither friendly nor helpful. In fact, she was downright insulting.

When asked if she had a price list for her shop, something I could carry around and use to get more familiar with the garments, types of materials, and cost, she looked at me like I was a particularly annoying idiot and answered in the most condescending way possible.

As my eyebrows rose and the look on my face was probably telling her exactly what I thought of her, she proceeded to explain that nothing was marked and that SHE was the price list. If I wanted a price, I would have to ask for it.

This was so incredibly stupid for so many reasons:

Woven garments of this type are extremely expensive, costing around $260 for a nice cloak and $100 for a shawl. People are not going to shell out this kind of money unless they know what they are buying - such as these are garments made in the US, by this really sweet, wonderful woman, and made with only wool from her cute sheep.

Garments, just like our quilts, don't sell because people JUST like the garment or quilt, but because the buyer likes the garment and us and wants to take something home to remember the experience with.

The woman in the shop was setting up her shop to be incredibly user-unfriendly and entirely dependent on her. What if she wanted to go get something to eat or run to the privy? Who could run the shop with no prices on anything?

Worse yet, she prejudged me the second she saw me.

Yes, I look younger than I actually am. Most people who see me in person think I'm around 18 - 20, not 27. And because I haven't tattooed "professional quilter" to my forehead, she probably didn't think I knew anything about fine handcrafts or the prices that should be charged.

Prejudging a potential customer is about the most ridiculously stupid thing a business owner can do.

One of my very best customers ever was a man at a quilt show who was not buying for his wife or daughter and definitely a quilter in his own right.

He was used to being treated like he was a second class citizen at most quilt shops, but when he came to my booth, I treated him just like everyone else and we talked in depth about free motion quilting. In the end, he walked away happily convinced and inspired to try it.

I was fully expecting the woven garments to be around $100 - $300 and if I found something I liked and had been treated with respect, I would have been more than happy to shell it out.

So that's my rant: price your wares if they are for sale, and try not to prejudge your customers, even if they don't look like someone who could afford or understand your products.

Have any of you experienced a similar situation? Any twenty-somethings tired of being asked if we're attending with our mothers? Share your rant in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. are so right! I had a similar experience in a jewelry shop on vacation....the woman 'assumed' I was not able to afford anything, so she actually followed me around to every case, and kept showing and pushing at me the cheap touristy crap! I always buy a special piece of jewelry on vacation, so when I wear it I can remember my wonderful time there. And it's never cheap or touristy!

    But I just couldn't tolerate her hovering over me, so I started to leave! And she had the nerve to say "Oh, too pricey for you, huh?" Wow! Talk about rude! Of course, I walked right out of her shop and into the next one, and splurged! I'm not the sort to invite confrontation, or I would have marched right back into her place and showed off what I found next door! But that's not me!

    Just makes me crazy when people are rude, with no understanding of customer service or appreciation that you even walked into their shop!

    Thanks for my little rant! That felt good!

    Love your designs....I've used many in my quilts....and your videos are perfect! And I NEED to make that Thai Fried Rice! Yum!

    regan :o)

  2. I am right there with you. My MIL often has yard sales and refuses to put prices on things. It is because she likes to gauge the interest level of the buyer and make an estimate of how much she thinks she can get out of them. So tacky!! We always (in a friendly way!) fight over this. When I go into a store or a stand and I don't see prices, or I see the owner haggling over prices, I feel manipulated and I leave without buying anything. It just isn't worth it for me.

  3. You wonder why some people bother to have a "shop" in whatever format, if they so obviously dislike selling or customers! Recently experienced similar. I expect the attitude was "if you have to ask you can't afford". The scene from Pretty Woman always springs to mind... big mistake, huge!!! If I have to ask, I won't bother, no sale for you. On this occasion having recently had a significant birthday, I was intending to make a purchase, with price a small part of the consideration for a piece to be special for me. So I did buy from someone who was very happy to share the joy of making, which added to my pleasure of buying and my long term pleasure of the item. Yes there is a definite art to being a seller... but shooting yourself in the foot before you start... why?
    PS printed off the e-book today, going to spiral bound for ease of use. Incidentally as a machine embroiderer, I know stippling as Vermicelli, and its because I only ever used this, that I started reading your blog!!

  4. I am also 27 and I also look a lot younger than I am. I deal with these same issues of ageism all the time.

    I won't go to my 'local' quilt shop anymore because every time I go in there they look at me like I'm lost and couldn't possible know what to do with quilt fabric.

    They ask me if I am sure I know that what I am looking at is $9 a yard or if I am sure I know what to do with paper hexagons. They ask me what I will use it for and are surprised when I pull out a well pieced block. I feel so insulted and judged there. It's sad. They don't treat my mother in law or aunt like that but even dropping their names doesn't help me get better treatment.

    The local shop isn't the only culprit. Many shops I've been to treat me and my friends my age poorly. They don't know that I am the founder of my local modern quilt guild, that I have a quilting blog, that in less than 2 years (even though I work full time) I've made 17 full sized quilts and many more quilted projects in my spare time.

    I didn't give up on shopping local because I knew that there had to be a quilt shop out there for me. I'm happy to report that I did find one about 30 minutes from my house. They are excited to see me, they are nice to me, they are interested in what I am working on, they are helpful, and they carry fabric I like.

    I often think about why older women in this industry treat us youngsters differently. Is it pride? Is it snobbery? Is is fear? I don't know.

    I love Mahatma Gandhi's quote 'you must be the change you wish to see in the world' and work hard to live my life that way. I treat people the way I want to be treated and hope that one day it will make a difference.

  5. I'm soooooo with you on this! I'm a very young-looking 45, but have been quilting for 22 years. (And sewing since my foot could finally reach the pedal!)

    I get it all but the thing that annoys me the most is the unsolicited advice offered nearly every time I am caught perusing fabric at a shop or show. I tend to be a slow, thoughtful, chooser and am constantly approached by "older" ladies who assume I am a beginner needing help. I get comments such as, "You need more contrast" or "those fabrics will never work together" or they just chuckle and roll their eyes as they notice what I'm collecting for a project. This is precisely why I have never joined a guild. I don't want to be judged all the time - even this many years later. I just love to quilt. Period.

    I don't get why one has to act like a snob just to be taken seriously in the world of fabric??????

  6. I feel your pain. I'm a 40-something, but have always looked very young for my age. My husband was continually teased for "robbing the cradle", and still get carded in dark places where people can't see my gray hair :-O. And yes, often in quilt stores I'm ignored (if only they knew...). When I worked in hospitals, patients would often ask for someone else to care for them, or call me a "candy striper". Hang in there. As you get older it'll be your ultimate revenge ;-)...

  7. I look younger than my age (Esp when I was in my 20's) and experienced something like this at my local quilting shop. I went in there looking for a specific ruler for rotary cutting. I was given the once over and told I should just get it at Joann Fabric. If I wanted to to to Joann Fabric, I would have gone there. I wanted to support a local shop. I was basically shoo-ed out of the store. At first I thought it was because I had my then 2 year old daugher with me. However, I went back there another time by myself and was treated the same way. They refused to help me at all and were more interested in socializing than helping me. I've never set foot in the store again. I'm not going to beg someone to take my money. Sometimes it feels like it is just too much to expect the tiniest amount of respect.

  8. I know what you mean about pricing - it really annoys me if I have to ask about everything! To me this woman shows a lack of respect towards you, and therefore towards the value of her own work. I would have walked away too!

  9. I'm well pass that age, and even when I was younger I always looked older (at 12 I looked 17, etc.) but I can rant for my daughter. Up until very recently (she's pregnant now) everyone always thought & treated her like she was 16/17, even though she is now 26. Especially when shopping...they just assumed she was a teenager & not really interested in buying anything. I actually won't even consider buying anything if it doesn't have a price tag on it. I always feel like, if I ask someone & then it's too high, I'll be uncomfortable saying no thanks. So if there's no price....I just leave. I also hate rude service of any kind & wonder how such people can manage to stay in business.

    Chester, NY

  10. I've had that happen too many times as well, but I guess in a different way-and I'm talking craft fair, garage sale, you name it. But I've always gotten the impression the price is made up on the spot. And, since being young is definitely not my problem, I sometimes get the high-end price! I once overheard a price quoted on an item only to be quoted a higher price when I inquired. I actually confronted the discrepancy and got some senseless lame reason. And I would have paid the higher price gladly as it was something I did want, but had to leave out of principle! I got a lot of satisfaction knowing the buyer with the lesser price quoted didn't didn't buy it either!

  11. I definitely agree with you. I am a vendor at craft shows and I always have price tags or signs with prices for everything. Lots of time, people want to see the price right off the bat so they will know if they can afford it or not. They feel embarrassed having to ask. I don't like it when I go somewhere like that either.

  12. When I am able to be polite ;-) I say, "Have we met?" (no) "Then I'm sure you don't know me well enough to judge me or the size of my bank account." Sometimes the recipient gets my point. Other times, I get to use my woefully underutilized "flounce out the door" move.

    As for the helpfulness aka rudeness of some 'older' quilters, as a quilt shop manager I've observed that this type of women seem to have that superiority - condescension thing going on no matter what the subject matter is.

  13. Hi Leah! Boy you hit a nerve with many of us today!! :) Excellent thought process and holds so true, I am older of course so do not feel judged about the age issue but the prices and customer service of many is HORRIBLE!! They either are not willing to price items simply as another implied you are judged by how you appear and what they think you can or will spend, Or rather than talking TO potential customers they talk AT or DOWN TO and that just irritates me to no end to be dumbed down...grrrr ya thanks for the rant and rave today.

    Hope you have a fun evening with the family and a great upcoming week

  14. My daughter is an artist, and she is 25. She bought a watercolor and wanted it signed. The watercolorist was just plain rude to her. The painting was paid for, but she and her husband have never framed or hung it because she was treated so miserably at the art show. I have been ignored and snubbed at my own local quilt shop because I am not in the "circle" of quilters they know, but they have no clue how much I sew or how much I actually spend on quilting -- just not in that shop any more. You are right about posting prices and about vendors making uniformed decisions about customers. Many vendors and shop owners are fabulous folks, and that is where I will spend my money.

  15. I've had a similar experience in quilt shops mostly because I am a young black woman. The shop owners and clerks assume that I am a clueless beginner or try to steer me to the "ethnic" prints. Gah!

    Do you know how much I can't stand tiger stripes and kente cloth prints?

    Anyway, I turned away from guilds and the LQS's for these reasons precisely. I purchase most of my fabric online or, in a pinch, at a chain store. At least at JoAnns's and Hancock's they ignore me as much as they do the other customers, lol.

    That's what makes the blogosphere so can engage as much or as little as you want without being roundly dismissed as something you're not.

  16. i actually feel that way in the local quilt shops in our city. Very high end fabric and pfaff/bernina dealers...nothing has a price and wow they act put out with you when you ask a questions and want to find out the price of things..

    you feel like you want to pull a pretty woman and come in with your bags of woven goods and say "big mistake, big big mistake" only in your case it would be your awesome store and website and blog or just bring in your quilts lol..

  17. I'm with you! I'm not young any more, but there are many types of discrimination. I do not spend much money on my daily clothes (mostly because I'm frugal, and partially because I'm messy. I'd rather get a stain on a shirt from a discount store than one I paid too much money for. I'd rather save that money for my hobby anyway.) My husband makes a very comfortable wage, especially since We do not feel the need to keep up with the in-crowd and live in a house with 2500 square feet per person. I am often judged by my blue jeans, sneekers, and casual shirts as not having enough money to be in some shops.
    When I first decided to explore quilt shops I found one 5 minutes from my home. I could not have been happier. When I went in the ladies looked over there shoulders at me, then turned back to the casual conversation they were having without even greeting me. Not once was I asked if I needed help. The third visit to the shop a woman in a wheel chair greeted me. I found out she was not really an employee, but a customer who helped out sometimes, and the most lovely person. Once I went in with my husband and they were all over me/us...go figure!!?? He was usually quite tight with his purse-strings as the saying goes. The only time I was ever in the shop that they offered any help was when my squeeky tight husband was with me. On another occasion I went in to ask if they had a pattern I saw advertised in a national quilt magazine. They said NO they didn't carry her patterns, or her fabric, or her kits, or do her block-of-the-month programs, in a very snotty tone. I would have started quilting much sooner than I did, but couldn't drive more than an hour to the other two quilt shops in my area.

    As to the issue of not pricing items in a traveling vendor type situation, these are my thoughts. Shows in places like NYC or DC will have much higher prices for the exact same stuff, so I understand not putting a dollar amount on her items...BUT it is quite easy to put color coded tags on items, with a description of what the content(wool/alpacca/acrylic/etc) and method of manufacturing (hand/machine,etc) and posting a price sheet for each individual market. Rudeness, and discrimination is never a good business practice, and no matter how bad I want something, or how reasonable the price if I do find out what it is, I won't buy from someone like that. Some people let the word "Artist" go to their heads.

    I'm sure, no matter where our houses hold income is, I will always ask prices before I coose to buy an item. Sometimes I may not ask if I am not serious enough to pay the price I expect.

    Unlike the previous poster who said she wouldn't say anything to the shop owner, I may have. Some times a gentle reminder to be polite, and treat others kindly may be just the thing needed. I strive to not do it in an agressive, or rude manner. I want to be me... not allow him/her to make me into a replica of her/him.

    I hope you had a memorable time anyway. sometimes it is so hard with little ones in crowds.

  18. Leah - I agree with you!! Too bad there isn't a rule - "If there's no price on it - it's FREE!!" That would solve the problem pretty fast, don't you think?

    On the matter of attitude - I went to one of our local quilt shops - once - and never went back due to the owner's similar rude attitude.

    She displayed her books in a flimsy rack on the wall that had little dowels running across the top and bottom of the books. When I tried to wiggle a book out from behind the dowels - she said, "Don't break that!!" (Well, maybe I wouldn't if they were displayed differently - like, say - on a shelf!!)

    Then after yelling at me, she went over to a lady who had come in with her 8 or 9 year old daughter. It sounded to me like the mom was helping her daughter choose fabric for her first quilt. (What fun!! A new quilter!!) But when the girl reached out to touch the fabric, the owner rushed over and said, "Don't touch that!! Talk about age discrimination!! All three of us walked out - and the owner lost three customers in a matter of minutes!!

    I don't think people like that realize that without customers they won't sell much!! And when they do go out of business - it's not the economy that is to blame.

    P.S. Don't worry about ranting - I do it on my blog all the time. It really is therapeutic.

  19. It's funny that you should post this...I feel the same way. I immediately lose interest when there aren't prices on items. I always feel that the shop owner is sizing me up to see what they will charge. You were absolutely in the right and I am glad to see that there are others who feel the same way.

  20. Leah...I too am often mistaken for someone much younger and less affluent than I am - not so much now that I am in my 40s, but it wasn't so long ago that I would be dismissed and treated rudely because shopkeepers assumed I "didn't belong". I did once get so mad I lit into the owner of my local store, and asked her point blank if having customers that are professionals with a healthy disposable incomes was against her beliefs. She looked at me blankly as I proceeded to remind her that in order to have a gross margin high enough to cover her fixed costs, she must generate sales. I walked out - my 2 girlfriends with me; none of us were surprised when the shop closed a few months later. Unfortunately ranting to her didn't change her attitude but it did lower my blood pressure. I continue to frequent those vendors who make me feel valued and comfortable in their shops and on their sites.

  21. I hear ya' sister!
    I'm 51 years young, and I'm obese. I hear and feel discrimination all around. Add to that, I'm most comfortable in my jeans and tshirts, so most shop owners assume I'm a slob and broke.
    The biggest joke is that I did a lot of mystery shopping, and was often evaluating the shop for its company! (anything from pizza shops to high end shoe stores and auto dealers!)
    There are 2 LQS in my town that I will not shop at unless DESPERATE! The first one, the lady owner is a sour puss. She never says hello, and only will serve you if you ask her for help, and then you can almost hear her think, "If I must." Last week I was there with a client, and she asked me, upon leaving, if the "lady" was always so crabby. We shopped there because she was having a "going out of business" sale. No Kidding!
    The other store has a HUGE reputation for being snobs. If you are not part of their "IN" crowd, you are scum. They are also downsizing their business. Hmmm.
    I will drive 30 min out of town, to either of 2 quilt stores in small towns before I'll shop locally. There I am greeted as a friend, treated more than fairly, and, I do spend my hobby money freely.
    I've been in retail. Yes there are customers that will drive you batty. But you NEVER let them feel that they're anything but the most important person you've met all day.
    As for unpriced items, I consider it an insult, and won't buy them.
    Thanks for giving me the forum to rant! I feel better now.

  22. You are sooooo right! I make very good money but my job comes with a lot of grime and dirt and really nast looking work clothes. I work on the off shift and do not make it to good quilting stores often (they keep getting further and futher apart). I will occasionally stop at places of business on my way into work and I look something like a vagabond really. It is amazing how many merchants treat you poorly because of your attire! Now mind you, my filthy clothes have been laundered and are clean, just stained. The merchants that choost to overlook this are the ones I continue business with. I may not spend a lot for dish soap or a garden shovel, but I do spend for quality handcrafted merchandise. I also spend good cash when cheap won't do. I find the older I get, the more "principles" I have as well. Bad merchant but good prices...tough, I'll go elsewhere.
    I also agree with the pricing. If you want to sell it, put a price on it. If you don't want to sell it, MOVE IT. I'm not so kind. I'd have given the old bitty an earful.

  23. Leah, did you ever hit a sore point with me. I can overlook an item or two if there is no price on it, but not everything in the booth or shop. Tags fall off, no big deal. But none at all. No way, no how.

    I, too, spend my off work hours in jeans & t-shirts or sweatshirts. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I have not had that kind of treatment in the stores I shop at. Or maybe I just ignore them. Water off a duck's back type of thing.

    What I can NOT abide is people making snap judgements when they see you. I have worked in the financial industry for 35 years. In that time, I have seen people on welfare dressed to the nines (as the expression goes) and people who have extremely large buckets of money who dress in jeans, flannel shirts and boots. So, what do I do? I treat them all the same, like I would want to be treated and like they are all the king or queen of England.

    I also worked in a quilt store for 14 years as my fun Sunday job. My co-worker and I always greeted everyone who came in just like they were close friends and family. We had lots of customers who would only come in on Sunday because we were there. And, now, 5 years after we moved 1300 miles away, people at the quilt store and my regular job still ask about me. I put this down to the way I treated them and spent the necessary time with them making sure I did the best job I could for them.

    My mother had a really good friend who was about 25 years older then her. She had lots of money, no one would have known it just to look at her. "O" was a painter. So one day she went out to buy a new car. She went to one dealership and wasn't treated very well. So she went next door to another dealership. They treated her like a queen even though she was in her painting clothes. Needless to say she bought the car there, paid cash, and promptly drove next door and waved at the car salesmen and said something to the effect of 'See what you just missed?' I think she may have given them the one-fingered salute as well, if I remember correctly. This was in the late 1960's, early 70's and I think that she was in her 70's at the time.


  24. Remember, if someone is rude to you they are giving you permission to be rude back!

  25. My hubby and I had the same problem when we were house hunting (which was quite a few years ago now) and I do look my age now. But we had money to buy most of the houses we looked at outright but the agents never even spoke to us, which was good because we could poke around without them breathing down our throats. I don't think we have the age problem here in quilting circles so much as quilting is still relatively new down under, young people are usually encouraged. But I hate it when you have to ask a price and won't buy if that is the case.

  26. I hate when there are no prices on things, if you want to sell it I need to know the price. & you are so right, if you buy something special you want the experience to be special, you don't want to look at the item & think of the rude person you bought it from.
    I also hate being pre-judged by shop assistants. They might think they know how much people have, but generally they have no idea.
    My aunt had the best answer to a snotty shop assistant. She was looking at some antiques to furnish her new apartment. She asked how much something was & the shop assistant said, 'It's not cheap.' Without missing a beat my aunt said 'Do I look cheap?' Lol.

  27. It's my experience, as a shop keeper, that if I have missed one price in a thousand items, that's the one I'll get asked about, and even if it's a gold bar for two pence/cents it will get put down again.. So I price madly..

    Politeness is cheap, and it pays dividends..

    One local shop told me she "wouldn't even look" at my class list as she "didn't need new teachers". This after I had spent 2 days listening to the students in the class I was attending asking longingly for new classes.. I am local so would be relatively cheap, but how would she know...

    I did ring another LQS one time when she had been rude to one of my students (25, pregnant, hippy clothes, BF with ring in nose...)
    I've never had a student so willing to spend on fabric for just the right effect.. Needless to say, the next time she went in, she was treated like a princess

    Hey, us older feisty types can help here...

    Helen Howes

  28. Ugh! I feel your pain!

    I was at a garage sale over the weekend and had the same thing happen to me. I found a juicer (an item on my mental "I'd like one of these if I find one at a reasonable price" list) without a tag. I asked and it was 4x more than I wanted to pay. I insulted the woman when I told her what the max price I had in mind was. She dropped her price 3 times, but I wasn't willing to go higher. She was obviously annoyed by me, but I would have passed it up if I had known what she had in mind.

    I often get snubbed in quilt shops, too. I am 26, but don't look it at all. (The casino thought my ID was a fake and had to call for a second opinion before letting me in the door the last time I went.) The worst quilt shop was in Estes Park, CO. The shop keeper was SO RUDE to me. I just wanted to bring home a little bit of special fabric. I was willing to pay a bit more than I normally would while in my own town. She was rude; I marched right out her door without buying anything. She could have made a quick buck off of me. Why are people so rude and judgemental? It's just not nice and a bad business practice! Annoying!

  29. I so agree with all the comments here. Customer service is so poor these days. Unfortunately, those who really need to read these comments most likely won't see them! I would consider taking a business card from someone like this and later putting together a nice long letter letting them know how poor you felt their customer service was.

  30. I have to admit that sometimes I look at things I can't afford, just to admire their art. But without a price to look at, that's all it will ever be. I went to an art fair with my husband a few months ago. I'm happy to report that the things we looked at were priced, and the artists were friendly. I still wish that we would have purchased a few of the things we saw. Next time.

    My opinion - if they don't want to price it because they want as much money as possible, they need to auction it. Don't try to guess how much money is in my wallet.

    Oh, and somehow I have not yet found one of these rude quilt shops. Although I am on the side of leaving me alone to browse the store myself. Greet me, offer to help once, and let me wander and touch. I'll ask you if I need help finding anything.

  31. I live in New zealand and the quilting community seems a little different. I do have comments made about my age but in a more positive light. Like it is good to see a new gereration of quilters coming through etc. But I must say I feel very much the baby. I have been quilting for 13 years and I am now 38 and look very young for my age (about 29-30 yrs)

    The only really negative looks in shops I get is when I bring in my 5children (18 yrs down to 6 years) and the shop assistanst immediately start to watch me and them closely. I always smile to myself when all the children start asking the sales assitants intelligent questions like would you put these to colours together for felting? or do you think this fabric matches these ones from home? or the classic a few weeks ago when my 9 year old son was choosing fabric for an eye spy quilt and I asked him which ones matched together and I told him to squint like I had shown him and he chose the ones an adult quilter would have chosen. the sales assistant looked at me flabergasted. It would be lovley for shop keepers not to pre judge and prospective customers.

  32. I get judged all the time as well. That is why I love the internet.

    When I was 20 I went to a talk about caballah mysticism with the intent to join a theosopy club. Everyone there was over 50-60. I tried to say hello to a few people and they turned their backs. The only person who talked to me was the man giving the lecture after he was done!! I didn't go back to the club or their bookshop where I'd previously spent quite a bit of money.

    Now with quilting, last year I went to the quilt fair here. I tried to talk to the quilters guild and was snubbed for the more mature ladies. I stood right at the front of their table and asked about the club magazines and got a one word answer then the woman turned to the person behind me and started talking to her!! It was the same with the stalls. I only had two nice people the entire day - one was a lady who was looking at the quilts too and one was a male vendor at one of the stalls.

    I'm hoping I have better luck this year as the quilt fair is this weekend. Maybe I have a few more grey hairs this year!!

  33. Since nobody else seems to have mentioned this, I will. The lady weaver/shopkeeper doesn't have prices on her garments for two reasons: one, folks get sticker shock and walk away instantly, since they don't understand that these garments are artwork. Two, she doesn't decide how much to charge (over her minimum) until she evaluates what she thinks the shopper can afford.

    Obviously, this strategy is backfiring. A better tack would be per your suggestions that she advertise the labor intensive process and the "cute sheep" factor along with the made in the US bit. I think not having pricing is a fundamentally dishonest way of doing business.

  34. One of my very best customers ever was a man at a quilt show who was not buying for his wife, not gay, and definitely a quilter in his own right.

    Curious what "gay" had to do with it. You had me up until that, and then I stopped reading. Lane


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