Have you any stash?

Never judge a person…

…by what they’re wearing.

Sage advice given to me by my father. He’d made that error, one time early in his banking career. A gentleman, clad in overalls, rather unkempt, had come in the bank and needed help. Dad ignored him, letting someone else help him instead. The president of the bank pulled Dad aside after the gentleman had left and told Dad that the unkempt man in overalls was one of their biggest depositors. He shouldn’t have brushed him aside. Dad didn’t make that mistake again, and he took that advice to heart. He passed it along to me.

It’s just good business.

Today, however, on my vacation in Highlands, NC, I could tell someone hadn’t learned that lesson.

Now, those of you who know me in real life know that I just don’t dress up much anyway. On vacation, the wardrobe gets taken down another notch to a t-shirt (generally some kind of geekish humor or NASCAR) and a pair of jeans. Today I was clad in a kewl t-shirt with a Venn diagram of ObiWan Kenobi’s speech in Star Wars (“You don’t need to see his identification… These aren’t the droids you’re looking for… He can go about his business… move along) and a pair of jeans.

I was excited to see in Highland’s weekly newspaper that a new knitting store had opened up. It was the first place on our list of places to go today. After some difficulty finding it (it opens to a back street, and the signage is, frankly, poor), we went in.

The owner sized me up in about 5 seconds. If she understood the t-shirt, I’m sure she relegated me to the same class of knitters who spend their days knitting infinite Dr. Who scarves in Red Heart. By her demeanor, it was obvious I wasn’t “her kind” of clientele.

I tried to start a conversation. “How long have you been open?” “About four months.” “I had a little trouble finding you.” “Well, we have signs, and it’s clearly marked.”

I gave up any social interaction.

As for her store… well… she’s displayed all her yarn by color, mixing wool, superwash, alpaca, acrylic, and you name it together because it’s the same color. There are tons of “art” yarns – you know, the kind that you’d mix together with another skein of something to make a scarf. There were very few books, precious few patterns. Some of the lack of inventory I can understand because the store is new… but there seems to be a basic misunderstanding of what serious knitters are going to be looking for.

Fortunately for her, some more suitable customers came in and gave her someone to talk to. I picked up a skein of Jitterbug sock yarn thinking I’d purchase it to be polite, then I quickly put it down.

I’d been judged by my appearance. Little did she know that I can go through a yarn store and purchase several sweaters worth of yarn at one time should I so choose, and should the yarn store have something that I like. I heartily support my local yarn shops because frankly, they don’t care what I’m wearing… they know me and they invite me in… even if I don’t purchase anything.

I felt no need to purchase something to be polite, as the politeness had not been extended to me.

If she’s in business next year when we visit, I won’t be back there. And I really can’t suggest that anyone else go, although they might have a different experience.

Comments on: "Never judge a person…" (3)

  1. Fiberdiet said:

    I have had similar experiences at LYS’s. Don’t know if they know it consciously or not they are running them as they would their Playhouse when they were children. That does not make a successfull business. In SE Michigan I googled independent LYS and found approx 30! I regularly shop at 3 plus a few online shops. But I love one better than the rest because the owner is chatty with everyone who comes in and has hired staff just like her. We all feel welcome regardless of appearances because she has said “why would anyone dress up to come here unless a group is out LYS Crawling”. Since I have known her she has moved into a bigger location thanks to all of us.
    I’m right there with you. If that store opened in my town, I would not support it and I’m a big supporter of “shop local.” But you need to meet me part of the way.

  2. Weddings, hospitals, buying a car… I sometimes wonder if I should take lifestyle stickers off my scooter. Then somebody will ask if I got the pole, because of my “I’m not speeding, I’m qualifying” sticker – and I’m in.
    Dah’lin, no ball of string is worth giving up The Pole.

  3. We went throuhg that when my husband and I honemoned in Northern England and Southern Scotland. We didn’t find any wool shops in Scotland, however found two in England, at least where the choir was touring 🙂

    So we walked into this little shop in Harrogate, it was out of the way, had to walk through a tunnel to get to it. The shope was dingy and the wool was EVERYWHERE althouhg in bags. They owner spoke to us for 45 minutes, we spent about £60 and I walked out with wool and some cute patterns. I felt as if I was listened to and had a great aftenoon.

    Contrast that to when we went to York. It was warm and open, everything had its place. It took us 20 mins to find the place as we are Canadian not from the UK so people didn’t quite understand what we were looking for. We walked in and weren’t greeted even afte my husband somewhat loudly said I have money here. We walked out with a bag of wool after feeling as if we were unwanted there. I bought 3 bags of 10 balls of wool on sale for £5 each.

    We were very disappointed…we know we walked in 5 minutes before closing but really. If we go to York again, I am hoping that there is a different store there.

    We were dressed casually and wearing jackets with the choirs name embrodered on the front and the Canadian flag on the back. The ownere spent the whole time griping that she had close by 5:30 wow.

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