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Thread: Fusterated with my quilt store

  1. #1

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    I have a quilt store just down the road from the house. I really like it because it is close and several of the instructors are just amazing! I have learned so much from them. But lately the store owner has just been getting on my nerves. She is overly nice person, kind of sickly sweet. Her voice is kind of high pitched and she has the worst laugh ever! But I could handle all that if it was just that. But I took a class she taught and hated it. It was a one day, 10am-4pm class on appliqué. I didn't learn a thing. In fact I had to remind her to do things, like put stabilizer behind the fabric and I only knew about that because I read it in a book! I also signed up for a block of the month club. Money is really tight right now so I have to put a hold on making anymore quilts so I thought this would be a good way to keep my limited skills up ( I am just a beginner). I was under the impression that each month she would go through the square with us, explain how to do it, and answer any questions. Not so much. We sit through a 30 min sales pitch on new fabrics, patterns, or tools and then she hands us our package of fabric. Thats fine, I can struggle through at home and learn from trial and error. But this last square she cut the fabric so you have to use thangles to make the half square triangles instead of the "old fashioned" way. In the previous months, it was always an option but I guess she wasn't making enough money that way. It is just so frustrating! I use to go to their free sew Fridays but I dread going now because she is there the whole time!

    I guess there was no real point to this posting, I just needed to vent I :lol:

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loretta
    Businesses will be doing more and more of this kind of thing I am afraid.
    Why do you say that, Loretta? What do you mean? I find that small business owners generally get even more 'customer oriented' as economic times get stressful for both themselves and thier customers.

    Kyssyfur, perhaps if you asked the owner to go back to making the use of thangles, or any other technique that requires the purchase of additional items, an option and not a necessity, she would be most agreeable. I'm sure she'd understand. How was the BOM club advertised? Did it say you had to use thangles and would not really get any instruction in completing the blocks? Tell her you are new to quilting and could use some guidance. I bet there are others who feel the same way you do about it. Give her the benefit of the doubt, same as you expect her to give you.

  3. #3
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    That is a pet peeve of mine too - having to buy fancy rulers, templates, and such, for just one project, when there are several ways to accomplish the same end.

    Times are tight, and many people work on commission. I think the trend will continue, too.

  4. #4
    Super Member Kyiav10's Avatar
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    I am sorry you are having an awful time. Please feel free to vent. We are all friends here and understand it. I had a venting session a couple weeks ago and the members listened and offered positive feedback. So vent away, we will listen.

    Have you met any of the other quilters in the class. Maybe you can form your own guild and each teach something new each session. Unfortunately I do not have a schedule to do something like this sot this is my quilting guild as it is many other.

    I hope things improve.

    Kyia

  5. #5
    MCH
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    Junior Member MCH's Avatar
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    Hmmmm...Well, this could take a bit of "standing firm". YOU are the one who decides how you spend your dollars and your time.

    If the class is free, then a good business person would make the kit available, but charge full price for it.

    If the class is not free, then a good business person would make the kit available for purchase at a discount on the day of class.

    Details, including special tools or notions should be noted on the package. That is in addition to reviewing in class everything necessary to comple the project. It's called "full disclosure".

    In my humble opinion :roll: , this shop owner is running the risk of alienating customers with her "hidden charges". You could always take the kit back to the store, let her know you discovered her "hidden charges" and give her the option to either take the whole thing back or to provide you free of charge with whatever wasn't disclosed up front. In this case, it would be the number of "thangles" you need to complete your project. Of course, this would be a one-time deal.

    Thus, you've put the ball back in her court...you've given her the opportunity to keep you as a customer (and it sounds as if you're one of her 'bread and butter' customers) or lose you as a customer. It's her move.

    Now this is that "gremlin" in me speaking...the ideal time to do this would be when other customers are in the store...and could hear your conversation.

    If all else fails, you could just leave the kit on the counter, walk out, and "eat" the cost of the kit, considering it a "tuition" charge to the school of learning to push back on merchants who do not respect their customers.

    If this woman is smart, she will do whatever she can to make you happy, within reason, of course. She needs your dollars and your good will. It takes a long time for a good merchant to develop customers' good will. It can be deeply eroded within seconds. It seems to me that the owner of this quilt shop is dangerously close to losing the good will of a frequent customer.

    As others have said, stay close to this board with both your questions and your enthusiasm and you will become a better quilter, enjoying it more. This is a world-class resource comprised of innumerable creative, smart folks.

    Remember, it's your money and your time. You decide how you want to spend it.







  6. #6
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Kyssyfur,

    I'm sorry to hear of your issues with your favorite store...I'm in a similar position with all three of the quilt stores in my area. 2 of the 3 are normally incredibly helpful with expertise shared frequently. However, I've noticed over the past year that the freebie advice is minimal at both of the spots. It is unfortunate because I can go online for free and may do that more often now.

    It seems like the ladies of the board have already rallied with some great advice...here's my 2 cents.

    If I signed up for a block of the month and I didn't receive sufficient info at the demo, I would definitely let the instructor know I needed more help. If I didn't get the help that I needed within the cost of the class (like they suggest private lessons or signing up for an additional class) I'd be happy to let them know I can buy an all inclusive kit whenever I want from JoAnnes. Not that I prefer the bigger store, but I pay a premium for my quilting supplies at a quilt store for their help and quality of goods. Once quality and/or customer service is out the window, why pay more?

    PS if JoAnnes isn't close to you, be sure to let them know you can purchase online and that you are internet savvy.

    Best of Luck :-o

  7. #7
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Im still a beginner as I am not a perfectionist. I just dont have the patience required to do a really good job.
    I found that by watching the videos at websites is the best way to learn.
    Even if you only pay for one year of QNNTV it is worth it to have video on demand. And it is only about 24 dollars a year. I have learned more than the experts in my little group of quilters and I share what I learn with them. They are still much better quilters than me, but they sure like the new easier methods that I find out about.
    There is a free site for videos but it is not full screen like QNNTV
    It is Quilters TV. Watch all of Eleanor Burns, Quilt in a Day, as she is by far the best teacher for detail.
    I have never taken a class at a shop, its just to expensive.
    Good luck and have fun.

  8. #8
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    We have a local shop that charges for everything....to attend a demo for a longarm quilting machine - there is a $10.00 fee to just watch - no project nothing to take away only what you have seen in the demo. Wouldn't it better serve the shop if she offered this demo free?? I realize that it is costly to run a business - however to get folks in the door and charge them $10.00 is being somewhat selfish. This shop also placed a minimum dollar amount on purchases in this spring's shop hop before you could register for the door prize that was offered. Had to spend minimum of $25.00.....(it is hard to walk out of a shop not spending at least this much...) some folks just got back on the bus and waited when they learned about the amount. Oh well. On the other hand - Sad to say that we have a beautiful shop (not the one mentioned above) in the area that is closing due to health issues - this lady ran her shop like you were calling on her for a visit and I always come away from her shop planning on when I would be able to return. It made me very sad when I left her shop for the last time - how differently these two shops are from one another.

  9. #9
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Many, many years ago, there was a girl leving her job with state parks to move back with her family in Pa. I wanted to do something speical to say goodbye. I made on block of the school house design, but made it fairly large. Well, I needed a teeny bit of yellow flannel for the widows. The owner of this shop informed that I'd have to buy an eigth of a yard. Okay fine. But when one of the employees walked up front from the back of the shop and spoke to me, all of a sudden, she was giving me the teeny bit (actual amt. needed for 2 tiny windows for free!) It was a long time before I ever wnet back in there. I felt that I was the same person, before the employee spoke to me, why shouldn't she have extended that courtesy to me before instead of afterwards? She wasn't placing any emphasis on keeping customers, it was only who knew who that was important to her. I still shop there (although infrequently) b/c other quilt shops in the area are either further away or do not have as good a selection. The best one is about 50 miles from here, but with gas prices as high as they are, I cannot just jump in the car and run over there just to see what is new.

  10. #10

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    I did go back once to try to get help and her style of teaching is more like "here let me do that for you. There see, now just do it like that." *lol* Which doesn't work for me, I want to do it, I want to know why I am doing something, if this something I am doing applies to everything or just this one square I am working on, etc.

    I just need to take a deep breath and tell myself to chill. And to her defense I am 7 months pregnant so it really doesn't take much to get on my nerves. And I just feel so much better having vented. I tried on my husband but he got all giddy thinking of the money he would be saving and stop listening after about 3 words in.

  11. #11
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    A good teacher adapts to student's learning styles. I prefer learning methods of doing things rather than how to replicate a certain block or quilt. Part of the fun in quilting is to create something dozens of different people don't have.

  12. #12
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    I'll chip in here, I wouldn't want to be forced to buy thangles to complete the block. How many do you need, my guess very few and you'll be left with a package, you will use at some point. Same with fancy rulers... However if it was stated from the beginning you would need 'x-y-z', but it doesn't sound like you were.
    Now my peeve for the day I need white 120" or 108" muslin, can I find it 'no'. I can find all the fancy stuff for $17.00 a yard. I finally broke down and bought one of the fancy ones and find it very hard to hand quilt. In my mind I can make more tops if I don't spend $50.00 on back. So now I go the mail-order route and get the batting because it is $10.00 cheeper mail-order. So local quilt shop lost business.

  13. #13
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    I say to tell her nicely what your problems are and see what she does from there. That's what I would want in the same place.

    Even if she doesn't change, at least she'll know why.

    PS I think I know what you mean by that voice; it's like she's talking to a child!

  14. #14
    Junior Member jan22's Avatar
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    If you already have the kit, but no thangles, check with another person in that group and ask if you can purchase just enough thangles from her for your one block. Chances are she has way more than she'll be needing as well. You never know, she just might give you the 2 or 3 sheets it takes depending on size. Next month, check the block first or ask before you pay for it. Better yet, contact me via email and I'll mail you whatever size you need. I purchased a huge package of all the sizes from a quilt show and don't normally use them. I prefer my way instead.
    Jan in Vermont.

  15. #15
    Super Member TexasGurl's Avatar
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    There's a shop like that here too ... they charge for little 5 min. demos, for a 10-min "sample" & even to attend a trunk show by a LOCAL quilter who spoke for all of 10 min ! It's not like the quilter had to travel or be put up at a hotel ... cheep cheep
    I worked & taught at 2 LQS a few yrs ago. In TODAY'S economy if I had my own shop, I would offer such goodies gratis - just to get people IN MY DOOR ! If you get people INTERESTED in TRYING a new product or technique, you'll have buyers !
    It's amazing to me how many shops can't even be bothered to have a nice pot of coffee or tea for shoppers, a plate of cookies ... or give a fat quarter, a notion or a free pattern with larger purchases ... little things like that are remembered and can make a difference WHICH way we steer the car on the NEXT quilt outing !! :roll:

  16. #16
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would take the fabric piece back and say I don't want to use Tangles so this fabric isn't enough for me to make the block. If she says you have to buy more fabric, then you know she isn't worth your time anymore. If she offers the fabric then continue to shop there and wear earplugs.

  17. #17
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    I guess if I felt like that and she got on my nerves I just wouldn't go back. There are other places you might enjoy more.

  18. #18
    Super Member katyquilter's Avatar
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    Our Saturday Sampler is kind of like that - the block is free is you come to your assigned time and stay for the whole presentation - usually 30 minutes of show and tell and a sales pitch on their latest items. But they always say at the end, if you need help with this block, please stay and someone goes over the instructions with you. We always have a good crowd at each session.

  19. #19
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    I tend to speak up when I get into a situation when I'm supposed to be learning something and they're "pitching" their goods vs. teaching the class. I've found if one person speaks up, then the rest get braver and speak up too, and before you know it, we're on tract. Of course that only works if the person running the class knows what they're doing. Sometimes, that's not the case.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dandish's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of your troubles. I wouldn't want to have to buy a bunch of stuff I'd only use just to finish a block.

    Having said that, at my favorite LQS (which really isn't that local, about 45 minutes away) I just took a 2 hour beginning FMQ class - the price? $15. Great deal. It's a great store. Of course she did have things to sell you that will make the job easier, but she certainly wasn't pushy about it.

    There are a few shops closer, one I won't walk into again because the 2 ladies working in the shop were horrible, one kind of followed me around (trying to be discrete) and gave me the feeling she was trying to make sure I didn't steal anything, and the other one was very snobby. Too bad, because they did have some neat things. I just won't subject myself to that. The other closer shop doesn't have a very large selection. I did just learn of another one about 20 minutes from me and I hope to check that out in the next week or two.

  21. #21
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    unfortunately with all of the rising costs, and stores barely staying above water now, things are going to be rougher. They estimate that one in four shops will close before June this year. They used to estimate that one in ten would close in any given year....going to be tough on those of you who are used to having a shop at your finger tips...here in rural OK we don't have any real shops very close, so the internet will still be our best bet! Much as I hate it...and I miss being able to walk into a shop and take classes, etc...

  22. #22
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    One LQS I frequent has nice fabric and I have spent quite a bit of money (to me anyway) there this winter. My issue is that in all of the times I have been there, I have yet to see the same employees. Some are nice and helpful, some are overly helpful, one had a superior attitude when I asked about sales. I was told they don't need sales because their fabric will sell anyway. One wouldn't stop talking about anything and everything except my purchase and I couldn't get away from her to get out of the store. One day one was waiting on me and was about to start cutting my fabric. I already had it on the cutting table and she was there to cut it. Then a customer came in to buy a used sewing machine and my saleslady left me standing around while she showed the other customer all of the used machines and demonstrated them for her. There was another salesperson in the shop who wasn't busy, but didn't even step in to help me. All of this time (at least 30 min.)my DH was waiting for me in the car which I did mention to the first saleslady. When she finally came back to cut my fabric, she did apologize but really had the attitude that to her it wasn't a big issue as long as she was able to sell a machine. I get the feeling that the owner (she owns more than one store and runs the shop that is in a town five hours away) isn't into customer service because there is no way to get to know anyone. I think if the employees change so often that I only see them once, how can they invest in getting to know the customers in order to give good service. Well, that was my vent for a long time to come. I promise :) I still shop there because there aren't that many places nearby to purchase fabric. I just hope for the best when I go there.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tropical
    One LQS I frequent has nice fabric and I have spent quite a bit of money (to me anyway) there this winter. My issue is that in all of the times I have been there, I have yet to see the same employees. Some are nice and helpful, some are overly helpful, one had a superior attitude when I asked about sales. I was told they don't need sales because their fabric will sell anyway. One wouldn't stop talking about anything and everything except my purchase and I couldn't get away from her to get out of the store. One day one was waiting on me and was about to start cutting my fabric. I already had it on the cutting table and she was there to cut it. Then a customer came in to buy a used sewing machine and my saleslady left me standing around while she showed the other customer all of the used machines and demonstrated them for her. There was another salesperson in the shop who wasn't busy, but didn't even step in to help me. All of this time (at least 30 min.)my DH was waiting for me in the car which I did mention to the first saleslady. When she finally came back to cut my fabric, she did apologize but really had the attitude that to her it wasn't a big issue as long as she was able to sell a machine. I get the feeling that the owner (she owns more than one store and runs the shop that is in a town five hours away) isn't into customer service because there is no way to get to know anyone. I think if the employees change so often that I only see them once, how can they invest in getting to know the customers in order to give good service. Well, that was my vent for a long time to come. I promise :) I still shop there because there aren't that many places nearby to purchase fabric. I just hope for the best when I go there.
    I would have told her to finish with me first as the other lady did come in after you AND apparently had more time to spend in the shop...wow,,that did take nerve...

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    For me, going to a quilt store is a treat. I LOVE to look at the colors, fabrics, get inspiration, and yes - buy something that keeps the business going and me happy. When it stops being fun (and it is not something I can fix) then I stop going. I may find an alternative (different store or different group) even if it means driving a bit further.

    You say that money is tight, so maybe you are looking at the situation with a different filter. Maye it's time to further the skills you already have. Then you can show us and we will be your support. We won't make you use thangles.

  25. #25
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    I taught at a local shop for a short time, stopped because the owner forced me to design classes that required the quilters to constantly buy new products. I feel it is very unfair, I understand they have expenses, but to increase the cost of a class &fabric an additional $30. Or $40. Is wrong.


    After 6 months, I could not continue under those conditions, so I withdrew.

    A footnote, she was open for about another yr, & ended up loosing the store.

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