Saturday, 27 March 2010

Pondering the Plight of the wool shop

I don't often get time to read Ravelry lists -- I like to say hello to people and answer queries, but time is ltd.
Just puzzled today regarding negative posts on Ravelry regarding our local Adelaide wool shops. My response sometimes surprises people. Perhaps they think that I welcome a competitor's demise. In reality, I wish they would all flourish. Why? Because they don't offer knitters the same products as I, nor do they provide the same types of services.
When you make artyarn, you may fight for some of the same $$, but in reality, buying 20 balls of yarn for a plain jumper isn't the same sale as selling to someone looking for a luxury hank of hand-painted alpaca.
Each of the local shops serves their own communities and offer retail services that I, as someone who designs and paints, cannot. Nor would I want to.
The sad truth is, that while some of the locals might seem a bit daggy, and don't offer deep online discounts, they do provide a service that is essential to a community of knitters -- their experience, talents, and often amazing wealth of technical knowledge.
Sure, walking into a local shop in Adelaide might not be as exciting as entering say, Wondoflex in Melbourne, which is just HUGE, but there's always something new and nice to touch and buy.
For me, buying local means I'm not wasting money on postage and the added carbon footprint to a purchase. And when I have a problem, it is so much nicer taking it to the shop than arguing on the phone or online.
I really feel badly for one owner, who has to deal daily with the browsers who come in, check colours and brands, then leaves, knowing they'll go home, log on and make a purchase. These shops don't exist for that purpose.
Of course it's not just a local issue -- I've had the same conversation with owners all over the Mid-Atlantic region as I work there several months a year. One proprietor is just downright surly with customers now, when I know it wasn't always that way. I reckon at one time she was a cheerful, happy yarn store owner.
Well, tomorrow is a retail day. I may joke that retail isn't my forte, but I look forward every week to seeing what has been knitted or spun with SIOz yarn and fibre.
As always, thank you for reading. m

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