A Tale of a Bad Yarn Shop Experience

There aren’t any yarn shops in my local area. Spotlight, Lincraft, Kmart and Big W hardly counts as a proper yarn shop. But last year, I stumbled upon one in Northern Sydney which is reasonably close to my house and had a decent variety of yarn. I’ve been in there couple of times before to have a wander but always left with a feeling of being watched too closely.

I went in there several weeks ago with a genuine intent of buying yarn. I normally lose my knitting mojo over summer and wanted something new to kick my knitting into gear. I was looking for Lion Brand Cotton- or Wool-Ease to make a blanket for winter. I asked the sales lady behind the cashier and she replied with an ackward look on her face that she didn’t have any. She stared back at me in silence.

I asked to see her cotton selection and she showed me Jo Sharp Summer Cotton DK. It was out of my budget to knit an entire blanket in that $11 per 50g ball (100m) of Jo Sharp DK. I told her that and said that I would prefer aran weight in a less expensive yarn. She semi-argued with me that I could double strand 8-ply yarn and it will knit up quickly. She went on to say that if I wanted something cheap, I should just knit with acrylic. True. But I wanted aran weight in wool or cotton. I don’t mind a blend but not 100% acrylic.

By this point, I’m trying hard to feel angry or embarassed. I followed her around the shop and my husband, Richard, pointed out some lovely hand dyed yarn that he thought I would like. The sales lady overheard and immediately said, “They’re very expensive. $28 a skein.” If you were in my shoes, would you have felt insulted?

I told her I’ll keep browsing. Almost all the yarn in the shop was still in their plastic packets. I wanted to feel how soft the organic cotton yarn was and opened up the bag a little to feel it. She yelled from across the shop to bring it over to her if I wanted it. I was ready to scream! I don’t know why I persevered in that shop.

Eventually, I bought 4 balls of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK to make a lovely scarf for Richard. I left feeling very uneasy at the entire experience. It bothered me for the rest of the day and it still bothers me a little.

Reversible Asherton Scarf WIP – Free Pattern
Knitted Asherton Scarf WIP

Do you have a bad yarn shop experience?

Related Posts:
Asherton Reversible Scarf
How to Block a Scarf You Can Be Proud Of


21 Responses to “A Tale of a Bad Yarn Shop Experience”

  1. Inoriz says:

    Wow.. I wouldn’t have bought anything from them if I were you!

    BTW, I don’t wear scarves, so I thought I’d let others have a higher chance of winning the lovely scarf you knitted!

    Inoriz’s last blog post..Toddler Moc-A-Sox!

    • Salihan says:

      I don’t know why I bought something from them. Maybe it was to prove to her that I’m not poor? I highly doubt I’ll go back though!

      Btw, you can still try to win the scarf and give it away as a present. 🙂

  2. Wanett says:

    You should have felt insulted. I would have.

    I’m not sure if she has terrible customer service skills or if there is something deeper there. In any case, don’t go back.

    Wanett’s last blog post..Notes to self

  3. Kristin says:

    Ah yes…I have a similar story. There is a yarn shop (local to my Gram) which has a rather spotty reputation. They tend to treat me as if I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about when I go in there, and once lectured me for 20 minutes on the subject of ‘why you never put a baby in a natural fiber.’ I don’t shop there anymore.

  4. Shannon says:

    First of all, that scarf is absolutely beautiful.

    Secondly, what a witch!! You should have looked at her and said, “Really? Is this how you treat people that spend money in the store that makes your living for you??”


  5. Taueret says:

    ha- I know I heard this story first hand but I just want to say double HA. When I went down to Vic last January, I was taken to Purl’s Palace at Daylesford one day and got to have the whole “experience” of being treated like a freaking QUEEN by the staff- so I know it really can happen, even in AU. However- I almost always end up leaving other places feeling vaguely spotty and embarrassed somehow.

    Taueret’s last blog post..nupptastic park (and 4 (knitters) together!)

  6. San says:

    I am so sorry that happened to you. Anyway, it’s not about you but it is all about her. I wouldn’t let anyone talk that way to me, I would have gone to her and talked in a very normal tone giving her a piece of my mind.
    Once I went shopping and after fitting and trying out I had nearly 10 pieces of clothes in my hand. At the paying counter the lady kept talking to my husband totally ignoring I was even there. I just left the clothes on the counter and told my husband that I am not interested to shop in a place where I am invisible and I left. I never went back there.
    aaahhhh don’t let it bother you Han. Not worth spending one second thinking about such people.
    Take care of yourself ok

  7. San says:

    oh you can write a letter to the head of that company describing what happened. Perhaps the boss will ensure that she has better public relations skill. It will be a step towards better and happier shopping in that shop.

    • Salihan says:

      Hi San. Thanks for your understanding and encouragement. I think she was the boss of the shop and I don’t want to waste any more time on her shop. I won’t shop there again.

  8. Steph says:

    Where was it? I hate it when shop assistants make you feel embarrassed or intimidated. I had a similar experience at a clothing store recently and left feeling like some country hick that didn’t know anything.

  9. Dianagraff says:

    I have had experiences like this one, the last one at a book store, I am of hispanic decent so I find that some times I am treated unfairly, like being followed around too much or.. being treated indiferently, the last time that it happened at this one book store, I bought the book that I was going to buy any way out of pride I think, to show this lady that I wasn’t there to be dishonest. I know how you feel though.. if I were in your place, I would have bought yarn too.. out of pride, how rude of her.. pass it on, they don’t deserve any one’s business… Beautiful scarf though..

    Dianagraff’s last blog post..The finished Cat Beds have been delivered to the Shelter

    • Salihan says:

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Weirdly enough, I went back to the shop recently with another Asian friend simply because the yarn I wanted was cheapest there. She was busy with a customer but when we walked in, she stopped mid-sentence long enough to glance down at our bags. And as soon as that customer left, she was straight on our backs, was over-friendly and wanted to know if she could help. When we told her we already decided, she tried being all cutesy about how soft the yarn was. When my friend was paying for the yarn, I looked at some knitting accessories and the woman kept turning away from my friend to watch me! Haha! What a silly way to run a business! I wouldn’t go back there for any other reason but to buy that particular yarn from her shop, until I find somewhere cheaper to buy it from.

      P.S. I have finished that scarf and will blog about it soon. 🙂

  10. Diana Graff says:

    Tsk.. how brave of you.. I never went back to that store, it makes me sad since it was also one of my favorite toy stores for my children, they sell toys there that are not sold any where else in the city… but oh well 😉 I can’t give them my business any more, the lady was just so rude and the worst part is, she liked it, you could see it on her face, the glee… oh ! the mall that this store is in, closes this month.. KARMA! I wonder to how many other people she has been rude to..

    I guess people like that are everywhere, I hate when you don’t know if it’s you or your race that bothers them .. you know?

    Diana Graff’s last blog post..The finished Cat Beds have been delivered to the Shelter

  11. Salihan says:

    Haha… Don’t you just love karma!

    I grew up in Singapore where Malays (my ethnic background) are a minority but well accepted into society. Now that I’m in Australia, I’m even more a minority, where at times, I do wonder whether I’m being treated a certain way because of the colour of my skin.

    I hope that in the future, our generation and the generations after us will finally respect all ethnicities and treat everyone equally down to the grassroots level.

  12. Umi says:

    What goes around,comes around.

  13. Cassandra says:

    It’s amazing how some people even in knitting/yarn shops can be such rude, egotistical witches.
    In my town/city it’s hard to find yarn shops, so I usually shop in Walmart, Micheals, or Joanns for my yarn fix for knittin; however I shop on budgets w/ yarns since sometimes they can be quite expensive even in stores like that.
    I think that woman will be bitten severely by karma if that’s how she treats her customers, especially minorities who do go into the shop. It’s just not right treating anyone like that, especially us knitters.
    Kudos on you and your friend getting great yarn though.

  14. n2scent says:

    i know the feeling , it happens everyday to some of us

Powered by Wordpress | Designed by Elegant Themes