Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Rant: Is a Bone Folder really worth all of this?

OK, we all know what a bone folder looks like, right?  A very common little tool for creasing or folding paper ... used by bookbinders, scrap-bookers, and many other paper artists.

All I wanted was a little old bone folder.  So, I stopped by my local Hobby Lobby, thinking I would just run in, grab one quickly, pay for it, and run back out.  HAH!  I should have known better ... Hobby Lobby is not known for having the best (or in fact, any) customer service.

First of all, of course, there was no bone folder to be found in either the art or the craft section.  After looking and looking, then vainly searching for an employee ... any employee ... on the entire sales floor of this giant store ... I finally trudged up to the front of the store near the cash registers.

There, lounging around the area, were six ... count 'em, SIX ... Hobby Lobby employees, with nary a customer to be seen in the area, laughing and talking and having a wonderful time.  I actually had to interrupt them in order to ask for assistance.  Here's how the conversation went:

Me:  Excuse me, do any of you know where the bone folders would be?  

Them:  (Blank looks.  Confused silence.)  

Me:  You know, a bone folder, used for bookbinding, paper folding ... etc. etc. etc.  

One of Them, who was later discovered to be the Front-of-Store Manager:  Ohhhh, that flat thing that people use for flattening paper?

Me:  Yes, that's the one.

Front Manager:  Well, I don't know if we have any.

Me (After a Long Meaningful Pause):   Well, can you find out if you have any?

FM:  She (pointing) will go with you and show you where they are.

She:  I don't know where they are.

FM:  Yes you do.  They're probably with that scrap-booking stuff.

She:  OK, I'll look, but I'm not guaranteeing I can find it.

Me:  (sighing and following She, with little hope.)

Well, as you can probably guess, there was no bone folder to be found.  Upon returning to the cashier's station with the rest of my purchases (yes, I have no will power when it comes to art supplies), I began asking where the Store Manager was.  

Front Manager:  I don't know, I don't think he's here.

Me:  When will he be here?

FM:  I don't know, they usually don't come in until the afternoon.

Me:  What is his name?

FM (looking shifty-eyed):  I don't know, they keep changing all the time.

Me:  Can you tell me why you have 6 employees up here at the front ... with no customers to be waited on ... and none in the rest of the store to assist customers?

FM (smiling nastily):  I don't know, I'm only the front-of-store manager.  Why didn't you just come up to the front here and I could have sent someone back to help you?

Me (incredulously):  Are you kidding me?

Now, I fully recognize that this little Front-of-Store Manager didn't have any real authority, and that she was just following the rules set down by Upper Management.  Nevertheless, I was trying to get her to understand that I would like my complaints passed up to the next level.  She chose to take the offensive tack, however, by blaming me for not trekking up to the front in order to track down an employee for assistance all the way on the other side of the store.

About this time, one of the Very Valuable Up-Front Employees (the one who stands slack-jawed at the front door to "greet" customers) chose this moment to roll her eyes expressively to one of her co-workers.  Unfortunately, I caught her doing it, and promptly called her on it to the Manager ... who looked me straight in the eye and said, "she wan't doing it about you, she was doing it about someone else."  Yeah.  Right.

As our conversation was getting louder and louder (the woman was actually arguing with me), an older gentleman walked up behind me and asked for the return of his backpack.  When the woman very condescendingly assured him that it was "tucked away, safe and sound", he asked, very politely, why he even needed to surrender it when he came into the store.  When she explained that it was to prevent shoplifting, he (again, very politely) asked if his backpack was any bigger than his wife's shoulder purse.
At this point, I was already so mad that I told the manager and everybody else within a half-block's hearing distance that it was an INSULT to their customers to automatically assume that they were thieves, depending on the type and size bag they bring into the store.  

Whereupon, the gentleman and I grandly (and I'm sure, hilariously) stomped out of the store together, swearing never to return.

I'll seriously not be going back to Hobby Lobby ... I'll happily drive a little further and give my business to Michael's.
I'm also writing a letter to CEO David Green ... it all comes from the top down, of course, and this Ostentatiously Christian Business has decided it's OK to blatantly insult its customers by assuming that they are shoplifters.

Not to mention never having enough (or any) employees on the sales floor to assist customers.  Ever.
Can you tell I'm royally P.O.'d?
OK, I'm going to go bind my quilt now.  Maybe sitting nice and quiet in my Big Comfy Chair and hand-stitching the binding will lower my blood pressure.  Wish me luck.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Crown Royal, anyone?

My friend Sharon Dixon, of Katy T-Shirt Quilts, has done what I had always thought was impossible ... she actually made a beautiful Crown Royal quilt!

Crown Royal Quilt, double-bed size
People have been trying to make quilts from the pretty little Crown Royal liquor bags for many years, and I had never seen one that was very nice.  For one thing, the bags are not manufactured with the intent that they be used as anything other than marketing tools to sell the liquor, and therefore are not what we would call "quilt-shop quality" fabric.  For another, people who have tried to make quilts from them generally just try to sew them all together to make a quilt top ... not usually a pretty sight.

Sharon, however, has used her quilt-making skills to actually create a lovely quilt top that happens to incorporate the Crown Royal bags without overwhelming the design of the quilt.  She first purchases two different fabrics to match or harmonize with the bags, then stabilizes the bag fabric before piecing them into her quilt-top design.  She quilts with an overall design on her longarm quilting machine, and hand-binds the quilt for a beautiful finish.

detail of Crown Royal quilt
What do you think?  Isn't this the prettiest Crown Royal quilt you can imagine?  She made this first one to order, and will also make custom sizes if you visit her Etsy shop.  I just had to brag on her here, as I think this one is very unique.  Now I wish I'd saved all my Grandpa's old Crown Royal bags!