Shop Local - That's Debatable!

I've decided that local merchants must be making too much money! Now, how did I arrive at this conclusion? This happened yesterday...I debated for almost 24 hours whether or not to air my thoughts.

I had occasion to shop a couple of weeks ago at a quilt shop about 60 miles from home. It's a sole proprietorship - the kind I like to support. To say I loved the fabric in her shop is an understatement - left her with over $200. (That's a pretty substantial amount out of my little pocketbook!!) But, back to my story....I wanted more of one of the fabrics I purchased, so Wednesday morning, gave her a call with the fabric color, description, designer name and manufacturer. In other words, I read her every detail on the selvage to recognize the fabric. She said she had one fabric that met that description so if I would send her a clip of the fabric I wanted, she would see if she had it!! Now, let me digress, her little shop was one room, I'm guessing perhaps 1000 square feet. If she were standing in her shop, scanning the fabric, couldn't she go see? I gave her the benefit of the doubt and suggested that if she had a customer, she could check later and give me a call back. I got a negative on this suggestion (she had to have the clip of fabric in hand to match). I was just there less than two weeks ago! It's a little country fabric store....a little building about 50' from her home. What are the odds that a bolt of fabric is sold out in two weeks?? What are the odds that she didn't immediately recognize the fabric I was coveting more of??

I really need this fabric, so headed to my trustworthy, congenial, eager to help computer and voila....found my fabric at Over The Rainbow Fabric. No...not end of story....when I opened my email this morning, Laura had let me know that she appreciated my order...that it was in the mail....and that I had been reimbursed $5 on the postage! I got the sincere feeling that she liked my money - obviously more than the local merchant.

Our local economy is not thriving! Shops are scaling back on employees and inventory. Shops are going out of business. But not the little fabric store 60 miles away. She's making way too much money - she doesn't have to help her customers. She obviously doesn't want her customers to re-visit her shop or drop their cash there. Shopping local may not always be the best policy!

I can now wait on the postman with a clear conscience about online shopping. Hey, thanks for that my rant is over, I'll be able to hum and skip through the remainder of my day.



  1. Isn't it amazing that some shopkeepers are so dense? Not only has she hurt her own profit [any two hundred dollar shopping spree should certainly be noted by any independent business person] but it also trickles over to other local shops when we hear of the shabby treatment. Besides, shopping via the Net means we can do it in our jammies.
    BTW, thanks for all the Giveaway links. We're bound to win at least one of these, aren't we?

  2. Me thinks you are being too hard on your local merchant. I'm thinking here that her intent was only to be precise and she gave you the reply that would MOST assuredly make sure what she cut was EXACTLY what you needed despite your verbal details. (I hope your online purchase dye lot is close enough for your projects but I wouldn't count on it)

  3. Well, this reminds me of a certain fabric store in the area of the college which has the rudest service I have seen. The first time I went there (after my favorite fabric store had closed down) a woman who worked there literally followed me all around the entire store staring at me as if I was going to shove a bolt of fabric under my shirt and walk out with it. They have answered my questions rudely on a couple of occasions too. They also seem to know nothing about fabric or sewing at all.
    In general, they act as if you are causing them no end of trouble by shopping there. Guess they make too much money too.

  4. Gerry, I sure hope to win one of those great prizes....

    Sheila, you may be right...but

    Misty, I know exactly the one you wrote about.

  5. Came for the studio tour and got caught up in this post. I just have to wonder about people who go into business and think they are doing folks a favor simply by opening their doors or answering their phone. Unfortunately, too many small shop owners have this mentality and when they go out of business, they wonder why.
    I've left a substantial amount of purchase at the cash register because of rude owners...I give the employees more leeway, after all, how much loyalty can one buy for minimum wage.

  6. Regarding your experience...this is my opinion as a shop owner, but yes, she should have, at the very least, had some idea about which fabric you were speaking, and yes, she should have offered to put you on hold and go look to see if the fabric was still in stock.

    As an online shop owner, I try very hard to please my customers and will even refer them to another shop if I know where they can find what they want if I don't carry it. I also refund excess shipping fees. I do this because it's the right thing to do. Some people appreciate it and others don't, but it makes me feel good and that's what counts.


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