Old people?  Crafty people?  Or just people who work at JoAnn’s Fabrics?

I had a moment of creativity recently and decided to put my 8th grade home-ec skills to the test and make Eliott an apron which she can wear while painting or coloring with markers.  It has a little pocket to hold things, and when unworn, ties up in to a neat little carrying case.  I’m calling it an “Art Apron” and seriously considering opening my own little Etsy page (I know nothing about how this works so I probably didn’t even say that right) and selling these bad boys for $20 a piece.  Seriously.

Anyway, I had one of my rare good-Mommy moments, and actually took Eliott with me to JoAnn’s to pick out her fabric.  It was exactly as fun and exciting as you can imagine it would be for a 4 year old, and for once, I’m not being sarcastic at all when I say that.  Anyway, the minute we parked, dark clouds rolled in and I realized we probably needed to kill at least 30 but maybe 45 minutes inside because I did not have an umbrella.

We were two of perhaps nine people in the entire store.

After fiddling through all of the random treasures on the clearance rack for far too long, oogle-eying the crayola section twice, and touching every single bolt of pink fabric that existed, the brief thunderstorm finally seemed to be letting up.  Eliott settled on two surprisingly complimentary patterns and we were ready to go.  Though this may come as a bit of a shock, I actually know my way around a fabric store and I’m surprisingly comfortable with the whole measuring and cutting before buying part.  But I seriously wish I had been with someone other than Eliott to witness to the final order of events.

We approach the cutting table where one older scissor-wielding-woman is helping no one, but tidying up her space and talking to a younger, male associate (who, from his conversation and body language, seems to be as excited about the sale on some Cinderella blue fringe as Eliott would be).  I approach the table and make eye contact with the woman, holding my two bolts of fabric, and start to say, “I probably only need half a yard…” when she interrupts me with, “Just a minute, ma’am.  Did you take a number?”  She taps the little red box with the number strips poking out the front, possibly for the purpose of demonstration.

My face clearly reads, “Is this a joke?  I’m the only one here.  Or, is there some line I’m somehow missing, made up of one of the other eight people in this store right now?”  So of course I laugh a little.  When her eyes go from slightly annoyed to straight stern, I pull my number and take exactly two steps back.  She then informs me that if I have any other shopping to do (“Maybe you need some notions?”) I could take care of that over on aisle 14.

Clearly she’s unaware that my 4-year-old and I have already taken a mental inventory of the entire store.

“Nope.”  I say, trying not to smirk because I feel like a 7th grader again.  “Just need the fabric.  I’ll wait.”

At this point, Eliott declares somewhat emphatically and with certainly no concern for volume control, “What are we waiting for Mommy?  There’s no one here.”

“Excellent question, Eliott-my-four-year-old,” I comment to no one in particular.

I’m holding number 27.

Number 26 is lit up in red dots on the screen over the cutting table.  The woman puts her scissors in her adult-sized Art Apron pocket (I knew there was a market for these things), walks around the small counter in the center of the cutting area, and the number clicks to 27.

“27?”  She says a little too loudly, and actually looks around curiously.  Her eyes slowly pan back to me (who hasn’t moved), raises her eyebrows and says, “Is that you?”

I swear to you I had to bite my tongue to keep from squinting at my number strip and saying, “Nope.  Not me,” and intently looking around with her for the other number 27 in line.

Number 27? Is that you?
$20 Limited Edition
Take a Number
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7 thoughts on “Take a Number

  • That style of “customer service” (more like customer disservice, you mean) is textbook JoAnn’s…taught and deployed at every single location nationwide, I swear…it’s amazing they are still in business. Nice work on the apron, though. Etsy is indeed calling…

    1. My mother said almost the same thing. I think I learned my first lesson in getting overcharged at a JoAnn’s in 7th grade. I learned my first lesson in how Mama Bear fights for her cubs immediately following. (It’s those damn 40% off coupons that keep everyone coming back.)

  • As we already discussed on the phone, I would rather have a root canal with no anesthetic than have to go to JoAnn Fabric Store FOR ANYTHING!

  • Nice apron, beautiful model! Amazing story, I have never been treated like that but I tend to avoid JoAnn for better fabric stores.

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