Friday, January 1, 2010

One Addition and One Rant

I knew I would forget something I wanted to put on yesterday's list. Photography. This year I would like to learn how to use our digital camera, how to take decent-ish pictures with it, and how to upload/crop/publish said pictures.

IF I can accomplish that, you may actually see an occasional photo on this blog. Imagine! The mind boggles...

The rant: The economy is in the toilet, right? People are losing jobs and companies are going out of business right and left, true? If I owned a business I would want to be one of the lucky ones who didn't go under during the Great Recession. If I had a paying job I would want to be one of the lucky ones who didn't lose it.

But it seems I am perhaps...unique or at least holding to this philosophy? If I were a company who did business two ways: a physical store (maybe made of brick and mortar, but more likely steel and some sort of plastic stuff) and a website...I would want customers to spend money at both of those places. Right? Unless maybe I was running the business as some giganto tax write-off or as a cover operation for my drug ring??

So why, why, WHY do the folks who own Joann Fabrics seem intent on discouraging people from buying their merchandise?

There is a Joann Fabrics store in our fair city. It is in an inconvenient location for me, but that's not the deal-breaker. The deal-breaker is that the store is just nasty. It is dirty, it is unorganized, it is confusing, it is lit with glaring fluorescent lights, it is staffed with people who know nothing about the products, and if all those weren't enough, the restrooms are a nightmare of filth and disease. So I shop there only when I have absolutely no other choice, and I most often manage to find some other choice.

But Joann Fabrics also has a website! Aha! A I can shop from the comfort of my reasonably clean, incandescently lighted home! A website...with information about the products so I can pick what I want without needing sales staff to help me. A website...with many products always in stock so that I don't have to worry about them being out of what I want. A I can shop conveniently. A I can take advantage of their sales and get what I need shipped to my cozy little house.

If only.

No, Joann Fabrics has one of THOSE websites. The finicky kind, the kind where you log in to your account and add things to your shopping cart and sometimes they stay there but sometimes they don't. The kind where you try browser after browser, even stooping so low as to try Internet Explorer on a Windows machine to see if that will work. The kind where you pull up all the items you want to buy in your browser's tabs and get ready to add them super, super quickly so you don't lose them. (That works with one of my other nemesis websites, Kohls.)

Joann Fabrics currently has a sale on some yarn I want, some yarn Natalie wants, and a thread organizer Natalie wants. I had considered driving over to AC Moore today to get my yarn, but why do that when I can get the sale price and shop from the comfort of my home? Well, now I know why. Joann Fabrics is corporately suicidal. They do not want to stay in business. What other conclusion can a sensible person draw? If I cannot place an order after fussing with it for over an hour and getting help from my in-house tech support (who designs websites and KNOWS when I'm just making some stupid mistake in using one), then how in the world do they manage to stay in business?

Tomorrow I will again attempt to buy some yarn. I will likely get in the car and drive across town to either AC Moore or Michaels. Both of them are enough cleaner and better staffed than Joann that I feel better about giving them my money. Because the yarn I need is cheap acrylic I'm sure to find it at one of those stores.

But I could also consider going to one of the two real knitting shops in town where no doubt I would find friendly people to take my money. For some projects I would do that, or I would order from a real knitting shop such as Webs in Northampton, Massachusetts. Webs, amazingly enough, has a website that allows customers to purchase things! What a concept!

Do you think anyone at Joann Fabrics' corporate office cares that they are losing business like this? I really wonder. and e-commerce. One addition, one rant. Welcome to 2010!


Fern said...

Lol, this is exactly the reason I am using the big chain craft stores less and less. My main issue is that they employ people who don't know anything about crafting and seem to have no desire to learn. I actually one member of staff in Spotlight over here argue with me when I asked her where the bamboo yarn had moved to. "You can't make yarn out of bamboo! It's wood!". I found it myself.

Good luck on your yarn hunt!

amy said...

Oh, JoAnn's. I hear you. And the lines!! And the confusing pricing! Last time I was in there (spending a small fortune on fabric for Halloween costumes and Patriots curtains, and if I'd been able to figure out the pricing..oh, never mind) I asked a question about the pattern I was buying, and how to lay the pieces if I wasn't making part of it, because they didn't have as much fabric on the bolt as the pattern called for but I didn't think I needed it all, considering. And when I didn't understand the first answer the girl behind the counter got really snotty and all "I'm a pattern drafter I KNOW what I'm talking about," and I explained that I wasn't doubting her; I just really didn't understand. Yeesh. If I want abuse like that I can stay home and talk to my 8yo...