Saturday, March 20, 2010

Misfortunes in Fabric Shopping

I had an unfortunate experience yesterday at Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg and I guess I'm interested in reading other people's opinions.

This store had been my favorite for many, many years. Over the years, I have spent way too many $$$ there. I was there Sunday, with Jane and bought well over $100 in fabric. I had purchased 5 yards of a particular beige for the background of a quilt that I am making for an online BOM.

I got home and found that the instructions require 10.5 years of background fabric. That seemed like an awful lot but I stewed about it and decided to bite the bullet and go back to and buy the additional fabric. Better too much than not enough. I certainly don't want to get into September and run out.

Anyway, I took a swatch with me to match and apparently did not do a good job. I picked up the wrong bolt and asked for 6 yards. The lady cutting looked at the swatch also and said that they matched. 2 sets of eyes are supposed to be better than one. Wouldn't you think that someone working in the store would be more familiar with what they had in stock? I also bought another 4 yards of other stuff while I was there.

I paid for the fabric and went to the bathroom. Right next to the bathroom, I saw the fabric that was a match. I brought the new bolt to the counter and asked to exchange. They said no.

I couldn't believe it. I've been a good customer for years. I was upset. One of the owners of the store was there and said it looks like I am drowning in beige. I was not amused. As I stood there at the counter, I looked at the fabric that I did buy and noticed a flaw. I pointed it out to the lady behind the register and she said, 'What do you want me to do about it?'. I was stunned and said I didn't know. Well, the lady walked away as I just stood there. I waited a few minutes and she was off in another area of the store sorting fabric. Did I say I was stunned?

I picked up my stuff and left. I was totally pissed! I drove a couple blocks away and fumed and came back to the store. I had a punch card from that store that was almost full, worth $26. I really did want the other beige that did match.

I got another 6 yards of the beige that did match, used my punch card, and charged the balance on my visa card. They wanted to give me another punch card. I told them to give it to someone else. They got me for about $300 this week but I will never spend another dime there.

Now my question to you is, How hard would it have been to take the 6 yards of fabric and make a swap? How many times have you been to a quilt store and have seen multiple pieces of the same fabric on one bolt? I didn't think this would have been a big deal. They were both very similar in color and the same price. Is this worth losing a good customer over? Was I being unreasonable?

At any rate, this experience put my ego in check. I was arrogant enough to think that my loyal patronage was worth something. Silly me.

ttfn :) Yuki


Cathi said...

I can understand shop owners wanting to have continuous yardage on a bolt BUT when you're talking about a six-yard piece, that is a whole different thing. They wouldn't take the bolt off their shelves if it only had 6 yards left on it.
You find a flaw in fabric and they don't immediately rush to make an exchange?? Perhaps they're giving lessons in how to drive customers away with that kind of attitude.
There used to be a quilt shop here with a most unpleasant owner. Service was completely hit and miss. I know many quilters who wouldn't go in that store no matter what they needed. Eventually, she closed the store. I often wondered if she had any insight into why her store didn't attract loyal customers. Very odd for those in a business such as a quilt shop to have such rotten customer service skills.

Nanbon44 said...

I would have just told them to keep the fabric and left it laying on their counter and told them I didn't want flawed fabric. Guess that is why some shops just don't do all that well and end up closing after a few years in business. I had a different type of shop and I knew who my good customers were and treated them quite well, but then all my customers were special to me.

QuiltSue said...

Unbelievable. How can any shop expect to keep going if that's their attitude. I'm afraid that, being me, I would have insisted on seeing the owner and I would have insisted on an exchange. It's still not too late to write and complain to the owner which would be my next step.

I don't think you were being at all unreasonable.

Loris said...

Yes, that would upset me too...especially after they cut a flawed piece of fabric for you. I understand their need to protect their profit but poor customer service and support obviously backfires. I'm sorry you lost a place you enjoyed shopping.

Mego said...

WRITE to the owner of the store and tell her your experience. If that IS the policy of the store then so be it. Do tell them you will be sharing your experience. CUSTOMER SERVICE is the number one rule of MOST stores. If not, they don't stay in business. This woman's attitude was ridiculous. ESPECIALLY in this economic environment. Good luck.

sewali said...

That's crazy, they won't stay in business long with that attitude.

Anonymous said...

I think that unless the store designs, manufactures and holds exclusive rights to the fabric that better customer service should be a high consideration to their business. Quilters can and will find their fabric somewhere where they are valued for their patronage. A 6 yard piece can be cut into fat quaters and sold without excessive loss to the store. It is a shame, we went to this store and had a fun experience. But, its off my list when I return to the area. Jan Christine

Chariot said...

Definitely write the company or owner and tell them your experience. They are crazy for allowing such poor service.