I'd like some opinions - LYS experience

Since I’m still fairly new to the knitting community I thought I’d ask you all for your opinions on a recent experience I had a my LYS. I have been in this shop several times, always buying yarn and sometimes asking for help. The staff and owner have always been wonderful, friendly, and exceptionally helpful. I took two classes there this week and the classes were as good as I had hoped, I learned a lot and had fun.

BUT, at the beginning of the first class one of the other students had not brought the right sized needle so I offered to loan her one as I had my KP set with me (my new Harmony - I haven’t even used it yet!). Of course, that elicited comments from all the knitters about the needles, and one of the other students had never seen the Options/Harmony set and was very interested. I started talking about it and the teacher quickly hushed me and with hand signals and head shakes made it clear we should not be talking about them. I know the teacher meant well and was trying to prevent an awkward situation, but of course this made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Shortly after this the owner left for the evening and the teacher explained that the owner didn’t like it when customers talked about a product in her shop that she could not sell.

In addition to this, I am lucky enough to be in an area where I have several LYS easily available to me. Although I like the overall atmosphere of this shop best - the set up is roomy and cozy, the yarn wonderful, the staff so helpful and the location for me is great - this is the only shop where, if I am looking for something specific, they either say “no, we don’t carry it” or try to sell me a substitution. The other shops in the area always suggest I try “this shop” or “that shop” if they don’t carry something specific I’ve asked for, and one of them actually called around for me on one occasion to see if her competitors had what I was looking for on hand.

I do understand that she is in business to sell product, but I have just been left with a little bit of a bad taste and wonder if she won’t play on my fiber naivety a little bit in talking me into alternatives or overselling me a bit. I can understand perhaps not joining in on a conversation about a product she can’t sell, but to promote an atmosphere that dampens knitters’ general conversation and enthusiasm over a tool seems a little “small”. I am just torn if I am being unfair to the store owner to feel this way and if her “from my shop or don’t bring it up” attitude is more reasonable than I see it. Sorry for the long post, but I really am interested in all your opinions!

Im with you, I would be feeling awfull, confused, a bit put-out and prolly a bit angry about now. And frankly, I wouldnt go back there, but thats just me and my stand-off-ish-ness xD

Running a business, I understand. But being rude whilst doing it?

Thanks for your response Pudify :thumbsup:

But, I want to be clear that they weren’t really rude - I actually think the teacher was trying to be helpful and the owner never actually said anything - but it is more a “shop culture” type of thing :shrug:

Yes, I get that, but I would TAKE it as being rude lol. And I dont like that kind of “shop culture”, I would rather knit somewhere I could actualy natter about the items I wanted to, rather then being restricted to whats sold in the shop xD

I agree, I’ve never encountered this but mainly because I haven’t hit many yarn shops in the US.

It just seems like they were being a bit rude, I would probably go back to the shop but only if I had to.

I have the same experience with Scrapbooking when I was more heavily into this hobby.

The motivation is protection.

But I’ve worked for several of the big box stores, including WalMart and Home Depot while in University.

I was taught that if we didn’t have the right item but knew where it was we should tell the customer where to get that item and at the Home Depot I was told I could use our phone to check if a particular store had that item for the client.

Why? Because that would leave a really good impression with the customer. The next time their first instinct would be to go to the store where I worked because I was honest and gave good service.

Having been taught that, I now steam inside when I experience what you experienced!

Yes, Songbirdy, that is exactly what my thoughts and reaction were. To me, the thing that will keep me coming back, especially to a specialty store, is all about the “customer’s needs” attitude, even above price. I just feel a little disappointed as I had thought I had found my “home” :shrug:

I would feel pretty upset, if only because you were only trying to be helpful and you were hushed like a child. The teacher only meant well, but it’s sort of embarassing. I have worked in retail, especially independent retail, which is quite different from working at a “big box store”. While working at an independent store you want the customer to be happy, but you want them to shop at your store. My first step after we didn’t have something the customer was looking for was to find them something else similar and then something they weren’t looking for. This is just basic selling. This is what my boss insisted on. When he wasn’t around I would often tell someone where they could get something if we didn’t have it, but they always appreciated it and I know it was good business, but not everyone sees it that way.
I can understand not wanting you to talk about how great something is when they don’t sell it, but you should be able to.
The owner didn’t say anything about you talking about the needles, only the teacher, right? Maybe it’s more of the teacher feeling uncomfortable with it, rather than the owner.
Your feelings are totally valid, but give the store another chance. One bad experience shouldn’t make you never shop there again. Perhaps they are just using older sales tactics like my boss did (he was 80 and really into the old way of business). They do work, but there are flaws…hence the new business tactics!

I can understand how you would feel not being able to discuss this. Knitting is something to share and tools of the trade are part of that. If this was in a public place I would completely agree with you but I respectfully have to disagree with you somewhat. I can see the shop owner’s perspective too. You are sitting in her store granted having paid $ to take a class there but none the less in her store not a public place like a park or coffee shop discussing tools of the trade that she is not able to carry even if she wanted to. Imagine having a guest in your home staying for one night who must do something, oh I don’t know, maybe watch some TV show that you don’t watch. How would you feel? It is rude. The shop owner is offering “her space” namely the store for you to learn a new skill. Most shops do not make money on classes or if they do, very little from the actual fee more likely from the materials and supplies. The money pays for the instructor, the hydro, the heat etc. They are offered in the spirit of sharing knowledge and therefore ultimately that you will learn something that may lead to purchasing materials. Most stores will pass on information that the competition has, that is good customer service. But as a customer too, you have to remember that during a class you are a guest in their space.

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now.

Our LYS made a SnB group I attend sometimes uncomfortable so they started going elsewhere. Now they meet in the library, where they can talk about every yarn shops’ sales, discuss online vendors, and (something I really don’t like and don’t participate in) make photocopies of patterns from books and amongst themselves.

Cons: no fiber and needles and advice except from other people who happen to be there
Pros: no fiber and needles to spend whole wallet on because you feel obligated to, and no unsolicited advice and opinions about projects and yarn (we don’t really care to hear that you prefer DPNs more than once…)

I totally get you on shop culture. Recently, another LYS opened up in my town, and she carries Knit Picks yarn! I bought one bare skein to try my hand at dyeing, which I wouldn’t have done online. But I don’t know if she’s able to sell it for cheaper than it is online, even with lack of shipping … Very cool though! AND she offers a military discount… drool


I have to respectfully disagree. She PAID for a class there. If the owner had specified that they had to buy all materials at her store, that would be different. BUT, if not, I believe it is just conversation. I just do not understand this idea. She cannot carry Options anyway, and her actions may have caused enough discomfort to have lost everyone at that class as a customer. How did that save her any money?

wow!! I didn’t think KP sold to LYS’s :happydance:

I have experienced a certain “AIR” in a LYS of arrogance. It is from the owner and If I HAVE to go to that store I go when the owner is off( I asked when her off day is). I am taking a class today at another store and using my Options circular needles I just bought and was feeling guilty about using needles I did not buy there. I am sure they will ask. We will see how it goes!:knitting:

This is very interesting - and exactly what I was hoping for - the differing opinions. I really am torn about my “gut reaction” as I do see both sides of it. I defintely will not stop frequenting this shop as all my other experiences there have been so positive - but I do still think that a more open attitude would, in the long run, be better for her business. I will, however, be a little more reserved in just what I discuss while in the store in the future…:shrug:

I don’t think its realistic for any LYS owner to think that the customers are ONLY going to buy EVERYTHING they use for their knitting enjoyment in their shop.

Everyone knows there are great places on line and in other stores that have lots of items that some LYS do not sell. I think discouraging you to do a “show and tell” would turn customers away. It’s exciting to see NEW knitting items that are out there. I understand that if it IS sold at that shop it should/could be purchased there. They are there to make money.

In my LYS I had my Denise needles with me during a class and many of the ladies had never seen them before. The owner did not mind me showing them. She knew she could order them if anyone wanted to purchase them from her.

In the same position I would feel quite uncomfortable so I see where you are coming from. I agree that if you are paying for a class you should be treated as a customer. I would not thank the teacher or the owner for causing me to feel uncomfortable at a class I had paid for. That said I can also see why she wouldn’t want people recommending products that she can’t sell.
I’d put it down to a one off and try to forget about the unpleasantness. Now that you know how the owner feels you can be more aware of what you are saying and avoid such experiences in future. Though it is a shame that you can’t talk freely about certain knitting products when in the shop.

Free speech, we’re allowed it here.:teehee: Being shushed like that is awfully rude.

I can see if the shop owner encouraged the teacher not to discuss items she could not sell, the teacher being employed by the shop, but to expect customers not to discuss items is out of bounds and unreasonable.

I’d still shop there, but I wouldn’t be attending any more of their classes.

WOW! I’m a little surprised so many people are coming down on the side of it being a bit inappropriate on behalf of the shop - I feel a little better about my “gut reaction”. Again, other than this one incident I really like this shop, and you are right rachejm, I will just be a little more aware not to “gush” over my KP products while in that particular shop in the future.

Guess I’ll just have to find an SnB in the area that does not meet in a shop so I can gush all I want :teehee: That was my first experience knitting outside of my own house and I did like the comraderie of being with other knitters:happydance:, but also thought that maybe I was a little oversensitive as I was a little nervous :slight_smile:

Well, I probably would have said something right there, waving my Harmonies in the air for good measure. But, I always did have a problem with keeping my mouth shut!

I agree with others who have said the teacher’s actions were uncalled for - they probably brought more attention than if she had just let the conversation die on its own.

You could speak with the owner about it, but if you are not comfortable any longer there, then just go to that shop when need be and find somewhere else. You shouldn’t have to censor yourself, especially regarding a product this owner does not and cannot sell.

My "L"YS is 25 miles away and pretty much the only one within a 50+ radius of my house. They have classes also and they do state that if you need supplies, they would prefer you buy them there, but you are free to bring, use and discuss whatever. But if I had your experience in my LYS, I would definitely think again before I went back there!

There is enough online and I don’t mind a road trip every once in a while so I can get whatever I need if I don’t go there. My money spends anywhere (albeit a little too freely at times, LOL!).

One of my pet peeves is being “shushed,” for whatever reason. I think the teacher was out of line to do so. If the owner doesn’t want [I]her[/I] discussing stuff they can’t sell there, that is fine. But I think it would be in extremely poor taste to insist that customers bring OR discuss only supplies from the shop. That’s just silly.

I bet the teacher has been reprimanded for discussing things they do not sell and thought she was “saving” you from getting a remark from the owner. In fact, the owner probably would not have said anything (at least I would hope that is the case).

Some LYS owners [I]are[/I] a little weird, though. I encountered one shopper at a LYS who had been trying to get some specific yarn for a specific pattern, and had been turned down to purchase it at another LYS. The owner [I]had[/I] the necessary yarn in stock, but apparently thought the project was beyond the knitter’s abilities. [B]She actually refused to sell it! [/B] I was floored. But apparently this particular store owner has a rep for being weird like that. (Like it’s her stash, not a store, :teehee:).

People continually surprise me.

So yeah, I wouldn’t ban myself from the store, but I would be a little irked. Actually, I probably would have said something like, “Oh since you don’t sell these I’m not allowed to talk about them, is that what you’re saying?” really loud. :mrgreen: