Monday, March 5, 2012

In which I remember why I stopped going to Joann's a long, long time ago

Yeah, so if you can't tell from the title of my post...I HATE Joann's fabrics. I am sure in some parts of the country, Joann's is worth going to. Not the one closest to me. For one, Pacific Fabrics, a local Seattle fabric chain is much, much closer, and even though they're pricier, they carry really nice fabrics and all the people there are super friendly and helpful. The only things I don't like are that the only time they have sales I'm usually out of town (this has happened the last THREE times they've had sales, what are the odds?), and their sales are incredibly rare, as are coupons. Their fabrics are standard price, but all their accessories--notions and thread and rotary blades and stuff--tend to be a dollar or more expensive than I could get elsewhere. But I like going there and it's totally on the way to Target and since I go to Target a lot, I always have an excuse to pop into Pacific Fabrics "just for a spool of thread, oh look how did all these fat quarters get into my basket."

And then there's Joann's. It's out of the way for me. It's on a large main road I hate driving down. The last time I was there I witnessed an infuriating conversation between a worker and a customer. The customer was buying buttons and they had rung up at the regular price--not sale price. When she politely pointed this out to the cashier, the cashier flatly told her she was wrong. The customer asked to see a copy of the sale ad to see if she was mistaken, and the cashier laughed and said, "I don't think so. I'm not going to check because I know you're wrong." After a few more heated words, the customer left in a huff without paying...and out of curiosity, when I got home I checked the ad and the buttons were totally on sale. This was just such an awful bit of customer service (plus I don't like their quilting fabrics) that I swore I'd never go back.

But I'm tight on money and I just got a bunch of coupons for them and I need more bobbins and rotary blades and the baby needed fresh air, so I packed us up in the car and drove down the stupid road to Joann's. It took me a full hour to get back out of there, and 10 of that was waiting to get a yard of cheap white solids cut (I have plans for a small wall hanging I don't want to blow my Konas on) because no one was around and another 15 was spent in line because they had one person working the registers who was going. As. Slowly. As. Possible.  While another worker just kind of watched for about ten minutes before opening another register. It's not worth the trek there and back to spend 25 minutes waiting around because of their poor customer service. A friend of mine assures that a Joann's in another part of town is better, but it's harder for me to get to. Maybe I'll try that one some day. Maybe.

ANYWAY, I got a new rotary blade because--well, I needed it, but I'm also hopefully going to be cutting 168 charm squares for the Rainbow Charm Swap, hosted by Sara at Modern Pink Designs (thanks to Annaliese for mentioning it!). There's only slots for 28 people right now, so join quickly! I've been wanting charm squares because I like wanting things and then buying the things that I wanted, and I especially like getting fabric stuff in the mail, so it should be fun. I want to join more swaps and stuff this year, so point me towards anything quick and easy going on! (That means no double wedding ring quilt swaps!!!)


  1. I sympathise totally! Our Joann equivalent in Australia is exactly the same - massive waits, slow staff, questionable customer service. On top of that everytime I go for white solid or thread they've sold out. Ok, I've had my vent now :)

  2. I have a small Joann's close to me that has a much more "local home-town" feel, the staff if nice and helpful. But I've been to several like the one you describe, and I wouldnt want to shop there either, it's too bad you don't have a decent one but I'm glad you have somewhere else to shop! A charm swap sounds cool, hope you have fun participating :D

  3. We not even ave a Joanna's here, but I'm lucky in that I have to shops that stock patchwork fabric and lovely staff, both about 20 minute drive (opposite directions of course!!). Also dad lives in Florida, so I occasionally come ver to visit fabric shops and him. I think the dinosaur fabric on your goodie from the mug rug swap was fom WalMart!!!

  4. That is too bad for you. For me, Joann's is heaven, since we used to have no stores like that here in Germany. Over the last couple of years it's gotten better and it does help to live in Berlin, where the hand-made community is growing bigger by the minute. We have cute little stores with pricy but up-to-date designer fabrics.
    But when I'm in the States I LOVE going to Joann's and those 2 that are in the Austin area are gigantic and most of the people that work there are friendly.
    But last time I had a bad encounter with a worker at the cutting table and I did find out that WalMart had the exact same cutting mats for half the price!
    Have fun with the swap. I just got into a big one and I am very excited!
    Kate just pointed to a few more:

  5. Our Joanns here is pretty similar--most of the staff are pretty friendly, but SLOW to boot. It's a very small store, not very clean, and hard to navigate through the aisles-only reason I go is because I'm cheap and can't always afford quilt shops, but I don't ever pay for anything full price there because unless it's on sale or you have a coupon, it's actually WAY over priced...Also, I'm just catching on to the quality of the different brands they carry, so I've been able to get some decent stuff there lately, but alot of the fabrics they carry I find to be pretty low quality.
    I have been to a super nice giant store where my parents live though, so I guess it's just hit or miss depending on your store...

  6. That sounds like Fabricland in Canada, I usually opt for online--unfortunately shipping here is always more expensive than it would be to the US. However, local quilt shops are usually good for me too and I guess I just need to watch how much I buy ;-)