What Really Grinds My Gears (Working at a fabric store)
So, I was packing some curtain tape and ribbons for a customer, putting them into the smallest bag possible (company policy and just fucking common sense) when I heard a gasp to end all scandalised gasps from said oxygen thief.
"YOU’RE SCRUNCHING THE RIBBONS!"
I felt a terrible click inside me, I saw the scissors on the desk in front of me. How easy it would be, how soon it would be over. Instead I took a deep breath, turned my biggest megawatt fuck you smile on and said ‘oh, I sure am!’ and placed them in her hand and walked away.
Fucking seventeen pence ribbons that were fished from the bottom of an overstocked wire basket where I defy you to find one pristine ribbon. IT CANNOT BE DONE.
"I need seven hundred centimeters of curtain tape"
"Okay, seven meters, would you like any extra for turning over?"
She stared at me, her mind grinding these two incompatible ideas together but alas, no common sense sparks were made.
"I asked for-"
"We sell in meters, it’s actually illegal for us to it any other way"
"Okay, I want seven hundred and eight-"
"I can give you seven meters and ten because it has to be rounded to the nearest multiple of five"
My expression told her why.
"How much fabric do I need for _______ ? I’ve never sewed before, it’s all new!"
"This much for _______ depending on a few elements"
I haven’t even rolled out half of what they need before they always, without fail, chirp ‘oh, that’ll do!’.
When we cut fabric, we expect you to a) know how much you’re spending, after all there are tags on each roll and you can ask if budget is a concern and b) have made your fucking mind up.
"Oh, I found a much better fabric! Do I still need to take the three meters of premium chiffon?"
Uh, yeah. Yeah you do.
Customer looks like I just stomped on her kittens head and then shoved the bloody remains into a cash machine slot.
She gets both fabrics, put them through the till and there it is again, that gasp.
Explain the price of both fabrics. Huffs that she’ll have to buy the chiffon out of her own money. Gets her Gucci purse out of her Gucci bag.
People eating sticky stuff and touching the fabric. FUCK YOU.
People who think they are helping by touching or moving the fabric while I cut it. Please. Don’t. You’re actually making it worse.
Policy is to rip cottons rather than cut, besides, that’s how you get a true straight. Having to explain this to customers is probably offsetting the time saved by ripping.
When you finish cutting and people accuse you of undercutting. My policy is to generously cut. If a fabric has been cut poorly, I compensate. Whenever someone criticises my cutting, I measure it, feign shock at my over cutting and then insist I cut it correctly. Yeah. That’s mean. But so is standing over my shoulder, breathing in my ear and loudly talking about how everyone at the store cheats you out of a few measly inches. We all cut generously.
We have scales to weigh fabric. Kids seem to like playing with it. Parents smile indulgently. They stop when I give them the look of authority. See: drawing in pattern books, grabbing at scissors, pulling fabrics onto the floor. None of these things are excusable, sorry, parents.
I’ve met some very well behaved children in the store. They get sweets (with parental permission) and I involve them with what I’m doing. Because the parents are present and making an effort to control their children.
Cosplayers fall into two groups, the first are awesome and I love helping them with their projects. The second branch into two, the ‘oh you haven’t heard of this character and therefore have no useful advice’ and the ‘I’m going to ignore your advice because I really have no idea what I’m doing and am too proud to confess to that’.
I drafted a Sailor Moon style collar for a girl, completely out of my desire to help realise a really awesome Sailor Moon cosplay but she wouldn’t accept it since it wasn’t a commercial pattern. She insisted on picking cheap satin (the one we dismissively call Halloween satin, it hangs like paper) even after I showed her a way to use a nicer fabric for around the same price (combination of student discount and her collecting it at our preview evening the next week) and finally I just had to give up.
A few weeks later I saw pictures of her cosplay on facebook. Oh, boy, that was a tragedy. I had no idea Usagi was so bruised. But what do I know? I’m only a massive Sailor Moon fan…
Also, lonely weeaboos who want to make friends, that’s cool but please don’t bring your weeaboo crew to come meet me in work. So awkward. For you. And a little bit for me.