As many of you know, I am a crafty bitch. Cooking, baking, cake decorating, sewing, cross stitching, framing, furniture restoration – I’m good at pretty much all the crafting pursuits (except crochet – I’d like to Ch 1, turn; sc in first 5 (10, 15) dc in your ass, bitch.) and the ones I haven’t tried yet? As long as it’s not knitting, I’d probably be pretty good at that too. Seriously, if someone wants to teach me how to weld, I will start making disturbing penis sculptures tomorrow.
My point being, I spend a lot of time in craft stores looking for supplies.
Usually, I’d go online and shop rather than spending hours elbowing my way through the dregs of humanity and their sweet, but slow-ass grandparents. With crafting though, you really need to touch and feel the stuff you’re working with to make sure it looks and feels right for your project. With this in mind, I will suck it up, steel myself mentally and walk my happy ass through Michael’s or Hancock’s, or the simultaneous joy of my life and bane of my existence: Joann Fabrics. I will march up and down the aisles of those stores stretching and petting fabrics, color matching floss, flipping through pattern books, tossing caution to my bank account and sewing notions into my basket. And because I hate paying full price for fabric, I am not ashamed to admit that I will use the entire width of my fat ass to stake a claim to the ENTIRE remnant bin until I’ve depleted every expensive fabric of more than 1 yard. (That’s right, soccer mom – I’m looking at you. I don’t know who you’re trying to kid, but you’re covered in toddler boogers and baby vomit. That light satin print you’re fingering lovingly won’t last 10 minutes in your house, so drop it! It’s mine!)
I’ve had a monster headache since I woke up Monday morning and after spending about 6 hours at my desk yesterday photoshopping photos and assembling marketing flyers, I desperately needed a break. I finally got around to hanging the artwork in our apartment six months after we moved in, but there’s still one frame sitting against our bedroom wall, empty and waiting to be hung. The photo and mat that were in it were ruined and I never got around to replacing them, until yesterday. I ordered a reprint of the picture and started looking around online about getting a mat for it. Unfortunately, shipping was on the steep side and when you’re paying $15 for a mat you REALLY want to make sure that it actually matches the thing you’re framing. Oddly enough, my boss has a lot of stuff framed at a place by his house, so I took a lunch break today and headed over to Hobby Lobby.
Oh, sweet jeebus on a teething biscuit, that place is AWFUL.
First off, it’s huge, and for all its enormity, they can’t organize for shit. The first thing you walk by is the wall o’ discounted seasonal crap. Today, it was stacked 6 feet high and 10 feet wide with Valentine decorations that must have been constructed by patients in the psych ward after a kegger. The perimeter is ringed by oddly shaped, gaudy pieces of accent furniture that cost roughly three times as much as the local furniture store. Also? That store is the Grand Poo-bah of impulse purchase hell. They have candy! They have religious postcards! They have novelty keychains and pens! They even have the little dinosaur capsules that you drop in water to “grow” a dinosaur army! (If I hadn’t been so irritated by the time I got to the check out, I may have bought a set for my hubby.)
If you can fight your way past the maze of “don’t need it, but gotta have it” merchandise, the center of the store becomes another maze of cheap, lead based home decor accents, hideous novelty picture frames, and everything bedazzled. While trying to take a shortcut through the middle of this maze, I dead-ended into a wall of lamps, where I was faced with this:
Somewhere past the melange of sucktastic retail vomit is a small, overpriced fabric section (with no remnant bin), a single needlecraft aisle, and about 6 square miles of yarn and kids crafts. WAAAAAAY back in the furthest corner of the south 40 is the framing counter. I trudged my happy ass back there to look at the precut mats. I wasn’t looking for an odd size or anything, so they should have had some in stock, and they did! But only in black or white, neither of which was contained in my photograph. So I walked to the abandoned cutting counter and rung the bell. Two minutes later, I rung it again and a seriously pale, sickly little mouse of a girl poked her head around the corner with a cell phone attached to her ear and held up her finger. It took every ounce of my restraint to keep from ringing that bell like Quasimodo on crack. When she finally removed her electronic growth 5 minutes later, I’d already gone through all the swatches and picked out the mat I wanted.
“I need this mat cut to 16″x20″ with an 10 3/4″x 13 3/4″ opening.”
“I don’t know if it’s in stock.”
“Can you check?”
Dumbass. She confirmed the stock and I asked her to cut for my measurements again. Only she insisted on measuring the picture. That’s fine – I understand better than anyone that the customer is not always right, and if I did make a mistake with my measurement, I’d rather know before I order the wrong cut. I gave her the photo and watched as she wrote the measurements on the order form.
“Okay, so I’ll cut this for a 1/2″ overlay and it should be ready in a few minutes.”
“Wait, I only want a 1/4″ overlay. Anything more than that will crop out key details of the picture.”
“Well, 1/2″ is standard for our cuts.”
“I understand that, but if I’m going to have to pay for a custom cut, I’d like it custom cut to a 1/4″ overlay.”
She rolled her eyes, scribbled my instructions in and walked away, leaving me with the twitchy urge to slam her head against the counter like a pale, gothic screen door in a hurricane. And sadly, she was probably employee of the decade material compared to the rest of them. While I walked around the store, desperately searching for casting resin (Why the fuck is that stored with children’s foam crafts?!?) I watched Bubba the Blue-Aproned Lummox wandering the wood craft aisle, caressing the wooden finials with one hand while trying to read a receipt with a dazed look on his face.
There was Margo the Mute, checking customers out at the front, not speaking to anyone, and looking for all the world like she’d cut anyone who spoke to her.
Blind as a Bat Betty must have been in training or something, because she kept trying to enter the SKUs into the register manually, but not even her 500x microscope prescription made her able to read. I actually watched the customer take the item away from her, scan it, and throw it in a shopping bag.
It bears mentioning that all of these people looked like they had lost their will to live and were wandering around this fluorescent purgatory waiting for their number to be called. Maybe it was the lighting, but whatever the cause, most craft store employees are happy, chatty people. This place was silent as the grave.
And then there was Dumb as a Doorknob Doris. Doris has clearly chain smoked for years and is a sickly shade of yellow with droopy skin that the minions of hell would envy. I don’t think she even had the musculature in her face necessary to smile. When I got to her register with my overpriced photo mat and the buried treasure that was my casting resin, she kept trying to scan the label on my photo bag from Walgreens and wondering why it kept coming up as “item not found.”
“That’s mine – it came from Walgreens.” I showed her the Walgreens logo on the bag.
“Are you sure?”
She finally managed to scan the only two things in my purchase without incident and totaled it. I went to swipe my card at the terminal and she punched a few buttons on the register. “Okay, that’s $17.”
“I just swiped my card…”
“Oh, I finished using the balance. You’ll need to pay the rest with another card.”
<Utterly blanking on WTF she’s blathering about> “…That wasn’t a gift card.”
“Are you sure?”
Forty minutes later, I finally fled Hades’ not-so-friendly neighborhood craft store with my matted photograph, and an intense loathing for all things Hobby or Lobby. I may loathe the jolly blonde airhead squad at Joann’s with every fiber of my being, but at least they’ll shut up and take my money with a vacant smile.