Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Jury is still out...and thinking

I went to a local quilt history gathering in my town with a quilting girlfriend of mine. One of the speakers was well-known, at least to me, and I looked forward to putting a face with a name.

During her talk, she spoke of supporting our local quilt shops, which I do. More than Hunnybunny would like. And she spoke of her own online shop, which I thought was kind of contradictory, but I let it go. After the meeting, I stood in line to speak to her about my favorite online resource, I guess it's the hormones, but the polite thing to do when someone is waiting to speak to you is to acknowledge your presence. Well, she walked away. My friend and I stared at each other and wondered who did what to her Wheaties. I then followed this woman across the room, where another woman got in front of me and she again walked away. Finally, I caught up with her by touching her shoulder:

"Wow, you're hard to catch!" I laughed. For the record, she didn't.

"I wanted to tell you about You didn't mention them in your resource list." And I told them about the search engine, how you can put a Boolean search to look for this, not that,ect. She proceeded to give me a lecture about supporting our local quilt shops and how using the internet was a way to put small shops out of business.

"I do use them. However, if there's a fabric I can't find, I'll look there next." She again tried to dissuade
me against using the internet to find fabric. Finally, I asked her,

"Did I understand you correctly that you have an internet shop?" She nodded.
"How is that any different? Most shop owners are savvy enough to have a site along with their shop's goods. That way, you don't waste precious gas money if they don't have it."

I honestly can't remember what she said in rebuttal, but I remember walking away thinking that maybe I don't need to go to any more of these 'educational' meetings. The sad part is she is part of our local guild, and if I re upped, I'd run into her. I guess I'm struggling with this mentality of "you have to do it this way". The internet has lots of options for people and fabric ordering is probably my favorite. I utterly despise walking into a quilt shop and having to look through all those bolts of fabric.

It's nothing personal, usually I'm dragging some child or husband with me and they are less than enthused. So, what do you think? Is the internet going to be the downfall of the local quilt shop or can they co-exist?


Deborah said...

I see no problem doing it both ways, whichever works. I'm lucky to have a great quilt shop 2 miles from my job. But I'd have no problem shopping online if I saw somethign I wanted. And frankly , with gas being what it is, I do A LOT of online shopping these days. Sometimes it's easier to make a decision that way - the quilt shop often has too many choices! And if she's got an online store, what's her point anyway? Besides, she was rude! (you knew I'd be on your side!)

Gina said...

I think the internet is hitting some of the quilt shops, but only the ones where people don't like going to.
A local to me shop closed back last year and she blamed the internet but her attitude to customers was disgusting and as a result no one went there. She tried an online shop but that folded aswell.
My LQS is wonderful and friendly. Nothing is too much trouble but they acknowledge that at the moment they are only able to survive because they have an extensive workshop programme.
In the UK many quilters buy from US sites as the cost is less than half price of fabric in our shops. If however the exchange rate wasn't so favourable than we would all be using our shops.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Carin said...

I think that a larger threat to small local quilt stores is the big chain stores that can offer lower prices. I think that you can shop both ways and its not a problem.

Deb Sews Quilts said...

I think that they both can live in peace amicably as they both serve a purpose. I support my LQS - more than I should but the internet broadens my horizons. Years ago when I cross-stitched (before internet),I would shop out of town but was always mindful that the local shop was my bread and butter because they were there to answer questions. Now the internet answers those also..and with pictures. LQS have the personal touch if they take the time to do that. Those are the ones that succeed. BTW, that woman was rude!

Leanne said...

Yep. I support my local shop because she is so helpful and just plain nice. I also go on-line though, and you know what? If she doesn't have what I need, she HELPS me find it on-line. I think you're fine.

Katie said...

Sure they will coexist. Just like everything else does. :-)

jillquilts said...

What an interesting topic as my buddies and I were discussing this just yesterday after shop hopping. A few of the stores that we went to do not seem to be doing as well as others or as well as they have in the past. One in particular is attempting to do online selling, but they are still struggling a lot. Of course, their workers are not as polite and friendly as some of the other stores' workers are. We decided the same things - we check our local stores first and if we can't find what we need, then we go to the internet. So if the local stores aren't doing what we need, then we will find it online. I think what Gina said fits it - if the shop isn't where people go for live help, chances are, the online people will realize thatm, too, and stay away.

Suzanne said...

I think the internet is hitting most business in some way. I have quilt shops about 15 miles either way from me, and sometime they do not have what I need/want.

Maybe the speaker was having a bad day...if it happens again, smile, hand her some chocolate and walk away!

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Anonymous said...

Like Amazon and bricks-and-mortar bookstores co-exist (at least so far), I think there is a need for both types of quilt shops. I use Amazon if I know exactly what I want and don't mind waiting for it. But nothing beats browsing and putting my hands on real books, thumbing through the chapters. How do I know what I want, unless I see what's new? Same with my LQS which I support as often as I can. (Also, quilt show vendors, which are usually independent shop owners too.)

And shame on your speaker--she has a forked tongue!

Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

The Stars fell on alabama quilt is absolutely GORGEOUS!!

and im glad you went up and talked to that woman (even if you had to follow her around) and brought up the issue of her contradiction. its frustrating isnt, but keep buying online if you want because those are usually sole proprietors too! hey, wherever you can find the fabric is good! and going to shops is fun becuae you can see and feel stuff.