I ran out to JoAnn’s last night, anxious to pick up batting for the quilt I’m working on for my nephew. I’m almost finished with the quilt top (I’ve just got one more panel to add on to the side) and I really want to try to get the thing basted together tonight. I had two bags of full size batting and one that would work for a large art quilt or a nice lap one (60″x60″) but I didn’t want to use either for Joey’s.
I borrowed the van and ran out of the house, desperate to get to the store before it closed in an hour. It usually takes about 20 minutes to drive out there so I figured I’d have just enough time to get in and get the stuff I needed. That’s the good thing about knowing that store like the back of my hand. If I’m pressed for time and need to pick up specific things I tend to know exactly where they are. The quilt batting isn’t all that hard to find for non-regulars, though. You can see it back in its corner as soon as you walk through the doors.
Anyhoo, I got to the store with half an hour to spare. I grabbed a basket and made a beeline for the back of the store, hoping I’d find some good deals. None of the ones I was looking at were on sale but it didn’t really matter. Twin size batting is pretty good, cost-wise.
While I was in the back, pouring over my choices, I noticed a new JoAnn’s employee wandering nearby. I’ll admit that the first thing that I noticed was that he was a guy. I’ve honestly not seen many men working at JoAnn’s in all my years patronizing the store. He looked a little lost, pushing his cart full of fabric bolts a few aisles away.
He chuckled a bit when he noticed me standing nearby and said “This is kind of confusing. This is only my second week here.” I stepped over, picking up my final batting choice on the way, and asked which section he was trying to find. He took a quick look at the writing on the end of one of the bolts and said “Country Classic Solids.”
“Oh, yeah. Alright, you’re going to want the section up here. Come on.” I led him out of the selection of children’s cozy flannel bolts he had been standing in and up towards the solid color quilting fabric. When I pointed to the area he was looking forward he gave me a sheepish grin and said “It’s kind of embarrassing that you know where this goes and I don’t.”
I pointed out that I’ve been going to that particular store for years. I think I’d be more worried if I didn’t know where everything was by now. And it’s not the first time I’ve helped direct people around the store. I’m regularly approached by customers and asked for advice about fabric choice, pattern directions or just locations of things in the store itself.
I can understand, to a certain degree, why that used to happen when Maggie and I were first starting to work on Phoenix Phantasy Accessories. We would head out to JoAnn’s in the middle of our “work day” in order to buy zippers, elastic, etc. There were a number of occasions when I’d leave the house with my tape measure draped around my neck like a necklace and we’d proceed to have discussions about sewing details as we leafed through pattern catalogs.
I don’t do that as often anymore, so I suppose it’s now just my confidence and comfort with the store that makes people think I work there.