Saturday, July 08, 2006

They're trying. Very, very trying.

The Jo-Ann's near my house has always been a stop of last resort for anything knitting or crochet related. This is the store that could go years without restocking its knitting needles and crochet hooks, let alone the yarn, and where the help is so stunningly clueless they can't even explain how stock appears in their store. I asked when they anticipated restocking the knitting needles, since they had NONE in stock, and got a blank look and "I don't know. We don't know what we will get, it's just whatever is on the truck." Okay, so you run out of stock and you are seriously telling a customer that you have no way to order more?. We must just wait, like the placid, slow-moving cows who work there, for the knitting needle fairy to smile and put some needles on the truck? So I avoid Jo-Ann's like the godforsaken hellhole staffed by morons it is, but I did have a 50% off coupon, and I wanted some handbag handles. They usually have those in stock. It was early, it wasn't crowded at all, I took a chance.

The store has had a makeover. The yarn section has doubled in size - it's all still novelty yarn and shit, except for a small supply of Patons Classic Wool, but it's twice as much mostly shit as before - and they now have a huge stock of needles, crochet hooks, and various notions and fun little things. I needed a size D crochet hook (I have a gazillion crochet hooks, but somehow no D?) and they even have the cushioned Clover hooks for the carpal-tunnelly challenged like me. I also found the bag handles I wanted, and the fall Knitscene. I was actually...happy. Not an experience I normally associate with Jo-Ann's.

And then I got in line at the checkout, and Time...Stood...Still. They can clean the place up but the staff remains the same - one register open, six people in line waiting while the broad behind the register got her ass kicked by said register while trying to process a return. After dithering around for the longest time, she actually sent the customer away and told her to come back later. Unbelievable. The next person in line of course wrote a check for about twelve bucks worth of crap. And of course his ID didn't match the address on the check, so Inspector Clouseau behind the register had to examine it for ten minutes and quiz the man writing the check. All the while the line is long, and there is only one register open. The rocket scientist didn't call for backup, and the other employees shuffling around in their placid, bovine way appeared totally oblivious to the restless mob.

So yeah, they've cleaned the place up and finally restocked the needles, but it's still pure torture to shop there. But at least I got my D hook and I can start crocheting a linen bag.

I will not be starting the linen shell anytime soon, because I who appear to own every size needle in creation do not actually own a 2.5 mm 24 inch circ., and such a size is way beyond Jo-Ann's comprehension. No problem, I have enough other things to do.

My Morehouse Farms patterns arrived today, so I could even, if I am so inclined, start that Barbizon Jacket. It'll take me until the weather is cool again to finish it. And I realized that my son is moving to a cool climate and I have been saving a really nice soft heathered brown wool for a sweater for him, and he'll actually NEED it this fall! Imagine. Lots to do, lots to do.


KatyaR said...

I have the same problems with Michael's. There's one down the street from me (I used to live right behind it) and you can never find anyone to help you and then you have to stand in line forever because g-d forbid they should employ enough people to actually have TWO checkout lines open at the same time. Service has gone to hell in this country, let me tell you.

But truly, it's better for me to live close to somewhere like Michael's rather than a really good fiber store--I'd never be home and always be broke.

You're making me itch to do something with linen, but I must resist--at least until the fall. I have too many knitting and spinning projects right now. I'll have to be happy to watch your progress.

Ginnie said...

My sister always says that JoAnn's gives an employment test, and thewy hire those who fail it. It is a system wide issue. The soooo slooowww lines.

Becky said...

Have they totally cloned MY JoAnn's, "managers", employees et al. to your neck of the woods???
Here I've been thinking our JoAnn's was the last refuge of the blissfully incompetent. (Bless their little hearts...)

Anonymous said...

Funny. I went into a Joanne's the other day for some basic cotton (for a dishcloth or 3...) I got there-- saw 3-4 aisles of mostly so-so yarn (didn't even look for needles or notions, it's so ingrained!) and then got to the front of the store where there were two registers-- both without employees!

I stood there. Looked around. Craned my neck left and right. Nary an employee to be found. After 4-5 minutes (because now I just wanted to get the darn things and not have to drive elsewhere) someone came out and asked if someone was helping me. I said no-- I was waiting to see if anyone worked there. He laughed and said he'd ring me up. No apology. No nothing.


Catherine said...

Oh my Gawd, ALL the JoAnns are like this? I thought it was just this one - I've lived near it for 10 years and it has always sucked. I am tempted to clip all of this into a letter and look up their CEO and send it to him/her to chew on with the morning Danish, but after 10 years of systemic shitty service, it's probably a Known Issue.

It's not like I have overly high expectations, I realize it's a craft store , but damn, I can go to over a dozen major chain retail establishments within a mile and find friendly helpful people with brains. Knowing how to work the register and how to order stuff that ran out - that really isn't setting the bar too high.

Anonymous said...

Both of the JoAnn's in my metro area are
EXACTLY the same as yours...
I think you'd be doing EVERYBODY a favor by
sending the CEO a heads up email...

Geogrrl said...

The reason you can't find the 2.5 mm is that it has no corresponding size in the US needle size system. I could find them in bamboo, but not in steel--which I prefer. You'll likely have to order them from a retailer in Canada (or at least one that serves both sides of the border). That's what I did.

Did you see my comments regarding the "Pi-Are-Squared" shawl under "Jeez" for July 6th? I just want to make sure you don't overbuy too much on the yarn for the shawl.

Oh, to live in a place where I need sweaters.

Geogrrl said...

I spoke too soon. I see in the newest KnitPicks catalogue that they're selling the nickel-plated 24-inch, 2.5 mm circulars for $4.99.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not I worked at one of the new Joanne Superstores for about three months after it opened. The ordering is all done by computer if something is out then the computer is supposed to alert the warehouse somewhere to send more. Now, if a manager notices that something is out they can fast track it by ordering more as well. The floor employees have no control over that at all and really do have no idea when they will get in new stock, it all depends on what the central warehouse has and keep in mind one warehouse stocks hundreds of stores. As for check out, I HATED to work the cash registers, why? Packaging was so screwed up all of this tiny crap that had to be scanned individually and it took forever. Also ,keep in mind that staffing at Joanns is tied to how well the store has done the week before. If they haven't made their budget then employee hours get cut. I know it makes no sense because they aren't anticipating that it will I get busy but it is just the way they do business. Sorry this is so long but until I worked there I didn't realize that this is how retail works now and one reason why customer service just plain sucks. Why did I leave? The moron manager who did the scheduling could not seem to understand that I only wanted to be there part time, he kept giving me the hours that everyone else wanted, and I really hated the cash register. Seriously, with a passion.

Amy in StL said...

I used to work at Cloth World - which was eaten by JoAnns after I left. This weekend, my mother and I visited the JoAnns where I had worked. The store was messy, the stockage poor and there was one poor woman measuring fabric and no-one at the registers. I don't get it. I was an asst manager so therefore I was one of the few that was allowed to work the registers. I always rang customers up quickly and with a smile. We didn't have scanners, so I typed in the numbers. There was ALWAYS someone at the registers or in the immediate area whose job was to watch the registers. I'm not sure what happened when JoAnn took it over. Some of the same employees work there, but the quality of service has taken a nosedive in the last 10 years.

By the way, I NEVER actually made money at Cloth World, I apparently only worked for fabric. At least I always brought home fabric and no paycheck and some where in there I think cashing my check at the register was involved!