Monday, October 27, 2008

It's not that I'm not enthusiastic...

The other day a girl came up to the counter with two Rowan Magazines. She was buying one, and asked me if I could make her a copy of one of the patterns in the second magazine for her. I said that I couldn't do that, as it would violate copyright laws.

She said, "Well, another shop I went to was more than happy to make me a copy from a Rowan Magazine. I don't like all of the patterns in this magazine and I don't want to buy the whole thing."

She sounded entitled... and I have to admit, I was taken aback. So I explained to her that I didn't like all of the patterns in the Rowan Magazines either, but that's how I have to buy them from Rowan. They are sold as a collection, and I can't copy them.

As I was ringing her up for the one Rowan Magazine she did purchase, I asked, "So another shop made a copy of the pattern for you? That's not legal." She answered, "Well, I was buying a lot of yarn to make the project, so she was happy to save me some money on the pattern."

I didn't respond, but it's not legal to do that. You can give something away for free - that's your choice as a LYSO, but copying something is copyright infringement. And that's wrong.

And then the kicker... as I was handing her the change, she said, "You see, THEY were REALLY enthusiastic about knitting, so they gave me the pattern."

Let me explain. It has nothing to do with us not being enthusiastic. We are completely enthusiastic. In fact, a lovely woman from NY today - who had just found us for the first time - commented to us how it was so clear that we all loved what we were doing.

It's sad that this girl felt she had to put us down, because we wouldn't give her something she felt should be free. She felt justified in not wanting to pay for something. And justified in asking me to break the law. Because I didn't do that, she did the only thing she felt she could do - she diss'ed us. Well, we are who we are because of how we run our business. We have high standards, and we're not going to change that. We do what we do because it's right. We care about our customers, and put them first. But if they ask us to do something we are not comfortable with, or something illegal, we aren't going to do it. Like it or not, it's who we are.

This past weekend I went to Postmouth, NH. We didn't make it to the NH seacoast this summer, but at least we made it this fall. What a gorgeous place!I had some nice knitting time in the car - Marc is a saint and never complains about doing all of the driving. I finished my ribbed scarf with Jojoland Rhythm:
Just three balls make the scarf and I'm going to use the 4th for fringe. That will only be a $20 project... not bad at all. Barb has a little contraption that helps make twisted cord so we're going to experiment with it for the fringe. The stitch pattern on this scarf is cute - give it a try! It's (k3, p1) rib over a multiple of 3 stitches. My new favorite rib!

(By the way - I added 3 new colors of Jojoland Rhythm online today... #04, #26 & #28.)

On the drive home, I started a hat out of Berroco Jasper:
I've wanted to make a hat like this for a while, with a not-so-traditional ribbing around the botton. And it looks great in a yarn that stripes. I should be able to finish it up in the next day or so. Speaking of Berroco, can you believe I will be buying my spring '09 Berroco yarns and patterns in less than a week? I'm so excited...

I got Helen started on her Super Bulky Button Hat. She's doing SO well. We're almost ready for double pointed needles, but there's too much homework tonight for that. Here she is, hard at work before dinner on Saturday night:See anything wrong with this picture? This is my desk at home. What's that.... CANDY?! Well, Halloween is this week, and so we went by Target in Manchester and used our Target gift cards (love those credit card points) for Halloween candy. Of course I wanted to keep the bags sealed until Halloween, but we had already ripped into one before we got out to the car in the Target parking lot. I'm really trying to be good, but it's good stuff, that candy.


vtnitter said...

I usually enjoy your posts, but find the ones that are critical of your customers to be very disturbing. My husband and I each own separate businesses and, sure, we find ourselves irritated by the behaviors of our customers at times, but keep our comments between us. It reflects on your business that you would use such a public place to complain about the actions of customers, even the difficult ones.

Betsy said...

I'd like some free patterns too. But I understand the law. And don't the people who designed those patterns deserve the credit (as in payment) for them? It has nothing to do with being enthused. It's simple right and wrong.

Sandy G. (VT) said...

vtnitter -
I think you took it differently than Jill intended. My understanding is that she is telling a little anecdote - of course - but she's using it to remind us that she cannot (will not) do something that is illegal. She's not naming names, she's not criticizing or complaining about anyone's personality or actions. She's simply giving an example of soemthing that happened and using it to back up a policy. The post wasn't about "Jill being irritated." It was about Kyarns not breaking copyright law.

I see it as educational. And in terms of it reflecting on her business, it actually reflects positively, IMO.

Jane S said...

I am in the shop quite frequently and must say they provide many free patterns for items they design. Copyright laws are there for a reason. Maybe the customer needs to complain to Rowan about the price of their magazines, or the fact that they do not publish individual patterns. I think that Jill is right on posting this issue, as I often hear people complain about paying for a book and wanting just a copy, but by paying for the pattern we are supporting the people who design them.

choo choo knits said...

There's a yarn shop here in NYC that offers to copy patterns for you at $2/page if you buy all the yarn for the project from them. And it's not just from magazines - they will copy patterns from books too! I disagree with their ethics so I don't buy anything from them unless I'm in an absolute pinch. The base of their clientel is the uppidty-society women who claim they can knit - but who bring their projects to the store for the employees to seam together, or, i've actually seen, knit parts for them!

What has the world come to?

And it's funny Jill mentioned a Rowan magazine...because there's a pattern in #38 that I LOVE LOVE LOVE but I don't want to spend $25 to buy the whole magazine. You know what I'm going to do instead? I'm going to design a similar sweater myself - no laws broken if you use your own imagination.

To end, I see vtknitter's point of view. However, I think most of kyarn's loyal and new customers will agree...there's NO need to diss anyone at the shop just because some other store was desperate to sell yarn (the adverse expense to them is risking being caught for copyright infringement). By Jill retelling the story and I think I might actually (if it's possible) feel more protective of the shop. I primarily buy my yarn from them because they are an enthusiastic bunch of ladies and EVERYONE that visits the shop receives positive attention and assistance. You won't find that at a lot of shops - they get "clique-ish" and make you feel like an outsider.

Just my two cents

Kristine said...

I'm going to second (third?) the thought that Jill didn't mean the post to be critical of the girl in particular, more of a kind of attitude that is all to prevalent these days. I used to run into it in the bookstore, where people would ask if we had a photocopier so they could photocopy "just this page" or "just this chapter" that they needed for a class. Made me insane, for the same reason.

Personally, I find your respect for copyright law to be MORE indicative of your enthusiasm for knitting, because you're not just enthusiastic about your customers -- you're also enthusiastic about the designers and companies that work hard to bring creative and interesting patterns to the knitting masses. Like the rest of the writing world, they are paid diddly-squat for their creative efforts. Stealing from them? Just not right.

Kathy said...

If you look at the tags on this post, you see "copyright violation" and thats what its about. Not "irritating customers" "difficult knitters" or "bad customer behavior". I don't see that this is a comment on that particular knitter.

A blog is a way to communicate information. When you and I read the same thing, chances are we take it differently, no matter what the intended tone was.

You are entitled to your opinion, sure. But I think as a regualr customer who knows the entire staff at Kaleidoscope Yarns, I can say that I know this post was about copyright, not a difficult customer. The "customer" is just the vehicle here, delivering the message.

Underhillknitter said...

Oh please. This blog is not critical of customers, nor is their shop. Maybe vtnitter is just irritable in general and taking it out on someone who isn't scared to call it like they see it.

This blog didn't name anyone specifically, it talked about a person who had done something questionable. And then used that action as a discussion point.

Vtnitter, on the other hand, calls out directly to the blog author. Low blow. YOU sunk to the low level.

Don't like it? go elsewhere.

Alex said...

Thank you Jill for reminding us that while we may not like the laws of the land - we all have to abide by them.

As for whether or not this was appropriate, Jill didn't name names or provide any specific details about the person at all. I don't know anything personal enough about this person to be able to identify her (if it really was a her, perhaps the gender was changed to protect that customer) if I saw her in the shop. If the person really wants that one pattern, I'm sure that a library somewhere would let her borrow the book for as long as it took her to knit that one pattern.

My appreciation of Jill and the whole staff there is as strong today as it has ever been!

AlisonH said...

As a designer and author, I cannot express enough how grateful I am to you for taking the time to try to gently educate a customer, and it is clear to me you were making the assumption that the customer would want to do the right thing as soon as she knew better. Hopefully that will pay off for good in her future, even if she didn't rise to the occasion in that immediate moment.

vtnitter said...

Wow, some pretty strong reactions to my post. I want to clarify that i don't believe the customer was in the right at all; it's obvious she wasn't. I am saying that I've read many posts on this blog that complain about different interactions with customers, for a variety of reasons. In all cases, the customer is surely in the wrong, from what I can read. I believe, however, that it just reflects poorly on the business to use this forum to 'speak' about these uncomfortable interactions. As for my displaced irritability, please don't make assumptions about my personality when you know nothing about it. My career involves analyzing and working with difficult people, helping them to make positive changes, so have reflected on my own motivations and behaviors. I actually feel that I will take my business elsewhere, after this negative experience, and I was a 'great' and 'faithful' customer of Kaleidoscope who spent lots 'o money there.

Elizabeth Miller said...

Jill simply didn't want to violate copyright laws. As far as Rowan(or any other) magazines, the price you pay is quite a good deal considering how many patterns are inside. Sure-not everyone is going to like all of them-but they are still a good deal. I usually don't comment on posts-but I can picture this occuring. Also I loved your post awhile back about the woman who let her child(ren) roam unattended w/ a snack & sticky fingers. Some people will always be clueless and have a lack of manners.
I moved to NY from Underhill, VT at the end of May and miss having KY nearby. Jill may remember me-I also took a rug hooking class last Nov. w/ Michelle, I think. Just went to Rhinebeck and saw some awesome rugs.
Even tho' I didn't get in as much as I would have liked-your customer service has always been top notch-I quite often had to chuckle at some of the customer requests I heard while in the shop. Each employee was always gracious and helpful-which says a lot about KYarns. You all are awesome!
Elizabeth-(muffinknits on ravelry)

betsy said...

I'm not trying to stir things up here. But for the person who is taking her business elsewhere due to this "negative experience" - the negative experience that I can see is actually one you created, because the other posters do not agree with you, and they are supportive of someone/something that you are not. To say how "great" and "faithful" you were and how much money you spent is kind of childish.

Whatever your reasons for leaving are, it seems they were already there before this.

cbknits said...

I have to say, I agree with vtknitter a bit more on this one and am surprised by all the comments. I usually love the blog and the knitting info but reading about the owner "complain" about customers just doesn't seem to be appopriate when it is a link to the shop website. Email your friends to complain about customers if you must, and then put pertinent info in your blog that is not said in a negative way such as...."I am sorry but I am unable to copy patterns as it is against copyright laws." To phrase things in a more positive way, rather than in a critical way seems to be more effective for me as a reader. Having said that, it is your blog and can do what you want I suppose. Just my opinion as a loyal customer and reader. Thanks!

Just Jenn said...

What? That's like going to the grocery store buying all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies and then asking for one stick of butter out of the box for free because that's all you need to make the recipe and well, after all you bought all the other ingredients there... so free butter, right?

::shakes head::

I'm not sure some of the posters here understand what it's like working with the GP on a daily basis. It's not complaining - it's reality. Good for you for illustrating your position in a a way that's forthright and non-critical.