Thursday, February 12, 2009

I like to knit with apples, not bananas

The other day Helen came home from school and boy did she have something to tell me. Apparently a boy in her class, Tim (name changed) had come up to her saying, "The yarns in your Mom's yarn shop are way too expensive. My mom said she can buy the same yarns at W-store for much less." Wow! Fighting words from a fourth grade boy!

Helen knew it was an insult, but she wasn't sure why. She knows that my shop is so completely different from a W-store and I think to hear the two together ruffled her feathers.

Her teacher, a knitter, overheard the exchange, and apparently jumped right in and told Tim that it was wrong for him to talk about someone else's mother and business like that. She went on to say that my yarn shop is a specialty shop, and W-store is a chain store, and that they are two completely different things. She even used this incident to prompt a little discussion for the entire class later that day, about how talking about other people, friends, their businesses, etc. can be hurtful and damaging. Right on... a little life lesson there!

After school though, Helen was still irritated that someone would make that kind of comment to her. She is protective of her family, and I'm proud of her - it's a wonderful trait. So we discussed it further. We talked about the quality of yarns at my shop, and the quality of yarns at chain stores, and how quality makes a difference in price. I explained that Tim's comment, no matter how truthful and accurate he THOUGHT it was, was completely bogus, and that it didn't upset me at all. It obviously originated from someone who thinks that I sell the same exact yarns as W-store. This person is not being mean, she is just misinformed. She's comparing apples to bananas. I sell apples. They sell bananas.

We also talked about it in a way that made sense to her - like how there are a lot of places to buy kids' shirts. More expensive stores, medium expensive stores, less expensive stores, etc. In the big picture, all of these stores sell kids' shirts. To some folks, a shirt is a shirt is a shirt. And that's fine!

But to other folks (and discriminating fashionista children, like Helen) no two shirts are the same. Some shirts are cozy, others are scratchy. Some shirts fit well, others gape and pucker. Some are really well made (and you can tell!) and others will fall apart when you take them home. So for all the folks who believe that no two shirts are the same, that's why we have different shops out there. These people are thankful that they can make their purchases elsewhere, with no disrespect at all to the shops that sell the scratchy shirts.

Do you like apples? Do you like bananas? You can knit with whatever you want to knit with. Let's not judge each other. Just eat your fruit, knit and be happy. :)


Sally said...

What a wonderful learning to have absorbed so young! I'm going to use it next time I'm asked why I buy my yarn online instead of at the local big box!

Lisa said...

So true! It's like comparing fake Parmesan to freshly shredded. Yes there's a price difference. But in MY opinion, there's no comparison in taste. For all those who buy the fake stuff, enjoy it. I wish you no ill. Just let me enjoy mine without judging me!

baby face said...

Well, since I started seriously
knitting, I have become a yarn
snob. Naturally, I can't afford everything that I want to buy.
However, the yarn at W-Mart serve
a purpose for the people who
want to knit and can't afford the
higher prices for better quality
yarn. It is good that there is
something for them out there also.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the teacher for seizing the moment and leading a discussion about how we all can make hurtful comments and sometimes not even realize that we are doing it! Anyway your yarns are beautiful and I wish I could buy them all!

Jill said...

I know - she's a wonderful teacher! She often uses real life examples to lead a discussion and teach the kids life lessons.

choo choo knits said...

this is a great lesson for all ages!

there are times when we're in the mood for apple pie...and other times when banana bread will hit the spot. Knowing what both are and taste like helps us determine which one we prefer at that given moment. While most of my yarn purchases come from Kaleidoscope (who doesn't love apples after all?), there are still projects I've made where W-store suits the end result just fine.

Now...I'm going to dive back into my stash of Berroco, thank you very much :o)

Anonymous said...

All I have to say it that the people at this "Apple" store are much nicer and even if it was more expensive it is worth it. You can not put a price on great customer service.

Caroline said...

Great lesson. Hope the boy's mother was really just clueless about it, and not spreading untruths about your wonderful store. (You never know with some people!)

Every time I am in your store, you and your staff are helping everyone there in every way possible. You always bend over backwards to explain things with kindness, and you're usually handling more than one person at a time. You have an extensive selection of quality stuff, and I always leave with a smile on my face, and a new project in my bag.

Congratulations for aiming high and letting it shine through in all that you do. You are my happy place.

Lise said...

Great Blog Entry, Thank you, Lise

Anonymous said...

Wow, it sounds a bit rough for the fourth grade, but maybe he has a crush on Helen and was trying to get her attention?!

I simply don't understand parents who poison their kids with this kind of negative stuff; why go there when he's at school with your daughter? Kudos to the teacher for turning it into a positive discussion.